How To Host and Run Better Meetings

Effective Meetings

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.

Keeping On Top Of Your Workday

Organise your workdayIt is very easy to lose track of time during your busy workday. Often you can be running late before you know it and wondering where the time has gone. Luckily, there is range of technology solutions to help you organise your to-do list and help you get on top of your workday.

The Outlook Calendar

We are often guilty of spending the entire day stuck with emails in Outlook. In addition to emails, there are a range of features that can help you make the most of Outlook. With some simple tweaks, you will be able to manage your day like a pro.

The Outlook Calendar allows you to make quick changes, alter your diary, and update items on the go. The Calendar interface allows appointments to be picked up and moved to a different time or date with ease.

The biggest advantage Outlook has is the ability to access and update it from anywhere. With 2-way sync, appointments, meetings, and events can be updated anywhere and accessed everywhere – whether it be on your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. The days of no longer being able to check your calendar because you are not sitting in front of your computer are now long gone.

Today you can add events straight from your email and even invite others to events can be contacted with reminders automatically. You can even schedule your own reminders before the event too. Using your calendar to stay on top of your day has never been easier.

OneNote

The Microsoft Office suite includes OneNote, despite it not being as well known as other members of the Office suite (ie Outlook, Word, excel etc) it can be an indispensable tool that you shouldn’t do without.

OneNote acts as a virtual notebook to keep your ideas, projects, and notes in line. Using OneNote enables you to power-up your text with drawings and diagrams, tailor your projects with color coding, and record your thoughts with media clips all in one location.

OneNote is becoming the ultimate record keeping tool that you simply can’t go into a meeting without. Physical notebooks begin to seem like a relic of the past, limited by old constraints that no longer apply to a laptop or tablet with OneNote.

Microsoft To-Do

Powered by Office 365 is Microsoft’s To-Do application. To-Do offers a simple, straightforward to-do list that makes it easy to plan your day.

Whether planning your school work, business projects or keeping on top of your home life, To-Do is designed to boost productivity and make the most of your time. The simple interface makes it easy to use and the instant reward for checking of tasks makes it well worth your while.

To-Do sorts your tasks into lists, which are combined into a single day view. The view of your day provides a clear, clutter-free list of tasks to be done.

Being Office 365 based means that the application syncs with all your devices to give you access from anywhere. This empowers you to quickly add, change, schedule, and tick off tasks as you go.

Keeping On Top Of Your Day

Losing track of time is easy to do. It does not take too much before your day seems completely out of order. With the tools listed above from Office 365 and a tiny bit of planning, your days can become more productive than ever.

Being back on track, you will no longer have to spend your free time making up for lost time. Your spare time will be your own again and everyone will wonder how you manage to remain so productive.

Give these tools a try today and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.

If you need help and are in Adelaide South Australia please contact us on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au.

If you enjoyed this article please subscribe to our monthly update so you don’t miss out on any future information.