Remember the days where you’d walk into a boardroom for a business meeting, notepad in hand, and wait for it to be over?
Believe it or not, those meetings weren’t all that long ago. But over the past few years, how business meetings are conducted has shifted considerably. Add in COVID-19 work-from-home policies, how business communication is conducted is nothing like it used to be.
This is a great thing, but it can also be challenging to keep up with the necessities of all attendees. How can we get the most out of the precious time that is spent around the (virtual) boardroom table?
In order to move forward in our mostly digital corporate world, companies need to shift towards modern business meeting strategies.
Here are 6 ways organizations can ensure business meetings are not just modernized, but accessible and productive for everyone involved.
1. Embrace hybrid meetings with the right meeting platform
Prior to March of 2020, virtual work was mostly relegated to freelancers and the occasional executive with capabilities to work remotely. This work model was nowhere near as popular as it is now, which is why a lot of modern business meeting technology didn’t really emphasize remote meetings, let alone hybrid meetings.
But now that some remote workers are shuffling back into the office, not all workers want this–or are able to. And a lot of companies are realizing that work flexibility is now the norm.
This includes hybrid meetings–meetings where participants join remotely or from the office. Orchestrating these meetings can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to technology.
Here are a few software solutions that can help with hybrid meetings.
Zoom is one of the most ubiquitous virtual meeting software platforms available, and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has skyrocketed in popularity.
Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing service that allows businesses to work remotely, and comes with a variety of services. Some of those services include video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars. It’s also available on multiple platforms, desk and mobile.
Pros of Zoom:
- Supports a large number of meeting participants (upwards to 500 on a subscription).
- Supports meeting breakout rooms
- A free version is available for smaller businesses
- Integratable with Google Calendar
- It’s scalable as your company grows
Cons of Zoom:
- Lacks comment control features
- HD and 4K video is not supported
- Inconsistent cloud file sizes
Microsoft Teams is part of the Microsoft products suite. Teams is fully integratable with all Microsoft software, making productivity smoother across functions and platforms.
Microsoft Teams works similarly to Zoom, except there are a few more functions. With Teams, there’s a live chat function outside of meetings, file sharing, and scheduling.
Pros of Microsoft Teams:
- Offers the ability to focus conversation topics into channels, mostly eliminating the need for copious emails.
- A single location for all workflows which increases productivity
- Easy to implement
- Increased transparency through chat and channel functions
Cons of Microsoft Teams:
- Virtual meeting experience isn’t optimal as some features aren’t quite as intuitive as some other software
- Some challenges regarding permission settings that prohibit more granular permissions
Google Meet is a video conferencing software developed by Google. The biggest draw to Google Meet is in its ability to seamlessly integrate with the entire G Suite of services, making real-time remote collaboration a lot easier.
Pros of Google Meet:
- No application download necessary
- Secure by default, eliminating the need to take additional measures to ensure meeting security.
- All data is encrypted
Cons of Google Meet:
- Participants need to have a Gmail account to access
- Doesn’t integrate with any third-party tools
- No built-in whiteboard feature.
- Screen sharing is limited to one participant
Webex is a robust conferencing tool that works across a variety of platforms. One of the features Cisco, the developer of Webex, has emphasized is its ability to allow participants to join meetings on-the-go.
Pros of Webex:
- Content is easily shareable during meetings
- Creates a unique link for every meeting, making it difficult to share confidential data.
Cons of Webex:
- Comment and chat control is weak
- Website version is weaker than the application
- For full features, users need to download extra software in an app form.
2. Choose a team collaboration tool
Business meetings aren’t stagnant events anymore – they’re collaborative conversations that happen with the purpose of idea generation, important updates, check-ins, and preparing actionable plans.
It stands to reason that simply “showing up” isn’t going to cut it. Participants need the ability to be involved in a more dynamic way, regardless of where they’re working from.
Cloud-based collaboration tools help meeting participants work in a productive and democratic way. Here are a few real-time cloud-based collaboration tools that can help modernize business meetings.
Airtable is a hybrid collaboration tool that uses both a database model and a spreadsheet model to help users work remotely and in real-time. The idea with Airtable is that it takes workflow systems and creates a visual interface that can be easily shifted as needed. This idea can work well in conjunction with business meetings.
Google Drive is one of those cloud-based softwares that has become mainstream across a multitude of industries and occupations. It supports Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, among others.
The draw that G Suite has, particularly for hybrid business meetings, is the ability for multiple people to view, comment, edit, and share documents in real-time from anywhere.
ClickUp is a combination of many workflow systems into one cloud software. It allows for task management, chat features and tagging, document upload, and notetaking. The philosophy behind ClickUp is the ability to centralize all work systems and data into one management platform that is dynamic and scalable.
Because it’s cloud-based, users can use ClickUp during hybrid business meetings, the result of which will be instantly accessible by all other users.
3. Take accessibility seriously
One of the most important considerations when trying to modernize business meetings is accessibility. Many employees live with physical, neurological, or mental disabilities, and creating business meetings that every colleague or client can benefit from helps not just the individual, but the entire organization.
Some things to consider are:
- For larger meetings, ensure virtual breakout rooms are available for questions and clarification.
- Use a whiteboard or visual system when explaining complex workflows or ideas.
- Always choose a video conferencing solution that offers closed captions.
- Consider programs that create transcripts of meetings that can be accessed by all attendees.
4. Use an online whiteboard
If business meetings run a bit on the large side, it can be difficult to capture all opinions and suggestions in a hybrid format.
Particularly for more complex issues, mapping out key ideas, or simply to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page, is where a virtual whiteboard can be an asset.
Virtual whiteboards are basically what they sound like: a whiteboard where brainstorming, mapping, etc., can happen, but in a virtual setting.
Some popular virtual whiteboard programs are:
5. Design hybrid meetings with breakout room options
While this overlaps with features to look for in a video conferencing solution, it bears mentioning on its own.
Making sure hybrid meetings have the option of breakout rooms can make running larger, more complex meetings that much easier. Particularly if meetings cover different keypoint of projects, or even for seminars and workshops, virtual breakout rooms should remain an essential feature of business meetings.
Video conferencing solutions such as Zoom offer virtual breakout rooms. An additional bonus is a solution that offers timed breakout rooms.
6. Consider AI for recordings, transcriptions and insights
Modernizing business meetings means making them meaningful for everyone. Modern business meetings go beyond the “one speaker” dynamic. They’re far more collaborative, including multiple thoughts and ideas, regardless of where your colleagues and clients are attending from.
Some features you may want to consider are:
Live audio transcription and summaries
Do away with antiquated note-taking and summarizing. Not only is it inefficient, a notetaker may not capture all the crucial information and ideas that happen organically in a collaborative business meeting. AI generated meeting summaries also means less colleagues need to attend these meetings.
AI-extracted key themes and topics
Business meetings previously used to require some sort of post-mortem or plans of action–after the meeting. That’s just inefficient and unproductive.
AI programs, like Charli, are available that can not only create meeting summaries for you, but use a human-like algorithm to extract keywords, phrases, and crucial themes and ideas. These are the points that are essential for continued business success.
AI that can create action items
A key factor in business meetings is creating a plan of action. The problem with this is that human error can occur. Miscommunication can cause critical tasks to get left behind and assumptions between colleagues means lost time, productivity, and motivation.
Using an AI program that takes the meeting summary and creates actionable plans will help to eliminate those errors, particularly in hybrid meetings. Look for programs that are integratable with your preferred workflow system–such as Slack, Monday.com, or Asana.
Setting up organizations for the future
The way companies operate is vastly different than it was even a few years ago. And while meetings will always play a critical role in business growth, there are simple yet effective ways to ensure your entire team is on the same page, regardless of where they work.
AI content management solutions can take care of most of those tasks that otherwise create workflow bottlenecks and inefficiencies. That’s where Charli can help.Speak with our sales team today to learn more about Charli AI Meetings, and how they can be an integral part of your modern business meetings solution.