Are Your Business Meetings Effective?
Over the last several weeks, we’ve written about how people dread meetings and offered tips on making them successful. A lot of our advice is common sense – plan and stick to an agenda, don’t allow conversation to wander, be sure everyone participates and use effective meeting technology like ShoreTel Connect.
But what is it that makes a meeting effective? Is it simply getting through the agenda on-time? Having everyone leave with an assignment they understand? The answer is a little more complicated than that, and the more we thought about it, the more we realized the key to an effective business meeting is – engagement.
Consider the fact that executives label 67% of the meetings they attend as failures. According to author Rick Gilbert, who’s studied the issue, their reasons range from lack of preparation to a chip on somebody’s shoulder. To Gilbert, the keys to ensuring a successful meeting are to keep your energy up and do your homework on the other participants – what are their agendas, their concerns, their hot buttons?
The Turning Point
Those are good points, but you need to go further if you want your meeting to be effective. By “effective,” we mean that the discussion hasn’t only informed people in a timely and professional manner, but given them a certain enthusiasm about the follow up tasks they’re taking on. An effective meeting is a turning point of sorts: Participants depart with information they can use and a clear sense of what comes next.
For that to happen, everyone must be fully engaged in the discussion, participating without the distractions of side conversations, emails or technical glitches that muddy the waters for those who attend virtually. Indeed, the meeting’s leader must pay special attention to remote participants to make sure they’re not talked over by people in the room, and don’t use their distance as an excuse to stay quiet.
ShoreTel Connect helps accomplish all this by allowing participants to click into a meeting from their desktop, tablet or smartphone, removing barriers to making their voices heard and reinforcing their importance to the team. The simplicity with which they connect – they only need to click on a link – combined with Connect’s ability to share desktops, co-browse the Web and shift control of the meeting enables you to engage whoever, whenever and wherever you want, in a way that’s both dynamic and hassle-free.
As the workforce becomes increasingly distributed, with more employees working in different locations or calling into meetings during business trips, the need for simple technical tools that allow everyone to participate with equal effectiveness grows in importance. With ShoreTel Connect, taking part in meetings virtually becomes routine and remote team members get access to the same types of capabilities for information sharing as are enjoyed by those who are physically present. Who’s connecting remotely and who’s sitting at the conference table becomes less important, and meetings become more effective because everyone fully participates, wherever they happen to be.
ShoreTel is hosting a fun challenge that will identify your business meeting style. Take the ShoreTel Business Meeting Challenge to find out if you’re a Meeting Maverick, Meeting Multitasker, or Meeting Maximizer.