Use IM Software to Transform Your Business Meetings
Probably not the first word that comes to mind when you think of productivity. But that’s problematic, considering 15% of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings.
If your business meetings are even the slightest bit ineffective, that’s a lot of wasted time.
Ineffective meetings result from a variety of factors, the biggest including:
- Lack of structure
- Poorly engaged remote participants
And though you can reduce business meetings in number, as well as shorten them, they’re likely not going anywhere anytime soon.
So what can you do? There are steps you can take, especially in the case of remote meetings, to engage employees before, during, and after.
Also, consider your internal communication. In many instances – for both distributed teams and those that work under one roof – team communication software can transform your business meetings by allowing you to not only more effectively establish the meeting scope, but enhance communication and empower engagement.
More Effectively Define the Meeting Scope
Defining the scope of your business meeting is perhaps the most critical step. Failing to adequately prepare the participants, agenda, deliverables, and medium of communication sets the stage for an unproductive meeting before it even begins.
In many instances, team communication software can help you more effectively define the scope of the meeting, as well as more efficiently inform the necessary stakeholders.
- Determine not only who’s expected to be present at the meeting, but what their roles are. Delegating responsibilities among the participants – note-takers, facilitators, presenters, and so on – ensures a more engaging and participatory meeting.
- Set the agenda. By determining the participants and their responsibilities, you can more appropriately set the meeting schedule, define the objectives and expected deliverables, and make sure each relevant stakeholder is involved.
- Decide on the most appropriate medium of communication for the business meeting. Whether you’re meeting in-person or conducting a remote meeting, employing the right communication channel lays the groundwork for a meeting that’s efficient, engaging, and productive.
- Communicate with each participant in advance of the gathering. Establish a chat room with the title of the meeting, for instance, and add each meeting participant. This provides a channel to transfer relevant materials like the agenda, as well as conversation space for pre-meeting questions and discussion.
- Post the meeting details on your team communication software’s welcome module. Before the meeting, send out broadcast messages issuing calls to action regarding meeting tasks and presentations and reminding your team to test their tech.
There’s a Channel to Suit Any Meeting
Once you’ve defined the scope of the meeting, you’re ready to get down to business.
- Text Chats – Text chats provide a conversation space for quick, free-flowing, and ongoing discussion, as well as yes, no, or simple questions. Choosing a text chat makes sense when the topic of discussion is neither in-depth nor one which requires gauging body language. Using text chats to discuss the status of a task, project, or presentation, convey relevant details, or transfer files quickly saves both parties time and energy, leaving them more time to focus on the final product.
- Chat Rooms – Chat rooms afford businesses a secure location for team members to meet, discuss a wide variety of topics, and even transfer unlimited data and information. The customizable nature of chat rooms allows for a conversation space which can be tailored to meet the scope of each business meeting.
- Set up a chat room for a one-off, or a specific meeting on a particular topic, like brainstorming for an upcoming marketing campaign, for instance.
- Establish chat rooms as an ongoing meeting space tailored by team, department, location, or project, for example; or a feedback channel post-meeting. Or mix and match team members and chat rooms as you see fit to enhance cross-functional teamwork and collaboration.
- Utilize chat room controls for maximum productivity – create and shut down rooms, add and remove users, and leave rooms opened or locked rooms.
Despite its convenience, instant messaging remains a vehicle for sharing quick ideas, thoughts, questions, and also data, with the intended parties. Big-picture meetings, in-depth team conversations, and transformative announcements should be left for voice or video chats, or even in-person meetings when possible.
- Voice Chat – When you need to provoke a response, voice chat provides not only a channel to execute your meeting, but also a medium that’s more impactful than an instant message and easier than a phone call. In fact, participants in audio-only conversations have been found to more accurately gauge speakers’ emotions. Keep that in mind when you need to discuss sales reports or the new product brochures, go over onboarding material with the new hire, or simply check-in with the remote team.
- Video Chat – When in-person meetings are impractical or impossible, video chat offers an able replacement. By enabling the intended parties to see each other in real time, video chats facilitate more personal communication and collaboration which would otherwise be delayed or impossible altogether because of logistics. Keeping in mind a few simple tips, video technology can boost engagement, efficiency, and productivity – for one-on-ones, the daily stand up, and even hiring processes, for example.
- Ensures the necessary channels to suit any type of meeting;
- Safeguards communication and collaboration across the entirety of the platform;
- Provides a thorough record of communication for administrative purposes;
- Guarantees communication that’s focused, timely, and efficient
- A Virtual Whiteboard – A virtual whiteboard provides teams a multifunctional and collaborative space to share ideas, import photos and files, and create flow charts, diagrams, graphs, and charts. The ability to add comments and highlight key details enhances the visualization of numbers and performance indicators, underscoring of objectives, and presentation of material; all from the confines of the office conference room or even the departures lounge.
- Screen Sharing – By providing each participant the ability to view in real time the same content, screen sharing better ensures everyone’s on the same page.
- Instant Screen Shot – Capturing your screen as an image, instant screenshots streamline the demonstration of information which would otherwise be time-consuming or difficult to explain with words.
Collaboration Tools Empower Engaging Meetings
In addition to having at your disposal a variety of communication channels to conduct your business meeting, you also need to think about how to engage each meeting participant.
Coupling the virtual whiteboard with live communication, like a voice chat, creates a powerful whiteboard conference capable of serving a variety of business meetings. For instance, let’s say your team’s working on a new product brochure. Over a whiteboard conference, you can draw up illustrations, highlight key features, suggest text edits, all while discussing the revisions in real time inside one platform.
When you’re finalizing a sales pitch, reviewing product specs, accompanying presentations, and supplementary material via screen sharing and real-time communication allows for more detailed questions and feedback, and ensures consensus among each party. Better yet, screen sharing with a prospective client shows them firsthand the benefits of your product, giving you a competitive advantage.
If you’re meeting with a coworker to proofread copy before submitting, screenshots allow you to capture mistakes, mark up text, suggest revisions, and then send instantly in a text chat or chat room with minimal clicks and navigation; transforming the proofreading process into one that’s both visual and collaborative.
Employing an all-in-one team communication software featuring rich collaboration features allows you to more actively involve each party. And by pairing individual tools with real-time communication, meetings are transformed into a two-way street that’s communicative, interactive, and effective.
The Last Word
Meetings are often approached with dread and displeasure. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
And since they won’t be disappearing from work schedules anytime soon, it’s worth taking steps to improve the meeting process.
Team Communication Software, like Brosix Instant Messenger, for example, helps you better structure the meeting itself, more efficiently inform participants, and enhance engagement before, during, and after the meeting; transforming your business meetings from a necessary evil into an internal process that’s interactive, communicative, and productive.