How to Run Effective Meetings
Today we’re going to show you how you can run effective meetings in our Post-Covid societies. But before we delve into this, it’s worth exploring how meetings have evolved in recent years so we can understand how they’ve functioned and what the next chapter will be.
The Meeting (Re)evolution
It may be hard to believe now, but until the 1990s, all meetings were entirely analogue. That is, until the advent of internet browsing in 1989. Apple’s first laptop popped up at about the same time, and before long technology had well and truly infiltrated the office. By the 21st century, projectors, PowerPoints and conference room technology, things which we now take for granted, were all the rage, and it could only go up from here. Soon, in the early 2010s, cloud computing became a reality and with it remote working. Coupled with the developments in video conferencing, seamless interaction was now possible between remote workers and those in-house. The dynamic had also shifted, with a greater focus on collaboration over mere presentation.
This leads us up to the present day where we have a wealth of services (Slack, Zoom, Teams) at our fingertips that facilitate remote connection. No one could predict, however, just how paramount these services would end up becoming, with the cataclysmic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic. 2020 demanded us to change our working ways and with it, our attitudes shifted. We began to realize what constitutes an effective meeting, and what simply isn’t worth our time. After all, as Forbes writes: “much of what was previously accomplished via meeting is now an email or a conference call”.
In fact, it’s safe to say that meetings don’t have such a great rep right now. Looking at the statistics, it’s clear that it isn’t so much meetings themselves that are the problem, but their efficacy. Indeed, according to a study from HBR, 65% of leaders said that meetings keep them from completing their own work. According to FuzeBox, 92% of people admit to multitasking during meetings. Finally, and most alarmingly, 47% of employees consider them their biggest waste of time in the workday.
These are findings that suggest great change is needed to restore faith in this concept that is both centuries old and essential for fostering collaboration, creativity, and innovation. If only there were a way to transform them to make them work for everyone.
Embracing new working methods
Enter Flipped meetings. These take inspiration from the flipped classroom model, where students watch lectures at home before class to allow for more coaching and less presentation in person. This frees up time for the most important aspects of learning. The result? “Better academic results and satisfaction regardless of the discipline, field of study, or education level,” Zirvana writes.
Fortunately, this concept can be easily adapted to the office. Presentations and team updates can be recorded in advance and watched by employees so that once they arrive, they’re able to get straight to the highest value activities, that is, conversation, contribution, and decision-making. The real benefit of this set-up is that people have time to watch and digest the content at their convenience with ample time for reflection. It’s also evident that those producing flipped content have some advantages, as 90% of people find it easier to get their point across on video. No more wasted productivity and frustrated employees then.
Another concept that could help revolutionise meetings is something we’ve already had a bit of practice with throughout the pandemic. That is, hybrid meetings. This is where we make the most of the numerous digital formats available to us with some employees present remotely via videoconferencing applications, others perhaps via telephone or instant messaging. It might not be long before this is taken a step further, with some participating via virtual reality. It goes without saying that this working method is breaking down barriers and allowing for greater flexibility in the workplace. Indeed, according to GlobeNewswire up to 47% of video conference users have reduced their travel costs. In terms of productivity, video meetings improve productivity as much as 50%.
Sources: LifeSize, GlobeNewswire, Fuzebox, bettermeetings.expert, software one
Both approaches require the use of videoconferencing. For this you’ll need an effective video recording tool. Alternatively, you can make use of Rapidmooc’s all-in-one video studios to create your presentations and carry out your web meetings in style. With its full HD camera, customizable design and 4 wheels, the Rapidmooc studio is a ready-to-use video solution, combining a very simple-to-use hardware with a full featured recording and editing software.
May you want to address a small committee or a large assembly, you’ll be able to run effective AND attractive meetings. Furthermore, you can combine several devices, cameras or screens to make sure to have the best public-speaking experience: whether you want to see every attendee or play with several viewing angles, the Rapidmooc studios allow you to create playful interactions.
Practical tips for meeting success
Aside from these fancy innovative formats, what are some more immediate ways we can improve our meetings so that they run more smoothly and waste less time? We believe there are 3 key ways to achieve this.
Decide upon objectives
Creating an agenda is essential to ensuring that employees feel that their time is being valued. It means walking through the door with a clear idea of why we’re there, and what we’re hoping to get out of our time. This could be one or several objectives. Knowing the purpose of the meeting at the outset also helps decide who actually needs to be present. Finally, agendas allow you to steer things back on track should the conversation go off course.
Keep things short and snappy
Second, your meetings need to be streamlined. There’s no point divulging into superfluous discussion that doesn’t adhere to the agenda you’ve just created. You can take things further by assigning who will lead discussion or presentation of each item. Then, you just need to make sure that the start and end times are fully respected. This has two advantages: it encourages you to use the allotted time wisely, and it respects employee’s time and priorities. Finally, don’t hesitate to make use of the flipped structure we talked about earlier. That way everyone will be on the same page by the time they arrive, ready to interact and share their insights.
The last key is to make the most of others’ feedback. It would be wise to circulate the meeting agenda to participants in advance so that they are optimally prepared, and so that you can get their all-important feedback. This can help you to decide on objectives, how to allot the time, and just generally what to discuss. After all, meetings are about collaboration, so why not foster it before the meeting has even begun? At the end of the meeting, you can then debrief, asking participants for feedback, and deciding upon an action plan for the next steps you’ve hopefully identified.
With all of that said, it’s essential to make sure meetings are conducted in a respectful and professional manner where each of our unique perspectives are respected. It may be a good idea to come up with some ground rules to ensure each participant has adequate time to talk and that there’s minimal interruption.
We hope you now have some food-for-thought for creating effective and successful meetings. Whether it’s by making use of innovative concepts such as flipped meetings or hybrid meetings, utilising traditional tried-and-tested techniques, or both, it’s clear that we need to break up the often stale and uninspiring format of meetings of yesteryear. For more information on how to navigate our new working world and all the technology that brings, feel free to check out our blog or our Rapidmooc Pro studio range.