You’ve just finished a round of back-to-back video conferences, calls, and team meeting. It’s finally time to sit down and start your Excel reports for the day, only — oh snap — it’s 5PM.
Where did the day go? You take a step back to reflect on how you spent your last few hours. Here’s what you conclude:
- You spent approximately 1 hour dealing with video conferencing software that didn’t work.
- You spent 15 minutes apologizing to clients for your screen share not working.
- You spent 30 minutes trying to find a new conference line after your company’s phone system kept dropping everyone’s calls.
You spent more time fumbling around than having real, impactful conversations, and now you’re stuck working late. And for what? A day’s worth of frustration, not face-time.
Technology empowers businesses infinite touch points to connect. But it’s also buggy. Broken phone lines, resource-hogging browser plug-ins, dropped calls, and crashing systems are a huge waste of time. Follow these three steps to make sure that your next meetings run like butter.
Step 1: Battle Test Your Systems
In high school (or college), your instructor probably taught you to prepare for your presentations and meetings ahead of time. The same holds true for the workforce. Give yourself a few minutes —before your next meeting — to make sure that everything is in working order. If not, you’ll have plenty of time to find a backup plan or get help from IT.
Whatever you do, don’t trust your systems to work. Fumble ahead of time so that everything runs smoothly when five more people are on the line (or in the room).
Step 2: Have a Backup Plan
If you’re giving a remote presentation with a sales deck (or giving a PowerPoint in person), make sure to have some PDFs (or printouts) handy. Nothing induces more stress than an unexpected push to totally ‘wing it.’
If your client’s browser crashes — no problem.
If the projector decides to unexpectedly die — it’s cool.
With five minutes of advanced planning, you’ll be prepared for any situation.
Step 3: Ask People to Come 10 Minutes Early
If you want a meeting to start on time, ask people to hop on the call (or swing by the conference room) early. You can always mute your lines or kill time on your smartphones to read e-mails. By telling people to join early, you’ll be able to have an on-time start. And the stragglers? They’ll be on-time too.
Step 4: Record Your Meetings
Are you trying to host a really big meeting with everyone at the same place at the same time? These types of meetings are necessary every once in a while, but they’re almost impossible to coordinate. Some people — inevitably — won’t be able to make it. Instead of rescheduling, trying to accommodate everyone, or playing catch-up, just record the meeting so that you keep moving —full speed—ahead.
How has your company solved its clunky meeting problems? Share your ideas in the comments below. Inspire your fellow readers with what you’ve learned the hard —or the easy—way.