As the old, cliché saying goes: time is money. Every minute someone at work is an opportunity to generate revenue for the business. Wasted minutes mean wasted opportunities to generate revenue. Now, of course, that’s a very black and white way to look at time spent at work. The reality is that most people are not machines working at 100% efficiency for their entire 8-hour day. Plus, there is something to be said for the comradery that can be built through a casual water cooler conversation.
Meetings are one activity that can prove to be either incredibly beneficial or a disappointing waste of valuable time. In fact, some research suggests that 50% of all time spent in meetings is not utilized well. If time is money, then every unproductive minute is money disappearing into the ether. Thankfully, there are some helpful ways to make meetings more productive and squeeze more value out of the time spent connecting.
1. Make Meetings Virtual
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to make their meetings virtual rather than in-person. Now that restrictions are being lifted in many places and vaccination numbers rise, there is likely to be some temptation to return to more in-person meetings. However, virtual meetings or conference calling may still be the way to go.
Using the tools people have already become so familiar with, like Microsoft Teams or 3CX, is an easy way to make meetings more productive. It reduces travel time for people who may need to come from other locations, eliminates the need for set up and takedown of a meeting room, avoids disruptions for late arrivals or early leavers, and makes for easy recording in the event the meeting needs to be reviewed or shared.
2. Share an Agenda
Many meeting hosts go into a meeting with an agenda but fail to share it with the other attendees. Whether virtual or in-person, providing an agenda gives everyone a clear idea of the meeting flow and keeps everyone on-track. If hosting a meeting in Microsoft Teams, share the agenda with the calendar invite and follow up by email before the meeting.
For in-person meetings, printing the agenda and providing a copy to everyone attending gives a tangible outline that can easily be referenced throughout the meeting and taken afterward.
3. Provide a Hand Out
While many meeting attendees may be happy to review a slide deck virtually after a meeting, there are some people who would appreciate having something physical to reference during or after the meeting. The reality is that there are a number of different learning styles. Someone may be content to sit back and listen and others may prefer to take notes on paper as they follow along.
There is no right or wrong way to learn. Meeting hosts need to ensure that people can get the most out of the meeting in their own way and simply printing out a paper hand out to go along with other materials can make a huge difference.
4. Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings
Sometimes the most productive meeting is a meeting that doesn’t happen at all. Meetings about small status updates that can easily be conveyed in an email are a great example of meetings that can be eliminated. Another solution would be to combine smaller, less urgent updates into a single connection done weekly or bi-weekly.
Using meeting time effectively and giving people time to do their jobs can be a delicate balancing act.
5. Fully Utilize Digital Tools
Many businesses are comfortable running a meeting or video conference calling through the technology solutions available. However, very few are using the platforms to their full potential. Some of the top solutions for hosting virtual meetings provide a range of collaboration tools that engage all meeting participants.
Learning and understanding the range of tools and technology available is incredibly important. Even something as simple as using the annotate feature available on many platforms to complete an icebreaker activity or break up the monotony of a long meeting can go a long way to engage and interest meeting attendees.
6. Limit Meeting Size
Whenever possible, limiting the number of attendees in a meeting can help to make the time spent in the meeting more productive. Think about who will be contributing during the meeting, who needs to know the information immediately, and who may not be required for the actual meeting.
With only the necessary people present, meetings offer more time for sharing to those who are called upon and gives more free time to those who are not invited.
Better Meetings Start Today
With a few small changes, wasteful meetings can turn into productive ones. Implementing new habits around meetings can be a challenge for some but will pay dividends in the long run.
When it comes to selecting and implementing technology for virtual meetings or conference calling, the experts at CDS Office Technologies are ready to help. Contact CDS today!