5 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Efficiency and Productivity in Meetings
Meetings continue to play an important role today in the success of businesses and entrepreneurs, with the goal being to organize and run them more efficiently.
However, organizing and running more efficient business or professional meetings is often easier said than done. While meetings are a necessary part of effective communication and collaboration, they can also easily become a burden for all participants if not planned properly.
In the past, business meetings simply entailed the distribution of a paper agenda, with participants taking written notes accordingly. Once the meeting ended, it was often difficult to assess how things had gone. This made it difficult to get the information you needed to improve operations.
With advancements in technology, however, things have changed. Instead of relying on flat verbal presentations in meetings between colleagues and departments, technology has facilitated transmission of a wide range of concepts.
How to Improve Meetings with Technology
If you're looking to take advantage of new technology and improve your meetings, there are effective new methods and many useful tools available today that'll help you take your meetings to the next level.
Here are top ways (and tools) to use to improve your meetings and make them more efficient and productive:
1. Capture More Ideas in Real Time
One of the biggest flaws in business meetings is that participants often serve little more purpose than the public. Tools like GoWall are changing this, giving participants the resources they need to contribute to a meeting without being disturbed. As concepts are communicated, participants can add their thoughts to a ‘wall of ideas’ in real time. Others can see these notes and naturally be inspired to contribute.
The end result is a more engaged audience and improved productivity. There is also valuable documentation that leaders can use to move forward and manage meetings more efficiently. Employees feel they are contributors in this situation. Therefore, they are enthusiastic about future meetings. This kind of technology can be used for both on-site meetings and meetings with remote staff.
2. Facilitate Better Feedback Loop
When a participant considers giving feedback or making a comment, you probably think about the questionnaire titled "How was our presentation?" that are found in many conferences and seminars. However, solutions like ParticiPoll provide a survey tool for meetings of all sizes. This includes standard staff meetings. The survey can be incorporated into a PowerPoint presentation. This way, you can invite the participants to evaluate each presentation and provide feedback at the end. It can also include surveys within the presentation, making participants evaluate different things in real time.
This type of tool is perfect for companies that regularly make presentations for remote participants. You can collect votes from your entire team and utilize that information once the meeting is over. Not only will you see the results of your live polls, but you can also access all your surveys thereafter. This will help identify trends, so that meetings can be conducted more efficiently.
3. Conduct Meetings on Your Website
Your website is a great platform to conduct business dealings. A live video link on your website will provide a means of connectivity for both you and your business associates to engage in productive business meetings, even if you’re on opposite sides of the planet.
Conducting business meetings on your website attracts more traffic and gives your business partners first-hand insight into the products and services your company offers. Using a business website also makes it convenient to highlight any company initiatives whenever you’re hosting meetings. In certain cases, business meetings can be conducted with top management executives on your website, particularly when you’re on business trips.
However, to serve as an effective medium for business meetings, your website load speed must be fast. Fortunately, this can easily be accomplished by using technology like an Open Host service that takes the importance of having a responsive site seriously.
4. Enable Innovative Virtual Collaboration
Popular solutions like Google Hangouts have revolutionized video conferencing, facilitating the launch of virtual meetings in which everyone participates. The Google tool has evolved over the years, adapting to the ever changing needs of companies that use it. Similar to collaboration tools, Google Hangouts allow employees to easily switch from text chat to file sharing and video chat.
Among the many advantages of the Google tool is the fact that many people already have an account, which means they can join without registering. They can also access other tools within the platform, including Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs. This facilitates the initiation of calls, not only with current employees, but also external sources, such as customers and contract workers.
Cisco WebEx has also expanded its offer over the years to help participants move easily between chat rooms, make phone calls and video chats.
5. Digitize Idea Generation and Whiteboarding
Brainstorming is a great way to conduct meetings more efficiently. You can tap into the experience of an entire team, since one idea can easily feed another.
However, being in front of a whiteboard with an erasable marker is not an option for many companies, now that some workers are remote and customers participate by phone. A whiteboard application can solve this, starting with the ability to demonstrate concepts using a finger on a smart screen.
Popular whiteboarding solutions include applications such as Cisco Spark Board, which incorporates screen sharing to allow different team members to participate in the use of a whiteboard. This can be essential for brainstorming with remote workers, as well as clients who want to talk about concepts. All information is saved for later, which means your team can use the data to inform the project that was the subject of the meeting.
Whether you choose one of these tools or a combination of multiple solutions, it’s important to create an environment that helps you manage meetings more efficiently. In the end, you will discover that colleague and employees are not only excited about upcoming business meetings, but also more productive as they organize video chats using a set of easy-to-use solutions they love and implement.