Throwing a great meeting is a lot like throwing a great party. It takes planning and some professional tips and tricks to keep things running smoothly, preempt drama, and make sure everyone remembers what a great time they had. Key points are making the video conferencing application fit your style instead of making your needs fit the application. With cloud-based applications like the Blue Jeans Network, you’ll find more flexibility and less need for expensive and high maintenance equipment. Making the most of your meetings means creating a style guide for everyone to follow.
What Makes a Meeting a Great Meeting?
What makes a meeting a successful, memorable meeting are the same things that make a party into a successful party effort and planning, letting everyone know what to expect, and sticking with your game plan. Meetings can help to reinvigorate workers who are feeling disengaged, a problem that plagues over 70 percent of American workers according a recent Gallup poll. Even with the figure, an overwhelming number of professionals love meetings, valuing them as a chance to make positive contributions and meet with coworkers.
- What is the objective of your meeting? It needs to be clear and concise, not something as vague as “updates” or “seeking input.” In short, if it can be reasonably handled by an email blast, you don’t need to call a meeting.
- Set an agenda and stick to it. An agenda is a list, plan, schedule, or an outline of objectives and issues that you want to address in a given period of time. Be realistic when laying out the agenda, allowing time for speakers, reports, and presentations, then a question and answer or voting period before moving onto the next item.
- Think about your guest list. Try to invite only those who will bring value to the meeting or get something out of attending. Chances are that if you know people who never speak, never contribute, or simply try to take up as much meeting time as possible are the ones you will want to leave off the list.
- Make sure that everyone has a copy of the agenda, and have them confirm receipt. Display the agenda prominently at the meeting to keep people focused on the reason the meeting was called.
- Enforce the agenda. One person can blow an agenda to smithereens by taking not only their time, but everyone else’s, too. Be professional, but be firm about the time limits. People want to get back to their workflow.
- Start and end your meeting on the times specified. People clear their calendars very exactly and will expect to be let go at the time specified, and for the meeting to get off to a definitive start.
- Do a post-meeting email blast, and in it cover the outcomes of the meeting, such as responsibilities assigned, and tasks, goals, and deadlines set.
- Make it clear to everyone that everyone has to contribute in some way. Speaking up and staying focused begets future meeting invitations. Playing Candy Crush gets you a pass.
- For especially long meetings, schedule intermissions. Let people get up and stretch their legs, get refreshments, or even go outside and have a smoke. Sitting in one place for hour after hour dulls the mind and blunts the attention span, so get them up and get them moving around at regular intervals.
- Set aside some open mic time when possible, and encourage people to speak. Some junior colleagues may find meetings intimidating and dominated by older staff members. Opening up some mic time for younger staff can reinvigorate even the most moribund equine.
Possibly the best part about apps like Blue Jeans is how well they mesh with today’s highly mobile digital lifestyle. Being far from a meeting room is no problem for those who have a smart phone, tablet, or laptop with them. With mobile friendly apps no matter if they are attending or hosting the meeting, the ability to participate is in no way diminished. Going to a meeting is as simple as a point and click or a tap and swipe.
Remember also that while traveling to a meeting might seem like something your staff should enjoy, a study by Verizon showed that many workers find travel stressful, and were concerned about leaving family or having work pile up while they attend a faraway meeting. Soft costs like these impact the bottom line every bit as much, if not more, than the travel budget. By making meetings easy and convenient to host or attend, your staff benefits not only from the additional work time, but to the time they can spend with their families and friends which can lead to a more balanced employee who is more satisfied with their job.