Make Meetings Work: My Two Cents
Virtual meetings are here to stay. Never imagined Zoom would become a verb but we at Knex Technology have been using it daily (shout out to Eric Yuan for letting K-12 schools use it for free!). I am sure for several of us, many days end with meeting fatigue. So, how can we make meetings better? This responsibility is shared by the host/organizer as well as the attendees. I’m probably going to state the obvious but here is my two cents:
- Preparation is key: First, we need to ask ourselves – is a meeting required? Or can we achieve the same via email or delegation. If inevitable, prepare a good agenda, allot sufficient time to cover it, invite/confirm critical attendees and most important of all – do not invite anyone who isn’t needed.
- Less is more: Sounds counterintuitive but a smaller number of productive meetings typically yield better results. Also, try and reduce meeting durations – anything over two hours is usually counter-productive. Discussions should be concise and to the point.
- Encourage participation: It is a good idea for whoever is talking to pause, giving others the opportunity to talk. Look out for anyone attempting to speak – most meeting platforms have a visual indicator. Keep monitoring the Meeting Chat or Q&A for questions.
- To be on video or not: Some insist on video calls but not everyone is comfortable. Perhaps best if everyone says hello on video when meeting starts and then only the presenter is on video. Turning off video reduces network contention and recording size. We are talking significant data usage per hour – over 2.4GB for video versus less than 30MB for audio. Which probably explains why audio-only meeting platforms such as Clubhouse and Seventh Ave are becoming popular.
- Attendance: Are you able to make it and be on time? Will the prior meeting run over? Do you have other priorities or deadlines? If so, request organizer to reschedule. Also, if the meeting is not relevant to you, decline or request to be excluded.
- Pay attention: Adopt a “pens down” or should I say “hands off keyboard” approach. No matter what we think – it has been proven that human brain cannot multitask. It doesn’t help if we sit through meetings and miss out on critical discussion points.
- Speak up: If a question comes to mind or something is not clear, you may not be the only one. Take the initiative – ask the question or request clarification. If you do not wish to disrupt the flow, post it in Meeting Chat or Q&A.
- Provide feedback: It is important for the hosts or organizers to know if their meetings are effective. Good organizers typically welcome feedback and might I say some constructive criticism too. Everyone will thank you for any positive changes you introduce.
I rarely post here but thanks to Scott Olster, this may be the first of many. Our meetings too could be better – I am always looking to learn and improve. Would love to hear from you – your comments, questions and feedback are welcome.