If you are gainfully employed, it's likely that meetings are part of your life. And, no matter how much you protest, they're not going anywhere. Here in the Business Casual series, written in conjunction with the join.me crew, we covered your sweet work-from-home setup, and now we're going to address the dreaded phenomenon known as "meetings" and how to make the best of them. With a little help from Kenny Rogers.
Let's start with the positive. You know you're running or participating in a successful meeting when no one's falling asleep, distracted, or railroading the pre-distributed agenda. How does this happen? Well, a firm schedule and agenda will work wonders. Scheduling a meeting well in advance and not moving it a million times is also a good practice — it means that you respect your colleagues' time. Remote workers especially have to coordinate their meetings, flights, meals, etc. with conference calls, video meetings, and the like, and having to rearrange your entire schedule to accommodate a meeting diva is an exercise in frustration, which works against the warm, fuzzy, productive, feelings you want everyone on your team to have. Make it as easy as possible for everyone. Join.me facilitates meetings by offering online and mobile meeting participation with one click - all that's needed is a Wi-Fi connection. A good meeting is a good meeting — don't ruin it with superfluous topics, fluctuating end times, and the like.
Maybe, despite your best efforts, your points aren't getting across. Maybe your team is offering a large slab of silence as a response to your questions. Maybe they are getting sleepy (adult naptime is a real thing). You don't want your meeting to be a space in the day for people to space out. But if you witness visible signs of boredom or frustration (such as egregious foot-tapping, pen-tapping, furious typing, head-nodding, or eye-rolling), don't fight the natural end of a meeting. Call it, let everyone get back to their workday and follow up with a list of assignments. There's nothing productive about wrestling a meeting into submission just to say you won.
Ok, so you've managed to reach your meeting objectives, no one fell asleep, no one's hostile, and people have actually been participating — even the remote office folks using join.me. Yay! If you've covered all you need to, don't let the meeting linger just because you booked the conference room for an hour. If you stay, this provides an opportunity for off-topic conversation that can easily spiral out of control. Just call the meeting and let everyone get back to work. They'll thank you for it.
Learn to identify meeting disasters — loud, hostile, unproductive in-fighting is a good indicator (plus signs of disinterest outlined above). If your meeting isn't happening, don't force it. Run for it — and reschedule, this time with your agenda and deliverables in order, and meeting roles clearly defined (everyone should feel like they are participating: providing updates, taking notes, offering opinions, and the like. Stick to the issues at hand, but don't try to wrest control from those who are participating. Just because you called the meeting doesn't mean that you get to do all the talking. Just shut your trap and run for the hills!
Check back on Monday for another installment of the Business Casual series, and head here to get more info about all of join.me's meeting-friendly features like screen sharing, online meetings, chat, and file transfers. Get the free version (it supports up to 250 participants) today!