In today’s modern workplace, it’s often not necessary to be physically on-site to get things done. Most of us communicate with our colleagues, peers and stakeholders via e-mail, conference calls, instant messaging and even video conferencing on an as-needed basis. Although virtual communication is part of the norm, an established and regular communications process is highly recommended for effective global content marketing collaboration.
If travel budgets allow, it’s best to get together once every quarter or six months. Local teams can travel to the headquarters or vice versa. Before getting together, the corporate team should finalize meeting objectives and agenda topics and incorporate the local team’s feedback. Don’t pack the agenda with presentation after presentation during face-to-face meetings. Put several hot topics on the table, then break the team up to allow brainstorming, debates and discussions. For a lot of countries outside the US, the relationship starts with the first handshake and a hearty meal.
Experience has taught me that face-to-face is still the best way to build personal relationships. You can’t build close bonds with teams that sit on the other side of the earth using only digital communication. Seeing and smiling at each other, shaking hands and hugging (as appropriate) has a magic touch on building relationships and resolving issues.
Regular face-to-face meetings are a great way to get the ball rolling, but you need regular sync meetings to keep the momentum going.
Even with the convenience of teleconferencing technologies, it may be challenging to have one global meeting with all the team members across all regions. Depending on the regions and countries, you may need to set up weekly synch meetings at odd times. For example, if you are located in the Pacific Standard Time Zone and you work closely with Asia, you may need to meet with your Asian team after 4:00 PST.
Explore all options with your team to determine the best times to meet. If you work with teams from Europe and Asia, you may need to establish two separate meetings with the same agenda. There is no perfect answer; one region or country may still get stuck with a suboptimal time.
The regular sync meetings can be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, as long as they are “regular and timely” in nature. Here are some topics to consider covering during the sync meetings:
Those topics are merely suggestions. The best way to build the agenda is to talk to your team members – both at corporate and in the regions – to understand what they want to hear and discuss at the meetings.
It’s best if the corporate office leads the meetings with agendas published in advance. As a chairperson, you don’t need to create a presentation for all the agenda items, but you need to find appropriate people within the company to come to the meetings to discuss the topics and share their insights.
An enduring working relationship needs to be built over time. Collaboration can’t be achieved by one face-to-face meeting or by ad-hoc communications only. Like any other relationship, both sides need to put in time and effort to achieve the best possible results.