4 tips to run a great meeting
Bring productivity back to your meetings
The prospect of having to sit through a meeting doesn’t always excite everyone. Although meetings have the potential to be fun and collegial gatherings that also help move projects along, many of them don’t live up to that promise.
What can go wrong in a typical meeting?
Sometimes, meetings can consume a lot of time and make participants feel disconnected from what’s going on across the company at large:
- In fact, unnecessary meetings are the No. 1 time-waster in most offices, accounting for untold hours and billions in wasted productivity every month.
- As much as one-third of all meetings in a given month are deemed unproductive, and it’s not hard to see why: Between late starts, unfocused agendas, and outdated collaboration tech, many participants can’t stay engaged.
- Unproductive meetings exact steep costs in other ways, too. For example, a “1-hour meeting” is actually much longer, since it takes that amount of time away from everyone who joins it. So, if there are 10 attendees, the meeting is actually consuming 10 hours that could be channeled elsewhere.
- Along similar lines, traditional meetings require office space. A conference room that someone might be using to take an important call instead has to be devoted to a big gathering that could end up not being all that productive anyway.
- Remote workers can feel isolated when meetings aren’t engaging. Inadequate communication/collaboration as well as loneliness are among the most cited drawbacks to working remotely, and how meetings are run is a big reason why.
On the bright side, meetings don’t have to be unproductive. With the right tools in support of a coherent strategy, you can run meetings that cover everything you want while keeping everyone engaged. And now, with so many people working from home, it’s important to understand how to help employees feel connected. Here are four proven tips for taking your meetings to the next level.
Tip #1: Send a written agenda in advance and establish context
Why are so many meetings unfocused? Because no one, other than maybe the host, really knows what’s going to happen or who is participating.
That’s why it’s important to send out an agenda containing the main points you want to cover in the time allotted. In Webex, you can add an agenda directly to your meeting invite.
Having an agenda creates structure and helps you maximize the time you have. Once you write everything down and ensure it’s covered point by point, you might even find that you have time left over and can end the meeting early, which is good news for everyone’s productivity as they can get back to other tasks.
As for establishing context about who will be in the meeting, this is where cognitive collaboration solutions can make a real difference. These AI-driven platforms can pull information from multiple sources, such as public social media profiles and various directories, to create context and enable more seamless collaboration
Tip #2: Make it easy to join the meeting
How much meeting time is lost to simply trying to get the session started? Invitees may have to dig through their inboxes to find the dial-in or link, and even when they have it ready they might need to jump through a few hoops first.
Downloading applications and plugins, entering a PIN, finding a compatible device – these complications make meetings overly complex and less useful. To get things back on track, think about simplifying the join process.
A collaboration platform like Webex lets you invite anyone and everyone with a simple set of steps. Most of the time, it’s just a singular “step” – tap or click the button to join when it’s time. Whether someone is using a PC, Mac, phone, tablet, or standard-based video conferencing system, participation in straightforward.
Tip #3: Use video technology, if appropriate
Video conferencing provides benefits that no other meeting technology can:
- First, it’s the best way to feel like you’re in the same room as everyone else despite being physically far apart. HD video and audio allow for high-quality interpersonal connections in meetings.
- Second, it lets attendees see reactions and body language in real time. Those insights are missing from conversations that happen over email, chat, or traditional phone call, and they are valuable for bridging cultural divides.
- Third, it goes hand-in-hand with collaboration capabilities such as screen sharing and recording. A video meeting can benefit from the real-time sharing of an application, document, or entire screen, plus it can be easily shared later with anyone who couldn’t make it
Video meetings are good for many different use cases. You can set up one to touch base with internal staff, recruit and interview candidates for open positions, host a webinar, and much more.
Tip #4: Follow-up as needed
When a meeting ends, sometimes the host will send an email that summarizes what happened and provides a link to the recording. This is a good approach, since it reinforces what was covered and can be especially useful for people who weren’t able to join.
There are other ways to follow-up beyond just email, though. A recording of the meeting can be very informative, plus there’s the option to use a chat app to share additional collateral and thoughts in real time. With Cisco Webex, you can follow-up with ease and host the most productive meetings possible.
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