Enterprise

How to create a meeting culture that buys back time

Photo of Aurangzeb Khan
Author
Aurangzeb Khan
Posted
July 26, 2019
Reading time
4 minutes

Living in a digital age where collaboration and productivity are the new currency for innovation, meetings are desperately in need of an upgrade. A full calendar can suck all of the time out of your day with meetings which are often accused of being a complete waste of time.

The first few minutes of a meeting will typically involve the troubleshooting of technical issues. Just as things get moving, someone arrives late and apologizes as the agenda is reset to the beginning. The stronger personalities with the loudest voices in the room will then compete for airtime.

A quick look around the room can often reveal disengaged colleagues checking their phone notifications or replying to emails. However, the workplace is changing, and the days of everyone being in the office at the same time have already disappeared.

Our quest for greater efficiency and productivity is demanding that we can attend a meeting from any location and on any device. We have all experienced the problems of bad meetings first hand. But here are few tips that will help you launch your meetings into the 21st century.

Next-generation video collaboration

A combination of complex technology and poor connectivity was part of the reason video-based meetings picked up a patchy reputation. But thankfully, things have changed as we prepare for a new era of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). So, what should video conferencing look like in a digital age?

Compound your time gains in meetings

There is a real desire for smarter meetings and communication. Speaking to clients who have adopted video-first cultures, video collaboration has reduced hour-long meetings to only 40 minutes. Modern video conferencing needs to be intuitive and not only optimizes our productivity but also adapts to our surroundings. In a much more inclusive environment, everybody should be able to make their voice heard. Even when communicating with colleagues on the other side of the world.

Video collaboration has reduced hour-long meetings to only 40 minutes

Some systems now offer a 180° panoramic-4K view enabling attendees to immediately see the entire meeting room, regardless of their location. Sure, intuitive technology brings these experiences to life. But, it’s the ability to seamlessly communicate and observe body language that sets a new bar for your meetings.

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With employees scattered in a variety of locations, video walls are already in use with both major multinationals, to connect operations centers in different parts of the world, and startups with team members also dispersed around the world. With so many people working from home or on the road, we are beginning to see the emergence of virtual water-cooler moments in a camera-first workplace culture.  Resisting these changes could create information silos and ultimately stunt the productivity of the entire team with whom you’re collaborating.

Collaboration spaces

As the workplace continues to evolve, there is an argument that the concept of meeting rooms is looking incredibly dated. Sitting around a giant table in a meeting room experiencing death by PowerPoint before being asked, “Any questions?” feels like a flashback to our analog past.

As the expectations of employees continue to rise, the traditional meeting room is being replaced with collaborative spaces. A new range of tools such as whiteboard capture systems is enabling workers to be participants, rather than just attendees.

A new range of tools such as whiteboard capture systems is enabling workers to be participants, rather than just attendees.

Collaborative working is not just another business buzzword. It’s an opportunity to help staff communicate, share, and develop ideas or workstreams in a much more strategic and efficient way. Rigid approaches are being replaced by flexible ways of working and impromptu collaborative meetings.

By offering the right tools and space to increase innovation, you naturally increase the speed and efficiency that you can solve problems too. No to mention freeing you from the shackles of a full calendar of unnecessary meetings.

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Checklists for effective meetings

Unfortunately, technology cannot set your meeting agenda, objectives, or chair a meeting more efficiently, yet. Many of our frustrations with ineffective meetings are caused by human error. Whether it be having the wrong people in the room, or wasting time getting side-tracked with trivial issues, something needs to change within your corporate culture too.

Every attendee should know the aims, objectives, and what value they can offer before walking into a meeting room. It’s this clarity of purpose that enables colleagues to talk through problems, challenges, and opportunities rather than about them.

It’s this clarity of purpose that enables colleagues to talk through problems, challenges, and opportunities rather than about them.

Creating a new narrative for meetings

Earlier this year, scheduling platform Doodle released a report that revealed the real costs of pointless meetings. It showed that meetings were costing the world’s companies $541 billion and responsible for losing 24 billion hours in productivity. However, with so much technology and tools at our fingertips, there really is no excuse for ineffective or poorly organized meetings.

Meetings were costing the world’s companies $541 billion and responsible for losing 24 billion hours in productivity.

One of the most dangerous phrases in business is, “But, we’ve always done it this way.” Closely followed by “It is what it is.” Few things can stifle innovation than an environment that discourages new ways of improving productivity across an organization.

Everybody has their own war stories about ineffective meetings, but there is an opportunity to retire them once and for all. With next-generation video collaboration tools at your disposal, will you be a part of a new narrative where meetings are celebrated, rather than feared?

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