Business meetings can be a double-edged sword. Often they are just as likely to rally staff and build momentum as they are to halt progress and kill productivity.
Productive meetings are key to keeping team members on track and everyone on the same page. A poor meeting is as harmful to the progress of a project as losing multiple members of staff.
Finding the right balance is essential for good business. Here are four tools and techniques to make sure that your meetings are not standing in the way of your business.
1. Streamlined Scheduling
One of the biggest hurdles to planning a meeting can be simply be booking or finding a space. Finding an available room, with the right equipment at the right time and place can be a logistical nightmare. Repeated emails back and forth to agree on the venue alone can consume hours out of the day.
There are technical tools available to help. Outlook’s scheduling assistant can be a great place to start. The office package is designed to help you find a time and place convenient for everyone.
The software is a key, but underused, component within Office 365. Simply adopting a scheduling assistant can cut down the time to plan a meeting from hours to minutes – especially when all the attendees are in the same company.
With everyone fully connected and on the same page, every meeting is improved from the first minute. The scheduling assistant can be found under New Items > Meeting in the Outlook home tab.
2. Bringing in Outside Help
Of course, not all meetings are internal affairs. Often, a successful meeting involves staff members from third-party organisations, clients and external consultants.
This is a prime area for technology tools to help. Tools such as FindTime (free for Office365 users) and Doodle both serve as scheduling assistants to arrange suitable times and locations to coordinate meetings with multiple parties.
The process is involves each party selecting available or desired times to meet. This process is done independently and based on priorities for each user. When everyone has added their input a mutually convenient slot can be found for everyone.
With modern technology there’s no reason to spend hours, wrestling over when and where to meet. Using the tools as they are designed to be used cuts out a huge amount of overhead cost from meeting planning.
3. Idea Capture
The most common complaint staff have about business meetings is the lack of available participation. Many show up but feel like audience members. When staff members feel their contributions aren’t valued, it can lead to a drop in morale and much deeper issues within the company.
Tools such as GoWall are changing meetings for the better and giving staff members a bigger voice. The site provides attendees with the resources they need to contribute to meetings without disrupting the flow.
The idea behind GoWall is very simple and highly effective. Concepts are communicated as part of a presentation or ongoing conversation and participants are free to contribute to an “idea wall” in real time. This shared wall contains ideas, contributions and notes from all participants that add value to the conversation.
Since the ideas are shared between all participants, everyone can be inspired to contribute. This simple concept helps all members to feel they have a chance to have their contributions valued and voices heard.
4. Worthwhile Meetings
Meetings can be a difficult topic in some workplaces. Some firms have had historic failures and huge losses in productivity as a result of too many meetings running overtime. In some environments, formal meetings have all but been banned already.
Using modern technology solutions, we can:
- Put the productivity back into meetings.
- Cut out the wasted time.
- Get to the points that matter.
With these simple yet highly effective tools, we can build meetings that create and encourage productivity instead of hampering it.
If you enjoyed this article please subscribe to our monthly update so you don’t miss out on any future information.