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Head of Department Meeting

Written by 
Max Gayler
Executive
Operations
Human Resources

It's a wild ride, isn't it? The quarterly dash to the Head of Department (HoD) meeting, where the titans of each business division lock minds, wrestle ideas, and try not to spill coffee on their laptops. But for all its importance, it’s often a messier affair than a spaghetti-eating contest at a kid’s party. Let's explore why you should embrace this chaos with gusto, and how Claap can help clean up the marinara splashes of misunderstanding.

What is a Head of Department Meeting?

These are the meetings where departmental leaders gather to review, reflect, and reassess. It's like "The Avengers" of your company, but with less alien invasions. Whether it's checking up on marketing campaigns, discussing a new product launch, or fine-tuning goals, these meetings play an essential role in keeping all departments in sync and on track. It's the boardroom equivalent of checking the oil and air pressure before a long road trip.

Why should I have a Head of Department Meeting?

You need HoD meetings like a fish needs water. Think of them as your business's compass, pointing you to success. Having these meetings keeps everyone in the loop, making sure you're all paddling the business canoe in the same direction, and not towards a waterfall. They're especially crucial in remote or hybrid work environments, where communication can sometimes feel like you're playing 'Chinese whispers' across time zones.

Doing it live: How to supercharge your Head of Department Meeting

Running a live HoD meeting isn't always as simple as jumping in and out of a meeting. When done right, it allows your heads of department to give full transparency to the rest of the company on what work is being done and what next steps are planned. First, ensure everyone has the agenda in advance, a solid plan trumps surprise sneak attacks every time. Then, during the meeting, use a tool like Claap to record your meeting, allowing you to address any hitches as they happen, make key decisions together and have a space to follow up on anything that was said.

However, remember, the live meeting can be a double-edged sword. Time zones can be tricky devils, and getting everyone in one (virtual) room might make your scheduling look like a game of Tetris. Plus, some information could get lost in the flow. It's always best to follow a plan.

IF YOU USE GOOGLE MEET:

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1. Click on the extension

Make sure you’ve downloaded our Chrome extension and you’ll have a new record button in your Google Meet. Important: You don’t need to be the organizer to start recording the meeting but make sure to name someone in charge of it that is also going to highlight key moments.

2. Highlight/pin key moments to help people catchup easily

Whenever something important happens and you want to leave a reminder to rewatch a certain section, whoever started the recording can click on the pin icon on the control panel and mark timestamps that’ll appear in your final recording. Discussing sensitive information you’d rather not record? It’s easy to pause and unpause your meeting any time using the icons in the control panel too.

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3. Share your claap

Once your meetings over, share the link to your recording or invite your teammates from your workspace. We recommend creating a dedicated topic with your team so anyone can easily find the recording without having to invite people every time.

4. Read the transcript and leave comments

If someone said something interesting in the meeting and you want to find that moment, all you have to do is check the transcript. Every claap is transcribed automatically so you can find the important moments faster. Then you and your team can leave comments, create threads, and collaborate directly from the recording.

IF YOU USE ZOOM:

1. Record the meeting using Zoom

When you start your meeting, click the “Record” button in the control panel. When your meeting finishes, it’ll automatically be saved into your Zoom account, ready to be uploaded into Claap.2. Connect your Zoom account

Easily import your recordings into dedicated topics and start collaborating on all your Zoom meetings. Just click on the “Upload video” option and then click on the Zoom icon. You’ll then be able to choose from all your Zoom recordings and bring in the videos you need.3. Read the transcript and leave comments

Just like meeting recordings, all your screen recordings are transcribed automatically. That means your team get to find the moments they need faster. Once you know the areas you want to tackle, you and your team can leave comments, create threads, and collaborate directly from the recording.

When you can’t make it: How to have an asynchronous Head of Department Meeting

Sometimes, the stars (or more like calendars) just don't align. Enter the asynchronous HoD meeting. With Claap, you can share updates via video, get transcripts for clarity, and even enjoy AI-powered notes to make the minutes feel less like an hour. The beauty of this approach is that it allows flexibility - your CTO in Seattle can leave a video update for your Marketing Head in London to review with their morning tea.

Remember, though, async meetings can sometimes miss the heat and immediacy of live discussions. So, ensure to create a communication rhythm that's as smooth as a jazz saxophonist's solo to keep everyone engaged and in the know.

Sometimes, team members may not be able to attend a live Sprint Retrospective Meeting. In these cases, an asynchronous meeting can be a powerful tool.

START YOUR RECORDING:

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Download either the Chrome extension or desktop app. Then all you have to do is click on the Claap icon to name your video, adjust your settings, and start recording.

DURING THE RECORDING:

We feel you… recording yourself can be a bit daunting even if it’s just your screen. Here’s some of our top tips to come in confident, efficient AND effective.

  1. Start with the goal and briefly explain what you’re going to say in one or two sentences. It helps people follow you easily.
  2. Dive into details. Don’t forget to zoom in if it’s something more visual so it’s easy to watch. You don’t want people squinting at their screen.
  3. Pin key moments when you expect feedback so people can react easily. People often forget to make it clear what they expect.
  4. Share it in Slack, Notion, or in a topic‍ to keep your centralized spaces centralized. All you have to do is paste the link and it populates automatically.

NOTE: If this is a recurring meeting with multiple stakeholders, we recommend using a dedicated topic where you can organize your video content.

COMMENTING TIPS:

  1. Don’t forget to mention people if you expect precise feedback. We like to add “FYI” in front of messages that don’t need any response.
  2. If you need feedback from many stakeholders, use polls. Nobody is going to read comment threads that go on forever. Keep things simple and get everyone involved.
  3. If you need more precise feedback, use file attachments or video replies. It’ll help you save a lot of back and forth.
  4. If you need to reply quickly to feedback you get, we recommend installing the Claap App in Slack so you receive and reply to comments directly from there.

How to have sync and async Head of Department Meetings together

The best HoD meetings mix sync and async approaches like a cocktail at a summer party. Having live meetings for real-time discussions, and async meetings for updates and reviews, ensures you get the best of both worlds. Use Claap to record and share video updates, keep track of decisions made, and ensure no piece of information gets left behind like a forgotten umbrella. This blended approach makes your meetings flexible, efficient, and effective, just like your favourite yoga instructor.

HOW TO COMBINE SYNC AND SYNC:

  1. Start with a preview to share retro outcomes and identify hot topics:• Use Claap's screen recording to post your retro. Send it to your teammates so they can watch it and add comments.• Comments help identify where a longer discussion is needed. Use unresolved threads to prepare your next meeting agenda.• Tip: Click on 📶 Views to check that all your teammates have watched your update
  2. Followup with a meeting to brainstorm key topics: If anyone missed your meeting or if anybody needs to remind themselves of something that was said, recording your meetings with Claap keeps a trackable log of everything you’ve seen, said, and heard. Discuss unresolved threads in followup meetings and only invite people that are involved to keep the discussion efficient.
  3. Share the meeting recording: This way, action items are easily shared with other stakeholders. And if a decision isn’t clear, they can access the discussion to quickly get context and ask questions.

Head of Department Meeting Agenda

1. Welcome and Introduction (2 minutes)

Objective: Set a positive and focused tone for the meeting.

Kick-off the meeting with a warm welcome and a quick summary of the purpose of the gathering. Reiterate the importance of everyone's contribution and encourage open communication.

2. Review of Last Meeting's Action Items (5 minutes)

Objective: Ensure follow-through and accountability.

Each department head should quickly report on the progress or completion of the action items assigned to them in the previous meeting. This can be done either live or using pre-recorded video messages shared on Claap.

3. Departmental Updates (10 minutes)

Objective: Stay informed about each department's progress and challenges.

Each department head gets 2 minutes to share their department’s achievements, challenges, and next steps. To keep things swift, these updates can be shared asynchronously ahead of the meeting using Claap's video update feature.

4. Discussion and Problem-Solving (10 minutes)

Objective: Foster interdepartmental collaboration and collective problem-solving.

Open the floor for a focused discussion on issues highlighted during the updates. Encourage constructive feedback and innovative solutions. This live discussion allows for real-time problem-solving and can spark unexpected synergies between departments.

5. Wrap Up & Action Items (3 minutes)

Objective: Establish next steps and maintain momentum.

Wrap up by summarising the meeting's key points, and set clear action items for each department, ensuring everyone knows their 'homework'. Use Claap’s AI-powered notes feature to generate an accurate summary and action items for everyone to refer back to.

Remember, the key to an efficient meeting is a strict timekeeper. Consider assigning someone this role to ensure everyone sticks to their time allotment. Happy meeting!

FAQs

1. What are the roles of department heads in a Head of Department Meeting?

Department heads play a crucial role in these meetings. They are responsible for presenting updates about their respective departments, including accomplishments, challenges, and plans for the future. They are also expected to actively participate in discussions and contribute to problem-solving initiatives across the company. Lastly, they should follow through on any action items assigned to their department from previous meetings.

2. How often should you hold a Head of Department Meeting?

The frequency of these meetings can depend on the size and needs of your business. Some companies may find monthly meetings sufficient, while others may prefer weekly check-ins to stay aligned. As long as the meetings are productive and necessary information is shared effectively, the 'right' frequency can vary.

3. How can you improve the efficiency of a Head of Department Meeting?

Efficiency in these meetings can be improved by having a clear agenda and sticking to it. Assigning a timekeeper can help keep everyone on track. Using a tool like Claap for sharing asynchronous updates can save time and improve the flow of information. Encouraging everyone to come prepared and contribute to discussions can also lead to more effective meetings.

4. How can you measure the success of a Head of Department Meeting?

Success can be measured in terms of whether action items from previous meetings have been accomplished, how effectively new information is shared and understood, and whether the meeting prompts actionable solutions for any problems raised. Regularly soliciting feedback from the department heads about the meetings can also provide valuable insights.

5. What are some common challenges in running Head of Department Meetings and how can they be overcome?

Common challenges include keeping the meeting focused, managing time effectively, and ensuring that information is shared and understood by all department heads. These can be overcome by having a clear agenda, using tools like Claap to facilitate information sharing, and creating an environment that encourages open and effective communication.

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