ShoreTel Enterprise Communication

 

 When a meeting is cancelled, what is your response? Do you feel relief or disappointment?

Odds are you feel some sense of relief because based on multiple surveys, employees have a healthy dislike of business meetings. Many millions of meetings are held each day—and those meeting hours are rarely considered highly productive time. In fact, according to research by executive coach Rick Gilbert, executives consider 67% of meetings to be failures. In the 2013 Wasting Time at Work Survey, respondents said “too many meetings” was the leading cause of distraction in the workplace.

Unproductive meetings not only affect employee attitudes, but the bottom line as well. For instance, one aspect of unproductive meetings—late attendance—can cast a negative tone over the meeting, which can negatively impact performance, according to Steven Rogelberg, professor of organizational science at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. An incredibly worrisome statistic is the high salary cost associated with unnecessary meetings, which has been estimated at $37 billion.

Yet, meetings are a necessary part of the workday and not all meetings are bad. In fact, good meetings can leave people feeling inspired and engaged. The meetings aren’t to blame, but rather, the meeting leaders. According to Cameron Herold, author of Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less, meeting leaders can make or break a meeting.

Meetings don’t suck. We suck at running them,” says Herold.

Make Your Meetings Productive and Engaging

Good, productive meetings are possible when leaders know what they want to accomplish and when they have the right technology. The five tips below can help change unfocused, boring meetings into productive gatherings that will engage employees and improve productivity.

  • Create a clear agenda to accomplish a specific objective and stick to it. A huge portion of the time spent meeting could be eliminated just by following a detailed agenda.
  • Schedule less time for each meeting. Tasks take as much time as you plan for them. In other words, if you schedule two hours for a conversation, if will take two full hours. Professor Steven Rogelberg recommends “take the same agenda, give it half as much time…and lo and behold, when they’re given half as much time at the onset, they finish in half as much time! And the quality of the meeting is just as good.”
  • Ban smartphones, tablets and laptops from your meetings. People have shorter attention spans (8 seconds) than goldfish (9 seconds). Knowing this, ask that all mobile devices are turned off or, better yet, not brought to the meeting, reducing the temptation to surf the Web, read email, or do work unrelated to the task at hand.
  • Don’t allow the conversation to wander; be sure everyone participates. The meeting leader should pay attention to all participants, especially remote attendees to ensure they’re included in the conversation and don’t use distance as an excuse to remain quiet.
  • Use effective meeting technology like ShoreTel Connect to help individuals collaborate and communicate whether they are using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, desk phone or softphone. ShoreTel Connect provides a meeting experience that enables screen sharing, web co-browsing, calendaring, instant messaging, agenda setting and tracking, and more. Connect also allows participants to click into a meeting from their desktop, tablet or smartphone. The simplicity with which they connect—they need only click once on a Join button link—combined with Connect’s ability to share desktops, co-browse the Web and easily shift control of the meeting enables an engaging, dynamic and hassle-free collaborative meeting.

Get started by taking this fun challenge that will identify your business meeting style. Take the ShoreTel Business Meeting Challenge to find out if you’re a Meeting Maverick, Meeting Multitasker, or Meeting Maximizer.