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Make your meetings matter

Meetings are important. They’re a chance to regroup, collaborate on big ideas, or even just see where everybody’s at in their current projects.

But way too many meetings can be a massive waste of time.

They can feel unnecessarily long.

The people in them can feel like they’re unnecessary.

Or the point of the meeting can be lost on everyone.

The good news is that with a few simple rules and a few simple technologies, you can make sure your business is running more effective meetings.

Let’s look at some.

Tip #1: If the tech doesn’t work, the meeting doesn’t work

In our recent survey, 70% of businesses stated that their employees are on the move more than half of their work time[i], which means technology is essential to your meetings—your team needs to be able to connect wherever they are. But it’s important the tools you use don’t create friction for your team, otherwise meetings will just cause unnecessary frustration.

Seamless video conferencing is the starting point. But your meeting platform should also enable you to work collaboratively during your meetings, with tools such as:

  • Screen sharing – to work on documents in real-time during meetings
  • Cloud file sharing – to share documents when they’re mentioned in your meeting
  • Instant messaging – to easily send text and pictures that benefit the conversation

The important thing to remember: if the tech doesn’t work, it isn’t just an inconvenience. It’s the difference between effective collaboration and wasted time.

Tip #2: Give every meeting clear goals—and show everyone the output

Challenge the people planning your meetings to outline specific questions that need to be answered or specific decisions that need to be made for every meeting.

If they can do that, they’ve already made a huge improvement to your meeting culture.

You could take that one step further and then use an application to track minutes throughout your meetings and share them in real time too.

With an application for creating minutes, you can:

  • Record agenda items and points covered as they are discussed
  • Share detailed minutes with your team to ensure everyone has the same information
  • Enable team members to make additional notes and edit minutes

Sometimes all you need is a shared document.

Tip #3: Poll everyone to see how they feel about meetings

Before the meeting, mobile forms are useful for finding out who can attend, when’s convenient for them to meet, and the topics your team would like to discuss. This is an easy way to develop an agenda for your meetings, and it can help keep meetings focused and productive.

You can also use mobile forms during the meeting to assign actions and tasks to different team members. With shared access between the people in your team, everyone has a clear view of what people are working on.

And after the meeting, you can use mobile forms to see whether team members have completed work or actions, and get feedback on the meeting to identify what to improve for next time.

You may not want to do this all the time, but it will help when you’re looking for answers.

Better meetings start with better focus

Different businesses have different approaches to meetings. At Amazon, for instance, if a document needs to be read by everyone, they read it together at the start of the meeting. At Tesla, people are free to leave meetings as soon as they feel like it. In other companies people will schedule 50 minute meetings instead of hour-long meetings.

Whatever you do, the important thing to remember is that your meetings matter. And it doesn’t take anything too complicated to make them better.

Simple moves, simple tech and a lot of focus are all you need.