Poorly planned (and executed) meetings not only lack direction, they often have a way of stifling productivity. We’ve all been there – attention tends to drift and attendees walk away thinking that the meeting was a waste of time.

On the other hand, a well-run meeting can provide significant benefits to the entire team including an opportunity for leadership to share information (and gage team understanding and acceptance). The results are productive, collaborative engagements.
This Intelligent Change article by Kevin Evans presents readers with a proven approach to help ensure that meetings are both prompt and effective.

  1. Set an agenda. The agenda serves as the roadmap so that everyone involved – including leadership – has clear expectations. “We created five segments of five minutes each and set up an agenda and schedule of presenters in advance. The Numbers, Outside Our Walls, The Basics 101, Sell! Sell! Sell! and Mailbag, where the CEO opened letters and answered questions from the audience.”

 

  1. Set time constraints. Settling on an amount of time for presentations that seems ridiculously short is the best approach because it forces presenters to make tough choices about content, explains Evans. “With a clear time limit, presenters practiced! They timed themselves. They prioritized their most important messages and scrapped everything else. They used bullet points and summary slides,” he says.

 

  1. Stick to the agenda and time frames mercilessly. For people to respect the agenda and time constraints, it’s crucial to hold firm regardless of how important someone feels their information may be. Evans accomplished this by downloading “a dong sound effect that we played over the speakers with one minute left, a ticking clock sound effect that played with fifteen seconds left, and then the A/V guys actually cut off a person’s microphone when time hit zero. If you hit zero, you would be talking onstage but nobody could hear you. You just had to walk off.”

 

Where is Your Weakest Link?

As Evans discusses, having a solid plan that the organization follows is the key to success, often cutting meeting times in half. However, it is equally important to have a firm foundation. Simply put, technology accessibility and ease of use should never be the weakest link.

After all, even with the best agenda, strategy and plans, all would be thwarted if the presenter struggles to get the content connected and in front of their audience in a timely manner.  Again, we’ve all been there – wasting precious time trying to find the right cable and device address. When the presenter only has 7 minutes, they cannot afford to have a bulk of their allotted time spent trying to get the content onto the right screen.

Fortunately, the days of fumbling with the HDMI cable are behind us. With solutions like Polycom® Pano™, dubbed “the best way to share content at work,” you walk into the presentation room and push content using standards like Apple Airplay and Miracast. Recognizing the level of device diversity, Pano instantly enables your device to connect to any touch or non-touch screen with little to no training – meaning broadcasting content isn’t just easy, it only takes a few seconds.

Anyone who has had to connect and share content knows the angst of not having the right connector or fumbling to get it connected. With Pano, all of that is eliminated, and the value extends to many different industries. Universities, for example, can benefit by allowing students and faculty to connect multiple content streams quickly and easily for class presentations and staff development.

“A quick connection and ease-of-use are top priorities for our users. We’ve been focusing on technology that has a broad interoperability with Airplay and Miracast,” says Orange, CA-based Chapman University Director of Enterprise Infrastructure Services Phillip Lyle. “We’re also looking for solutions that avoid app downloads or training – we’re getting away from wires, adaptors, and dongles whenever possible.“

 

Bottom Line: Meetings should be productive engagements that bring teams together to address issues, keep people on the same page and encourage new collaborations. This only happens when the organization is well prepared and has the right tools in place.