4 Key Rules for Better Meetings

We’ve all attended meetings that have lasted twice as long as scheduled, didn’t stay on track, or lacked focus and efficiency. In fact, over 50% of people see meeting time as unproductive, but no one’s doing anything to fix it or change it.  If this is a common occurrence for your team, it’s time to make some changes.

4 Key Rules for Better MeetingsPart of the problem is no one is policing the situation or stopping the bleeding when a meeting has clearly gone off track and isn’t productive anymore. Without some established rules or guidelines, the reality is nothing is going to change, which will continue to directly impact your organization’s productivity as a whole over time.

Instead letting meetings in your organization continue to be ineffective, consider incorporating these four key rules to encourage better meeting outcomes and results:

Rule #1: Limit attendance. The smaller the meeting, the better.

The old adage “too many cooks in the kitchen” holds true for meeting effectiveness. If you have too many people in the room, the likelihood of something getting done is slim to none. A good rule of thumb is Jeff Bezos’ two pizza rule: “Never have a meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group.”

Rule #2: Forbid electronic devices during meetings.

As the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge commercial states, “we’re a nation of checkers.” If attendees have a phone, laptop, or tablet in the room during the meetings, it’s almost a certainty they’ll check it. Unless someone is responsible for taking notes, then banning electronic devices during meetings is a good idea.

Rule #3: No meeting should be longer than what was scheduled.

If a meeting was scheduled for an hour, then keep it to an hour. If you can’t get what you need to get done in an hour, then book out more time. It’s important that attendees’ time is respected. Set the parameters for the meetings upfront and stick to it.

Rule #4: Every meeting should have a purpose and agenda.

It’s the rule everyone is familiar with, but it’s also the rule that’s broken most often. If you don’t have a plan or purpose for a meeting, there’s no point to meeting—end of story.

These rules may sound simple, but it can take time to enforce them and make them a habit for your organization. Start incorporating these into your daily meetings, and make it clear across the organization how important it is to have productive meetings.

Find out how effective your meetings are with this Infographic.

5 Key Features Your Collaboration Software Should Have

When you’re working remotely, it’s important to have collaboration tools that support different functions. Whether you’re hosting a remote conference call, making a sales pitch through an online screen sharing application, or having a video conferencing call with headquarters, there are certain features your collaboration tool should have so you can effectively…well, collaborate.

5 Key Features Your Collaboration Software Should HaveHere are five key features your collaboration tool should have:

1. Screen share and grant control functionality.

When you’re collaborating with other teams, departments, clients, or partners, it can be helpful to share your screen so everyone can see what you’re reviewing and stay on the same page. Furthermore, if someone else needs to share their screen or take over the presentation, then it’s helpful to have the ability to grant control to someone else.

2. One-click meeting recording.

Don’t want to forget important details from your meeting? Every good collaboration software should offer the ability for you to record audio conferences.

3. Audio and video components.

Audio conferences can be effective, but sometimes it helps to have a video conference. A good collaboration tool will give you the option of having an audio or video conference.

4. Annotation tools.

When you’re reviewing those documents while screen sharing, it can be exceptionally helpful to have editing tools so that you can update the documents in real time. Annotation tools are crucial to collaborating remotely.

5. Multiple monitors supported.

Sometimes, you’re going to need multiple monitors to see everything you need for a meeting. A good collaboration tool will support multiple monitors so you don’t have to switch back and forth.

Collaboration tools are essential for successful workplaces. When investing in those tools, make sure they have the features you need to be effective.

ReadyTalk is an audio and web conferencing software that makes it easy for teams to connect and collaborate wherever and whenever they want to. Request a 30-day free trial of ReadyTalk today.

ReadyTalk, my #GivingChampion

We here at ReadyTalk are devoted to giving our best to our clients, our teams, and our employees. Beyond fostering a culture of superior support and constant improvement, ReadyTalk does all that it can to spread its giving spirit far and wide.

 

So, how do we embrace this #GivingChampion culture of ours?

As ReadyTalk employees, we are encouraged to put our 20 hours of paid volunteer time and donation matching to good use. You read that right, I do get paid to volunteer for organizations that mean a great deal to me, and our Giving Committee will match my donations, how supportive/cool is that? (Yes, we are hiring).

We take full advantage of this awesome program, and the #GivingChampion energy around the office is both palpable and contagious. In 2015 alone, our employees and Giving Committee supported a combined 57 charities, and donated a total of almost $41,500! In the name of constant improvement, the good money is on us breaking these records in 2016.

While ReadyTalk is a #GivingChampion year-round, the holiday spirit adds an extra sprinkle of generosity to our endeavors. This month, we are donating gifts to 69 of the kids placed in the Denver Children’s Home, and participating in Colorado Gives Day to stretch our impact even further.

Hands in the mittens holding red heart

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

ReadyTalkers have supported a variety of charities, from Big Brothers Big Sisters to Habitat for Humanity. Personally, I spend most of my volunteering time working with Babywearing International of Denver/Front Range (BWI/DFR) – think baby backpacks, but safe and comfortable – and the Girl Scouts of Colorado.

Thanks to ReadyTalk being my #GivingChampion, I have be able to help grow BWI/DFR’s volunteer base, meeting availability, and student access to resources. When I need to hold a committee conference call, teach a class, or foster stakeholder relationships I know that I can do so without worry.

Beyond the financial support, ReadyTalk’s culture of giving transforms the act of volunteering – something that could easily be seen as a work place faux pas – into a rally cry. We celebrate and support one another’s efforts, and we always have to opportunity to embrace the generosity of the Giving Committee.

Every ReadyTalker is encouraged to request funds from the committee to support volunteer passion projects. Having been immersed in our giving culture for just under a year, I was a bit apprehensive to take full advantage of our giving programs (perhaps I had a touch of the “too good to be true” heebies jeebies). Suffice it to say, I was a bit taken aback by the support and encouragement that the company offers to us givers.

I guess I shouldn’t have been so shocked to receive a $500 grant to support BWI/DFR’s low-income, low-access student outreach initiatives. I mean, one of our Core Values is accountability. We do what we say we’ll do.

 

Who is Your #GivingChampion?

Fostering a culture that ensures that even the newest employees feel comfortable both taking their volunteer hours, and requesting additional financial support for their philanthropic projects is impressive, to say the least.

But we can always improve, and would love to hear how your organization acts as your #GivingChampion. How do they support and encourage your efforts? How is giving engrained in your culture? Do you and your colleagues volunteer together? Please share your thoughts below!

 

Blog Series: The Future of Work Experiment, Episode 6

Everything they say about New Zealand is true. The people are insanely friendly, the terrain is wild and diverse, and there are more sheep than humans. We had an incredible time touring the South Island and soaking up the sites and culture of that far flung land. Curiously we met more people from abroad who traveled to New Zealand and couldn’t bear to leave… I now see why that would be. Kiwi’s definitely live life on their own schedule – never in a rush and do things with a distinct New Zealand flair.

 

We arrived in Christchurch approximately 30 hours after taking off from Detroit, MI. Wasting no time, we immediately hopped in our rental car and braved the roads, careful to keep left. We chose to do the trip on the cheap and stayed mostly in Hostels during our roadtrip. Connectivity wasn’t terribly hard to come by – cafes, hostels, and even tour buses are now equipped with WiFi. Having said that – working definitely isn’t the first thing on people’s minds as they tramp around this remarkable land. Even with the popularity the Lord of the Rings movies brought – we found it to be refreshingly un-touristy. National Parks were nearly empty and development is next to none. It was certainly hard to focus with the non-stop access adrenaline filled activities like mountain biking, bungee jumping, helicopter rides, jet boat tours, and sky diving.

 

If you find yourself in New Zealand and need to stay plugged in I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it will be to fit that into your itinerary. Dozens of companies will rent you a reliable camper van with access to electricity and even portable WiFi in some cases. Interestingly, traveling by campervan is definitely the most popular way to get around for New Zealanders and visitors alike. WiFi is free in just about every major town. Spark, a major telecommunications provider, offers up to 1 gig of free wifi a day per user. Your biggest issue will be taking your eyes off the landscape long enough to stare at a computer screen. Taking this experiment overseas has been rewarding and proved that working from the road can truly be done from wherever you find yourself. All it takes is a desire, a little technology, and a reasonably reliable connection to the internet.

NZ1

Where is the most unusual place you’ve worked remotely?

How to Make Audio Conferences Successful

Audio conferencing is a great, hassle-free and cost-effective way to connect with clients and business partners—as long as it’s done right. However, not being able to see the person you are speaking with can cause the meeting to seem a lot less interesting compared to an in-person meeting.

How to Make Audio Conferences SuccessfulBut conference calls are here to stay. Instead of avoiding your next conference call, use these tips to host a successful audio conference:

Tip #1: Embrace the natural inflection of your voice when communicating.

Since people typically use body language to analyze emotion, it can be hard to detect what the other person is thinking on a conference call. Emphasize the natural inflection and emotion in your voice when communicating so the other person can gather context clues while you’re speaking.

Tip #2: Stay on topic and focus on decisions.

Many people can see conference calls as ineffective because they can easily get derailed. Focus on the topic at hand and clearly state decisions at the end of the call so you’re on the same page and you’ve identified the desired byproduct of the meeting.

Tip #3: Stand up while you’re speaking.

Sometimes, it helps to focus on the conversation at hand if you can walk around while you’re speaking on the conference call. Consider using a bluetooth so you have flexibility, and let your creative juices flow.

Tip #4: Invest in the right tools.

There are a couple of tools that can help you have a successful audio conference: a great microphone and a quality audio conferencing solution. Sound quality is imperative to successful audio conferencing, and it’s better to be focusing on what the person is saying instead of trying to hear what’s been said. These tools will guarantee success.

Conference calls don’t have to be agonizing. Want a quality audio conferencing solution that will make your conference calls even better? Try a free trial of ReadyTalk today.