Video conferencing is a rising trend with everyone from the rarified heights of the Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and shiny new startups. However, using video conferencing to its maximum potential and impact has some tips and tricks – and a lot of them are old school rules about communication and how to run a meeting. Technology and the inherent “gee whiz!” of something new like HD video conferencing can lead to some appallingly bad moves, and instead of engaged and participating staff and teams, you have what is a serious problem.
Do You Want the Bad News, or the Bad News?
Over 70 percent of workers feel largely disengaged from their jobs, according to a Gallup poll, and the worse news is that they are some of the wheel horses of the business world; college educated or advanced degree holding professionals between 30 and 64. These are people who are generally in the age group to have young children in the home, to those with grown or college aged children and elderly parents. They are also the type most likely to be tapped for business travel, and according to Verizon, these professionals can be called upon to attend an average of 60 meetings per month. Naturally, they can’t get to all of them, even if all these meetings are equally important, so there’s going to be dropped information missing from their workflow.
With 60 meetings per month, the time out of the office and away from their regular working duties can back up work flow, disrupt time with friends and family, and result in a stressed out, burned out worker who is going to make a choice – and that choice is going to be working somewhere else. The Rationale of the Meeting If only you knew how many staff members roll their eyes and groan when told about meetings. The primary rule of a good meeting is to make sure it’s necessary and not someone’s personal hour on the soapbox with a captive audience or a blame game. Meetings are about the sharing of information, brainstorming, negotiation, or advancing projects under the company’s aegis.
Even with video conferencing remotely using apps like Blue Jeans, meetings need to follow a set agenda that is available to everyone, and will allow them to contribute.
1. Objectives of the meeting need to be clearly stated, not vague. Something like “status updates” can be handled by an email blast. Meetings need to be reserved for exchanges where only face time will do.
2. Consider the invite list carefully. Some people attend meetings because it gives them an opportunity to play Candy Crush for three hours while speakers drone on and everyone wonders if someone else brought donuts. Others want to speak because they just want to talk about their particular projects. Invite only people pertinent to the matter under discussion.
3. Enforce strict time limits on speaking, then set aside time for question and answer periods. Do not let people hog the time for themselves, it’s inconsiderate of the people waiting to speak after them, and extending the meeting to accommodate them interrupts the work flow of the other attendees.
4. Start and end on time. People plan their workdays around a meeting, and expect that the meeting will start and end more or less at the time stated. In the case of participants in different time zones, you may run up against immovable objects in their day, such as another previously scheduled meeting, caregiving, or even close of business everyone out and turn off the lights.
5. Make sure that the people with the authority to call meetings do so responsibly. Everyone hates to admit it, but there are always certain people who, when told so-and-so is calling a meeting contemplate having a fall down the stairs and a trip to the ER. With great power comes great responsibility, and unfortunately sometimes someone with the power to call meetings shouldn’t be allowed to do it.
People love meetings. In a study by Verizon, over 90 percent of frequent meeting attendees said that meetings are a valuable chance to contribute and be heard. It’s the method of meetings being stuck in the last century that causes the problem, with travel, disruption, and stress.
By using cloud based, cost effective apps for video conferencing the smart manager or entrepreneur can meet multiple objectives in a timely and effective fashion, without alienating vital employees in what should be the prime, productive years of their careers. The key is to use these tools when and where they are the most effective and cause the least disruption. Getting an idea of your staff, team, and contractors’ work flow is a good first step in encouraging them to adopt video conferencing in their daily work routine.
Published with permission.
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