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smart meetings

What Is The Right Way To Start A Meeting?

right way to start a meeting

Calls for a workplace meeting are often met with a level of murmuring and groaning rather than a “Heck yeah! Let’s do this!” While meetings often bring the best ideas to light, According to a study done by Verizon Conferencing, most heavy meeting goers have at one time or the other attended dysfunctional meetings.

Consequently, 90% of them admit to missing bits of the meeting or daydreaming when in a meeting due to flawed meeting behavior. At least 70% of them admit to bringing other tasks to these gatherings while 40% of them simply go off to the land of nod. Most meetings start very unsoundly, setting a wrong tone for the remainder of the event. Here’s the most right way to start a meeting:

Informing participants of the meeting’s purpose and outcome

Informing meeting participants

Circulate your meeting’s agenda to all participants beforehand via Aira. Aira is an AI meeting assistant that makes meeting notes and shares them with all meeting members. She is an artificial intelligence technology powered tool that can share your meeting’s agenda and past minutes before and after the meeting.

At the beginning of a meeting, your participants have two major concerns in their minds. They will want to understand right off the bat why they are in attendance and why they should care about the meeting’s agenda. Most guides will tell you that the best way to start your meeting is by reviewing your agenda, then heading straight to the agenda’s topics.

This process has its benefits but it will not highlight the benefits of the meeting. It will also not bring to light the reasons why they should count the meeting as of any importance to them. To capture the member’s attention from the word go, and also set your conference up for success, give them the answers to these two questions first.

With Aira by your side, you should, therefore, start your meeting by informing the associates of the purpose and the outcome that they should expect. You can, for instance, start with words such as “At the end of this meeting, you will all walk away with…” You can alternatively kick off the meeting with a “the intention of this meeting is…” Such words will get everyone on the same page and ensure that your meeting is a success.


Empower the meeting participants

empower meeting participants

When it comes down to it, most employees do not know how to behave in a meeting. Some want to look less weird and normal while others are intimidated by the thought of conversing with the person sitting across the table.

There are also lots of silly rules out there that may hinder the participant’s ability to collaborate with others and to display their value. Meetings provide fantastic opportunities for workers to show leadership and problem-solving skills. You should, therefore, start the meeting by shattering the ceiling of unnecessary interpersonal dynamics and secret corporate etiquette.

Get rid of all veiled social rules and the pressure to perform that makes the members edgy and panicky. Empower the delegates and allow them to understand the power that they have in a meeting room. Give them the authority over their contributions by ensuring that they do understand the level of engagement expected from them.

Empowered partners will be open to discussions and participation. Start your meeting by voicing an empowering statement like” you are our select team, chosen to vet our marketing process because you have a deep understanding of our strengths and weaknesses”.

A study done by MIT research says that the collective intelligence of a team is determined by the equal participation capacity of its members.


Restate your meeting’s ground rules

meeting's ground rules

Every business has as part of its cultures, directives that dictate how its meetings flow. Encouraging engagement is a great way to start a meeting, but you should state the boundaries as well. It is important however not to overdo the law setting at the commencement of your meeting.

You can incorporate this feature by picking one salient to the discourse at hand. As an illustration, you can ward off passive aggression by reinstating that all challenges should be addressed in the course of the meeting only and not before or after it. This will ensure more productivity and unity in collaboration.


Conclusion

If your powwow misses a strong start, its members will quickly get off track or zone out, so you must know the right way to start a meeting. If, you don’t want to chair a disorganized meeting avoid casting shadows by creating the wrong idea about your meeting. Begin your meeting with a positive note to foster efficiency. You can break the ice with a story, poignant quote, or interesting statistic then rope them further using one of the tactics above. Use meeting tools such as Aira to analyze your meeting data to ensure that optimization fosters high engagement.

The Top 10 Common Types of Business Meetings

business meetings

Business meetings often get a bad rap in the workplace despite the many benefits that they bring to a business. The reason why most meetings suck is that they are not productive at all. Most office employees deem them as boring displays of office power and politics.

There are however very many benefits of a well-run meeting. The meeting can be an effective leadership tool that strengthens relationships and enhance decision-making. Most meetings are only terrible because they are poorly organized. As an illustration, you cannot invite 20 employees for a small one on one meeting. It will be absolute chaos. This is the reason why the first step towards meeting productivity is an apt description of your meeting.

You can also make meetings more productive via technology. Artificial intelligence-based meeting companions like Aira can, for instance, write your meetings notes to ensure that all team members only show up and stay focused on problem-solving and collaboration.

Aira will dial into any meeting, highlight its action points, and share notes with all meeting members. Below are some common meeting formats in the workplace, which are very beneficial to a business as long as they are well organized and productive.


Team cadence meetings

Team cadence meetings

Team cadence meetings are held for performance reviews, and to energize a team’s connections. They can additionally assist an organization in the process of refining its business approach. This meeting will always have a fixed group of people and may occasionally have an occasional guest.

Team cadence meetings are therefore quite predictable and regular following a predictable design. Each cadence meeting often resembles the last one held and every team member knows what to expect before the meeting commences.

Consequently, a team cadence meeting does not require too much planning or extensive meeting facilitation procedures. Some examples of team cadence meetings include;

1. Weekly team meeting

Weekly meetings are a form of the business meeting whose schedule runs every week and at a designated time. The weekly meeting is vital because it will address any roadblocks, action items, or questions that may affect the next week’s business goals. Weekly meetings will run for 60 to 90 minutes tops.

2. The shift-change meeting

Shift-change or shift handover meetings are five to fifteen minutes long and are often held on a daily basis. They take place between the incoming staff and a tired group of employees eager to take a break.

The incoming staff has a very small window of time to engage with the other team, so this meeting requires an enforced meeting time and a lot of focus.

3. The Daily Huddle

The daily huddle is a five to fifteen minutes long meeting also known as a daily scrum or stands up. This short meeting occurs on a daily basis and its purpose is to inform and align the team on the day’s tasks.

4. Monthly meeting

The monthly management meeting can be a full or half-day affair that involves the business’s frontline, middle, and senior managers. The purpose of the monthly meeting is to ensure that all leaders take the time off to collaborate and learn from each other while addressing some larger business challenges.


Progress checks

Progress checks

Progress checks are held to nurture mutual accountability and project momentum. These structured business meetings will be led by an account or project manager to reassure or inform the employees that all business objectives are on track. Some of the most common progress checks at the workplace include;

5. The project’s status business meeting

Project status meeting members should be adequately prepared for the meeting beforehand to ensure productivity. All data should be collected in advance so that all questions can have answers. This meeting needs predefined objectives.

6. The client check-in

Client check-in meetings help businesses to enhance their relationships and partnerships with their customers. They should are meant to build trust by reassuring your clients that all partnerships are running smoothly. The meeting leader should have all the reports and metrics required at hand to demonstrate the value of their company to the client.


One on ones

One on ones meeting

One on one meetings are geared towards personal and career development. They also nurture relationship maintenance and individual accountability. Some good examples of one on one meeting include;

7. Manager and employee one-on-one

This meeting will have two parties with a familiar work relationship. They are very conversational but address a specific topic.

8. Mentorship meetings

Mentorship meetings are not as rigid as progress checks or team cadence meetings. They are held for education purposes and to help nurture talent in the business.


Action review meetings

Action review meetings

These are held to develop business confidence and to gain insight into business development objectives. Action review business meetings can help generate recommendations for change. Some of the most commonly held action review meetings include;

9. Agile retro perspectives

The meetings are time-boxed and have a very strict agenda. Through them, teams can develop and solve any challenges and are often by a team member. They are highly engaging and very professional.

10. Win/loss sales review meetings

These are very ritualistic business meetings and are a continuous learning tool. They are more forgiving towards surprises and often build very strong teams.


Conclusion

Governance cadence, conflict resolution, idea generation, planning, problem-solving, and workshops are other common business meetings that you can hold to enhance business growth. Ensure that they are properly planned and take advantage of meeting tools to enhance their productivity.

Top 10 Effective Tricks to Transform Your Normal Meetings Into Smart Meetings

smart meetings

Long before the onset of the ongoing global pandemic, dispersed teams were slowly becoming common in the workplace. The online meeting in the age of the pandemic is now a staple. Unfortunately, some of these virtual meetings are more unproductive than their traditional meeting counterparts.

Collaboration has a great advantage in the workplace, but it is not an easily achievable attribute amongst dispersed teams and their virtual meetings. The speedy chat by the water cooler has evolved into 30-minute video meeting on an online meeting platform.

Work hours have been lost to awkward video chats with data showing a massive increase in the use of virtual meeting tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. By the end of March, Microsoft teams had accumulated over  2.7 billion minutes of use while Zoom downloads had blown up by 1330%

It is not unusual to have these gawky meetings go out of hand as familiar sounds of “your screen was frozen for a minute, kindly repeat your point” or “kindly turn on your mic” bring the meeting to a standstill.

Zoom fatigue has now become a new phenomenon, eating away at dispersed team’s sanity and ensuring the meeting productivity stays at an all-time low. Did you know that once distracted, the human brain requires 23 minutes to get its focus mojo back? This data point is a good explanation of why the 30-minute online meeting is often extremely unproductive. 


Why you need to have smart meetings

There are nevertheless many advantages to online meetings amongst dispersed teams. When workers in diverse locations, separated by time and space collaborate, they can develop products, services, and information faster, cheaply, and more efficiently.

By distributing employees, businesses become more agile in production and customer requests management. The virtual collaboration will also enhance key stakeholder involvement in a business’s decisions and work processes.

When smart meetings become a norm, both the employee and stakeholder will experience more satisfaction and an improvement in the quality of work.


Ten of the best tips on how to hold smart meetings

1. Have a meeting facilitator

AIRA

Most normal meetings are not collaborative because most professionals do not have basic meeting management information. In a physical meeting room, however, this shortcoming is surmountable. The meeting’s members will fumble, stumble, and will eventually make the meeting work.

An online meeting is less forgiving. When you have a variety of professionals in diverse time zones and geographies, a few hitches can throw the whole meeting into disarray. You can put an end to awkward silences and sudden bursts of speech with a meeting facilitator.

The facilitator will put an end to the free-for-all environment, ending discussions that hijack and that throw the agenda out of the window. The smart meeting facilitator will develop the meeting’s agenda and ensure that every member has an opportunity to contribute.

They will keep every participant from going off-topic and ensure that all meeting notes are taken, shared, and followed up after the meeting. Aira is a virtual meeting assistant that intelligently takes meeting notes and shares them with meeting participants.

She will turn your normal meetings into smart meetings via her state of the art machine learning and artificial intelligence technology. This virtual meeting assistant will join your online meetings, transcribe the meeting’s dialogue, and highlights the action points discussed.

With Aira at hand, your human facilitator can enjoy sharing and solving problems with other team members. They will not spend their meeting moments on minute writing tasks. Aira integrates with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier, to ensure easy access to meeting documents and analytics.

2. Use participant’s names

Participants

According to research done by Wil Schuz, when individuals gather to collaborate they need to feel in control. They also require openness and inclusion. These three needs can be naturally meet in a physical meeting but are harder to meet in a virtual meeting.

The need for inclusion for instance can be met by ensuring that all participants are called by their names. This smart meetings feature will cut down on the fear of being marginalized or ignored. Most online meeting members join meetings with the sneaky suspicion that no one recognizes or knows that they are present.

Use names to foster the feeling of inclusion. Online meeting tools like Zoom will display names automatically during meetings.

3. Poll the participants

Virtual meetings could have cross-cultural elements opening up a wide door for cultural challenges. There also virtual meetings that are held across international airwaves, bringing about language and time differences to the already challenging virtual meeting mix.

Virtual work also has many personal challenges. Humans assimilate 65% of communication via their eyes by translating a speaker’s body language. Non-verbal communication helps to foster a sense of team and trust.

Most online meetings kill most non-verbal communication cues, which encourages a breakdown in the interpretation of dialogue. You can meet the meeting member’s need for inclusion by polling the group. The meeting facilitator can ensure that they speak to each person in the virtual room and ask them whether they have ideas to share or whether they agree to the agreement at the table.

Since the virtual space lacks visual cues, the facilitator needs to cue in members when it is their time to speak. Polling every person in the room will increase the feeling of control and inclusion and cut down on boredom and dozing members.

Use smart tools such as Lean Coffee Table that allow members to vote and suggest on the ongoing discussions. The tool will enhance inclusion, and enhance feelings of influence, competency, and control.

4. Timebox your meetings

Most meetings are too long, a disastrous mistake when it comes to virtual meetings. You need to schedule a meeting time and use it accordingly. Do not extend your meeting time. Try whittling down the time until you have the perfect time schedule fit.

Timeboxing helps in dedicating blocks of time to a specific meeting agenda and topic. This practice keeps the meeting productive, meeting all goals laid. Use smart time management tools such as TickTick Premium to time box your meeting’s schedule.

5. Lay down meeting rules then optimize them

meeting rules

There are many conflicting online meeting facts out there. Some say that members should mute their microphones to reduce distraction. Others say that the use of video enhances concentration, preventing distractions such as selfies or multi-tasking. 

Rules are necessary for group management but you will not know how effective they are until you test them. Smart tools such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, can help you test, analyze, and optimize your meeting rules.

6. Use virtual whiteboards

You can create a common visual focus to increase participation. The visual documentation of ideas will increase participation and collaboration. Visual focus can be enhanced via screen projections or virtual whiteboards. WebEx has a smart whiteboard feature that allows its users to sketch their feelings or ideas on it.

7. Allow members to chat

Short online meetings have very little time to spare for adequate inclusion procedures. Tools such as GroupMe helps dispersed teams to chat among themselves on the go. It has a video, picture, and emoji feature as well as location sharing.

8. Have a technology guru at hand

Many businesses are grappling with the implementation of an effective virtual workplace. These companies are holding meetings without a plan in the hope that they will reap the benefits and opportunities of collaboration.

Unfortunately, all that they are gleaning are the pitfalls of unproductive meetings. The online meeting is very dependent on technology. Most employees on the other hand lack the technological know-how required to operate these virtual tools.

 Since few users understand how to make the best use of these tools, the technology will ‘go down’ when it is needed the most. It pays to have a technology guru to handle your distracting technology glitches and reduce delays.

9. Inspire joy!

inspire joy

There is never a dull meeting in smart meetings. Eliminate any boredom by marking events to enhance satisfaction amongst participants. Some businesses will for instance call for a virtual candle lighting session to inspire joy and contemplation.

Since online meetings do not have organic socialization, encourage non-work activity, and catch up sessions after the meeting. Let them introduce their babies or fur babies or sing Baby Shark. They can utilize GroupMe to enhance direct messaging and coordinate private chats across diverse device platforms.

10. Make the meeting proceedings actionable

Use tools such as Aira to share meeting notes afterward and to ensure that all deliberations are followed up on. Aira will share your meeting notes and transcriptions via email to all team members. You can also upload your meeting documents to Google Drive to enhance real-time document sharing and collaboration.


Conclusion

Smart meetings are productive and enjoyable and are a formidable part of a business’s growth strategy. Use these tips above to create smart meetings that enhance collaboration, productivity, and feelings of inclusion amongst members.

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