How Many Meetings Is Too Many Meetings? Tips for More Productive Meetings

 

more productive meetingsAmerican companies are not alone when comes to solving the enigma that is a productive meeting. In Europe, companies lost $41 billion (or $26 billion pounds) in 2011 through wasted time in meetings. When you do have meetings, studies have shown, that more than half of your employees will take the meetings as an excuse to daydream.

Meetings last too long and happen too often. Meetings equal time and money, so when you have them, here are some tips on making them count: 

Consider Email Instead

How many times have you left a meeting with the thought, "You could've just emailed us that"? Too often meetings are a chance for executives to pass along one-way information. If you find yourself calling a meeting just to share new office creed or report incremental numbers, consider writing a memo to your staff instead. Your employees don't want to spend 30 minutes in a meeting becoming privy to one-way information when you could have told them the same information in a concise, bulleted email instead. 

Tighten Your Invite List

If you're not sure what someone's role would be in a meeting other than to sit and listen, scratch them off the RSVP list. Only invite those who are absolutely needed in the meeting. Department heads can always pass along pertinent notes from meetings to their staff. 

Take Notes

Someone should always be taking notes in your meetings. For example, after a meeting, send out a succinct memo within the hour recapping the major points and how to move forward post-meeting. The more time people have away from the content of the meeting, the more time they have to forget it. 

Keep It Short

Say your quarterly report just came in, and you're about to call a meeting with your staff to go over it. Before you send out an email scheduling a half-hour meeting, share an agenda with actual results from the report, so your staff will know what they're walking into. A simple email with an executive summary of whatever findings your meeting will entail allows your staff to come prepared and focused. A more focused staff will lead to a more focused meeting, which always leads to shorter meetings. 

Make Them Collaborative 

Meetings should be collaborative, meaning they should focus on input from the appropriate departments or managers. When you call a meeting, make sure the people involved know what their role will be and what will be expected of them, even if they are participating via audio or video conference. Your meetings should have a clear agenda and problem to solve. Consider meetings as a live call to action. Prepare your staff with the appropriate information before the meeting, so they are ready with ideas on how to tackle a problem when the meeting begins.

The more collaborative a meeting is, the less time someone has to day dream.

Crystal-Clear Audio

At Hope Partnership, we use Ready Talk for our committee and board member meetings. It provides members who are not able to attend meetings for various reasons to still be a part of the conversation.  We also use it for full committee meetings especially when gathering a group is difficult.  We  use the audio conferencing services and we find it to work very well for us.  Everytime the conversation is crystal clear. Connecting via Ready Talk is so easy for us and for all those calling in.

Barbara Quaintance, Hope Partnership for Education

10 Tips for Live Tweeting Webinars


twitter logoIt’s become so common for Twitter users to report live events through their tweets that there’s now a phrase for it—‘live tweeting’. Companies have also started live-tweeting webinars and other events in order to give followers a taste of what’s going on and to entice them into signing up for the next event. Here’s how to live tweet a webinar in a way that will have people lining up to attend the next one:

  1. Advertise beforehand. Just as the actual webinar will be promoted in the days leading up to it, the live tweeting of it should also be advertised prior to the event. Post a few tweets explaining what's going to be happening and include the date and time.
  2. Ask for retweets. Don’t be afraid to directly ask influential followers to spread the word about the upcoming web event and tweeting session.
  3. Count down. On the day, whip up excitement by counting down to the start time. Every few hours, tweet something like, “just x hours until we’re tweeting live from today’s webinar!”
  4. Tell attendees about the tweeting. At the start of the webinar, the presenter should announce that the company has a Twitter account and will be live-tweeting the session. Attendees can then follow along with the tweets while also participating in the event itself.
  5. Ask questions. Don’t just tweet the content of the webinar verbatim; ask open questions based on the content in order to create a multi-way discussion that followers can get involved in.
  6. Invite questions. Most public audio conferences include Q&A sessions, as this is a great way of engaging an audience. Ask attendees and non-attendees alike to tweet their questions to whoever is live tweeting. This tweeter can then submit the questions just as an attendee normally would.
  7. Use a hashtag. Create a hashtag that conveys what the webinar is about and tag all live tweets with it. Ask people to use the hashtag when answering questions, asking questions or just generally tweeting about the webinar.
  8. Use ‘you’ and ‘your’ a lot. People like responding to any tweet that includes 2nd person pronouns, as it’s clear that the tweeter is talking to them rather than just broadcasting.
  9. Retweet all appropriate replies. If people do bother to reply to the live tweets, show appreciation by retweeting their comments.
  10. Tweet attendees afterwards. The tweeting doesn’t have to be over just because the event is. Get hold of the attendee list, look up each name on Twitter and tweet anyone you find to thank them for their attendance and to tell them about any upcoming events they might be interested in.


Start using these strategies and it won’t be long until followers start signing up for webinars simply because of what they’ve seen on Twitter.

We'd love to hear how your organization is promoting webinars via Twitter. Share with us @ReadyTalk or in the comments below.

Solution-Soft shares why ReadyTalk is their solution for audio and web conferencing

Today's guest post comes from Michael Morrison, director business development and marketing, at Solution-Soft. Solution-Soft is a leader in date and time testing tools as well as data storage and fil transfer. Micahel has been a ReadyTalk customer since 2008 and today he shares his experience with ReadyTalk's audio and web conferencing services.
 
At Solution-Soft, we use ReadyTalk for many of our web and phone conferencing needs. We use it for a number of reasons but the greatest is that our standard POTS system only allows us to connect two incoming or outgoing lines at a time from one phone set. We really value the the Meeting Recording. This option is useful for replaying a call if someone wasn’t able to make a meeting to catch-up on what transpired. 
 
We also use ReadyTalk for customer support. It's easy for us to start a meeting and have a customer join. From there, the customer can give us control of their machine. It allows us to easily help customers to setup/configure our software as if we were in the same room. A number of our customers use other web conferencing tools from other companies. We've found that these are not as easy to use or have defects that impact web sharing.  Several times we’ve had meetings start on these other platforms and had to migrate the meetings to a ReadyTalk conference rather than try and debug the issue with the other tool.

We are more than happy with the reliability and breadth of features ReadyTalk provides us. 

 

Do you have want to share your experiences with ReadyTalk's audio and web conferencing services? Send your comments to: liag766phut@compend.me. 

 

 

Web Conferencing Services Make Collaboration Easy

 

web conferencing services make collaboration easyMeetings are meant to be opportunities for people to come together and work collaboratively, but they aren’t always so productive. This is often due to a lack of accessibility, communication, engagement or all of the above. Web conferencing services are the ideal solution to these issues. Here are a few reasons why:

Everyone Can Join

Virtual workforces are all well and good, but it's hard to get a team together in one meeting room if that team includes remote workers who live on the other side of the world. Web conferencing provides a virtual meeting room that anyone can access, whether they're in California or Cambodia. Telecommuters can now easily collaborate with their office-based co-workers as well as with one another.

Present Content Visually

Sharing content, such as PowerPoint and online applications, complement meetings by adding visual stimulation  and helping to elucit ideas more so than just an audio conference. In the past, presenting a slideshow meant using a projector and transparencies. This is costly and time-consuming, not to mention no good to anyone who can’t see the slides. With web conferencing, the chairperson can instead upload a PowerPoint presentation that will be displayed on everyone’s computer screens. There's no need to print anything out and no one has to crane their neck to see. What's more, the slide deck can be downloaded and viewed again after the meeting.

Recorded Meetings

It's not only the slides that can be accessed after the event. The entire meeting, including both audio and visuals, can be recorded and then played back. Unlike with meeting notes and minutes, people can see the visual content and can also hear exactly what everyone said, instead of having to read it second hand. The recording can even be edited, making it possible to remove moments dominated by background noise, audio feedback or any other unnecessary interruptions. Recordings are obviously ideal for anyone who missed the live meeting, but it's also useful for those who were in attendance to look back on what happened, exactly as it happened.

Variety of Engagement Tools

Conferencing services feature many other tools with which to engage the audience. Chat functions allow the chair to broadcast housekeeping messages to attendees and allow attendees to submit questions and suggestions to the chair. Polling features mean participants can vote on motions or give feedback with just a couple of clicks. Audiences are typically more engaged when there is a variety of voices talking to them rather than just one, so any tools for appointing co-presenters are also worth checking out.

With its facilitation of remote collaboration, digital slide deck presentations, recordings and edits and instant audience feedback, web conferencing is the future of business meetings. Holding productive, collaborative meetings has never been so easy.