This blog is part two of our Building Better Meetings blog series. To learn more about how organizations can host better meetings check out Part 1: 4 Types of Meetings to Avoid in 2022

When was the last time you walked away from a meeting feeling energized? In part one of our Better Meetings blog series, we discussed four types of meetings to leave behind in 2022, now we’re tackling ways to energize the meetings you keep. A good power meeting can be like a good power nap – get it right and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on new challenges. But a bad meeting can drain all your energy and leave you dragging for the rest of your day.

Feeling like you’ve wasted your time in a meeting that was too long, too big or just plain pointless is exhausting. With more time spent on calls than ever before – video usage is up over 350 percent since the beginning of the pandemic – it’s important to keep them short and sweet.

If it feels like an impossible task to optimize the time you spend on video or in conference rooms, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are ways to rethink your approach and create an atmosphere for more productive team get-togethers. As hybrid meetings become more popular, tools for unified communications (UC) and cloud technology are both invaluable and increasingly accessible.

Here are a few tips to power up your next meeting:

Keep it quick. 

Nothing drains the life from a room like a meeting that’s gone on too long. Plan your agenda carefully and make sure to respect everyone’s time. Nobody wants to be hanging around on a lengthy call when they have other tasks to accomplish. 

Just like a power nap, twenty minutes or less keeps meetings manageable and productive, and they should be no longer than half an hour at the very most. If the project you’re discussing needs a longer conversation, don’t panic! It’s better to break things up into shorter meetings spaced over a few days so everyone can pause and come back refreshed. UC software with built-in project management lets you find the perfect time for that next call.

Focus on the topic. 

It may seem counterintuitive but sticking to a strict agenda can actually lead to the most creative ideas. Zeroing in on one or two topics in a short meeting allows for deeper dives and more collaboration between colleagues, allowing everyone to contribute and really get into a particular issue. 

If the conversation starts to wander, the leader should make a note of any follow-up discussions that need to happen and schedule a separate meeting for the new subject. 

Smaller is better. 

The smaller the meeting, the higher the participation rate and the greater the potential for innovation. It’s important that everyone on the call has the chance to be heard. The meeting should be limited to people who have something to contribute to the project at hand. If they don’t have anything to add to the discussion or have no direct actions to take away, they probably don’t need to be there.

Name a leader. 

Every meeting needs a fearless leader. They don’t necessarily have to be the highest-ranking member of the team, but they should have in-depth knowledge of the topic and be confident in their ability to keep the conversation on track. It’s their job to make sure the discussion follows the agenda, stays within the time limit and doesn’t go off the rails. 

A moderator can help make sure that everyone – whether in person or on video – feels like they have an opportunity to contribute to the project. They should also be tech-savvy enough to help with screen-sharing or mic-muting if need be. By managing all of this through a single UC app, the leader can make sure everyone is engaged and on the same page. 

Communication is key. 

Make sure all attendees can easily chime in with their thoughts. When it comes to hybrid meetings, someone who is calling in remotely should have the same experience as someone who is physically present in the office. 

Creating an inclusive environment helps everyone feel like a part of the team, and leads to even more productive, innovative discussions. Tools like high-quality video, in-app chat and dedicated collaborative spaces can make the meeting feel seamless and inclusive no matter where the participants happen to be.

Live in the cloud. 

No more scrambling because someone forgot the printouts or searching for the USB with the right presentation. So much of our work lives in the cloud, and it’s time to take your meetings there too. Cloud-based services mean that your employees always have access to the most updated software and that your data is continuously backed up and secure. 

And, just like meetings have gone hybrid, so has the cloud. Now there are several options for cloud services.

  • Public cloud: Hosted by third-party providers, this is a good option for small and medium businesses. You pay only for the storage you need and the services scale as you grow. 
  • Private cloud: Offers a higher level of security by providing you with a dedicated environment. Fully hosted solutions offer you full control while also giving you the flexibility to offer employees the same communications experience from anywhere and on any device. 
  • Hybrid (or “managed private”) cloud: A mixed storage solution that combines elements of the public and private cloud as well as traditional on-site servers. This offers you the ability to manage your data on your own terms and might be a stepping stone as you deploy a cloud system.

Choosing between public, private, and hybrid cloud platforms gives users the flexibility to match their services to their current needs as well as what they might want for the future. Make sure your meetings are never dragged down by outdated technology and migrate to the cloud model that works best for you. 

Is it time for an upgrade to your communications system? Take our short quiz to discover where you are on your digital transformation journey. >

Subscription offerings give organizations even more choices. 

For businesses who plan to extract further value from an on-premises solution or prefer to utilize on-premises systems, subscription licensing for on-premises solutions gives customers choice, flexibility, and the ability to scale their technology investments at their own pace—all without a large up-front capital investment.

Action, action, action. 

What’s the ultimate goal of your meeting? It can’t just be a meeting for meeting’s sake. It’s important to go into each call with a clear sense of what everyone involved needs to get out of it. 

As action items are identified during the conversation, they should be assigned to the appropriate participant. Wrap up the meeting with a review of the next steps, including who is responsible and what the metrics for achievement are.

Follow up and follow through. 

So you’ve had a successful meeting with creative discussion, innovative thinking and clear, actionable goals. Congratulations! Capitalize on that momentum by following up within a day with a quick email to the participants. Briefly summarize the agenda, the action items identified and what everyone needs to do next. 

If needed, schedule any follow-up meetings for the topics that were tabled. Allow the conversation to continue over email or chat so the ideas can continue to flow. Using native project management solutions within your unified communications software means that you can easily begin assigning to-do’s and designing next steps while everything is still fresh in everyone’s minds.

Power (meeting) on. 

This may seem like a lot to keep in mind, but the secret to a successful power meeting is simple: keep it short, keep it small, keep it focused and keep it actionable. Just like a power nap, you’ve got to get up and take advantage of that renewed energy.

Using top-rated cloud-based collaboration tools help make the most of your time and helps make everyone feel like they’re a part of something exciting. Keep your meetings from being a dreaded snooze and turn them into refreshing opportunities for innovation with these tips.

Thinking about planning a move to the cloud? Here’s what you need to know to prepare. >

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