Meetings have gotten a bad rap over the years, with people mistakenly assuming every meeting is a productivity drain. In fact, good meetings can be a huge boost, especially if they help you work through issues and come up with new ideas.
For meetings to be useful, though, it’s important to find ways to overcome the very things that have traditionally spoiled meetings.
Here are five common meeting annoyances, as well as some tips that can help fix them.
Too Many Notes
Capturing information in meetings has always been complicated, especially once flip charts and whiteboards get involved. Some businesses still rely on this method of data gathering, finding that their frantic scribbles help get their ideas on paper.
However, at the end of the meeting, someone is usually tasked with collecting all that information, which too often means trying to decipher handwriting and turn incomplete thoughts into something coherent.
Microsoft Pix, along with tools like smart markers and electronic whiteboards like Kaptivo, provide a way to capture those scribblings, improving on the information to create useful content that can be later used. All this done through new advancements in AI.
It’s important to find a way to make sure any data gathered during a meeting is collected and shared with those who can use it to get results for your business.
Nobody Is Taking Notes
As you’re speaking to a roomful of people, is anyone taking notes? If not, how can you be sure the information discussed will be remembered after everyone leaves the room?
Note-taking is an ongoing issue for meeting leaders, especially as technology has gradually made offices paperless. It’s important that meeting organizers fully embrace technology, making it as easy as possible for participants to bring their laptops or tablets into the meeting to take notes.
Applications like GoWall move meetings beyond talking heads, equipping attendees with the tools they need to not only take notes, but to share them with others in the audience. As others speak, employees can add their own notes to a group wall, inspiring others in attendance to build on those thoughts.
Virtual Attendees Don’t Share
Virtual meetings with AI have given remote team members the ability to attend meetings, whether they’re on the road or they always work from home. Unfortunately, those same remote attendees may not be as engaged as those who are in the room, since doing so means finding a way to chime in.
Zoom provides a “raise hand” feature that lets your remote workers signal that they have something to say. Always pay close attention to avoid missing these alerts. You should also make a concerted effort, with every meeting, to give remote workers an equal chance to participate in the meeting. In addition to asking each person to give a brief update, also include some of your remote workers in the agenda each month to make sure they feel included.
Several People Dominate
Everyone has been in a situation where a “meeting hog” takes over the conversation, either lengthening a meeting or cutting into the time that might have been used by others. It’s up to meeting organizers to keep everyone on track, quickly steering the conversation if someone begins to dominate.
SmartSheet’s free meeting agenda templates can give you the start you need to create professional-quality agendas. You’ll find with an agenda in place, your meetings are shorter but on topic and your attendees are engaged, since they’ll know what to expect.
Participants Aren’t Engaged
Is everyone in your meeting paying attention from start to finish? The only way to gauge this is to look around the room and see if anyone has checked out, but even then you may not know. This becomes even more complicated with remote workers, since they could be surfing the internet or watching TV and you’d never know. If they aren’t captured on video at all times, they may even get up and walk way at various intervals.
One long-popular trick to ensure people stay engaged is to randomly call on people to speak on the topic at hand. Make an effort you include remote participants in that effort. If you’re hosting virtual events like webinars, coordinators like Virtual Venues specialize in helping hosts keep attendees interested.
Although many have preconceptions about meetings with AI, they don’t have to be a reality. With the right tools and techniques, you can change the way your staff feels about meetings, whether they’re in the office or working from home. Make sure you measure the results to determine whether your tools are working, including pulling reports and noting whether the items discussed in the meeting were followed up on after the fact.