Whether you’re meeting in-person or virtually, meeting efficiency frequently encounters some roadblocks. The unfocused gaze of bored attendees, technical difficulties, surprise cat introductions, off-topic and unimportant tangents, ineffective communication, malfunctioning meeting tools and equipment—these and other issues make meetings feel frustrating and sometimes pointless.
But in this new world of flexible work and the virtual team environment, meetings have become even more vital to the success of a business. For many remote employees, it’s one of the few times they get to interact with their coworkers. And if your entire team is virtual, meetings are necessary for collaboration and teamwork—and that unintentional cat introduction might be a highlight!
So, how can you streamline meeting efficiency while overcoming all the hurdles? Let’s discuss.
How Do You Run Effective Meetings: 10 Top Tips
While there are no hard and fast rules for running a meeting, these 10 tips can help improve meeting efficiency in nearly every industry, whether in person or virtual.
- Set a Goal – Before the meeting, consider what problems you are trying to solve in the meeting and how attendees can contribute to the resolution of these issues. If multiple people should be answering these questions, have a centralized location where you can list out talking points, challenges, and other thoughts that must be addressed. Throughout the course of multiple meetings, provide status updates on these various goals. And don’t forget to celebrate goals that are met!
- Get Organized – Before, during, and after you meet, there are multiple organizational tasks to complete. First, define what kind of meeting you’re having—is it a brainstorm session, a workshop format, or is someone giving a presentation? Send out an agenda beforehand that defines the type of meeting, the schedule, and any goals. Record the meeting or have someone take notes so everyone can revisit and reflect on any critical points. Afterwards, keep track of anything that needs to be accomplished, like answering follow-up questions, sending thank you notes to presenters, or emailing the recording to an absent attendee. With so much to keep track of, it can be helpful to use a persistent workspace like Alleo that can be revisited after the meeting.
- Choose Participants Thoughtfully – Ask yourself, do all these people need to be here? Will they benefit or add value to the meeting? If the answer is no, don’t waste their time. Sometimes it’s more appropriate to have a single representative from different teams attend a meeting, as having too many people in a collaborative setting can feel chaotic. If you’re presenting to a large group of people, make sure the presentation provides value for anyone required to attend. Don’t let people leave the meeting thinking, “That could’ve been an email.”
- Use the Right Technology – Don’t let your technology delay or slow down your meeting. Whatever tech you use, it should be working for you, not against you. Run tests on everything beforehand, like mics, software, videos, music, etc., to ensure everything is lined up and ready to go. And don’t sweat too much if you have a tech malfunction—it happens to the best of us. Learn from it, and strive to do better for the next meeting.
- Be Punctual – If the meeting starts at 10 AM, the meeting starts at 10 AM. There’s nothing more frustrating to meeting attendees than waiting on one last person to arrive late before starting, so set the precedent that meetings will begin promptly at the time specified. Alternatively, incorporate a five-minute cushion after the start time for every meeting in case anyone is running behind. Whichever route you choose, be consistent so people know what to expect. Also, make sure you send meeting invitations well in advance, and don’t forget to account for time zones if you have people working across the country or globally.
- Eliminate Distractions – While you can’t control the distractions affecting remote employees, you can certainly make your virtual meeting space as distraction-free as possible. One easy way to do this is to find a meeting platform that meets all of your needs in one space instead of forcing meeting attendees to flip flop between multiple apps and software during the meeting. For example, if you’re meeting through Alleo, you can stream multiple live video feeds, share screens, embed content, communicate with a variety of tools, and more, all on one screen.
- Add Visual Elements – The more you can captivate any of the five senses, the higher the chances your participants will stay attentive. You can easily appeal to sight during a virtual meeting by adding visual elements to your presentation. The right visuals can back up what you’re saying, help you stay organized, and even entertain your audience. Be careful not to go overboard though—we’ve all been to a presentation with too many graphics and “fun” fonts, to the point where we were more distracted than anything.
- Animate Your Delivery – Similar to adding visual elements to spice up a meeting, your voice and delivery are another way to keep participants engaged. Hydrate beforehand, emphasize important words and phrases, use pauses to your advantage, and don’t speak too quickly. If you’re unsure where you stand, privately record yourself and play it back to see what you sound like. No one loves doing this, but it is an excellent way to improve your presentation skills. If recording yourself is too painful, consider practicing in front of a mirror instead.
- Allow Room for Participation and Collaboration – Try to think of out of the box meeting ideas that will encourage participation, like allowing attendees to simultaneously brainstorm ideas or provide real-time feedback using a tool such as Alleo. It’s much easier to enjoy a meeting when you know your thoughts are valued and you have a safe space to voice them.
- Confirm Action Items – If you’re running a meeting to determine who is doing what for a project, ensure those tasks are clearly assigned at the end of the meeting. For presentations, have a strong call to action at the end so people know what to do with all the information they just received. Put it down to writing before the meeting is over. You can even send those action items out in a mass email or message to the team for further clarification.
After a meeting, it’s time to evaluate how things went, so your next meeting can be even better!
How Do You Measure Meeting Effectiveness?
An effective meeting will spark innovation, boost morale, encourage productivity, and get everyone on the same page. To find out if you’re hitting these marks, you can measure meeting effectiveness via:
- Surveys – If you tried something new during a presentation or workshop, ask your participants what they thought. You can ask at the end of the meeting or provide anonymous feedback forms for everyone to fill out afterward.
- Attendance – Is everyone in attendance that should be? If you have a large webinar, are you seeing at least 80% of people showing up, or only 20%? This is a great indicator for the effectiveness of your meetings—less people probably means something needs to change.
- Atmosphere – What’s the vibe of the room, virtual or in-person? It’s usually pretty easy to pick up when people are bored or disengaged. Trust your gut. If you have negative thoughts or feelings during a meeting, there’s a strong chance that other people are, too.
- Action Items – If you assigned action items at the last meeting, note how those tasks are moving along. Are participants quick to finish their tasks shortly after a meeting? Or are they showing up to the next meeting with nothing accomplished? If so, it might be time to reevaluate communication methods during meetings.
What Makes a Successful Meeting? Try Alleo!
Our team at Alleo has researched thousands of meeting improvement ideas to create an innovative platform for hosting meetings, presentations, workshops, or any type of virtual gathering. From that research we have created a virtual visual canvas and collaboration platform for the new way of working.
What can you expect when using our platform? Along with many ideas to improve team meetings, you’ll get:
- Customization options to work, present, collaborate, and visualize in the exact way you want.
- Real-time connections and feedback opportunities to move meetings along at an efficient pace.
- Accessibility and connection options from any device—with zero downloads.
- Security to keep your meetings and data private and safe.
- Simultaneous webcam streams of any participant.
- Seamless workflow adoption for your unique needs.
- Event and activity logging so not a single detail gets missed.
- Administrative controls to create restricted permissions and auditable event logs.
- Easy visualization of common data sources like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs, images, videos, etc.
Whatever the purpose is of your meeting or gathering, Alleo has the keys to maximize efficiency and engagement. If you’d like to see Alleo in action, check out our website, and when you’re ready to use this powerful tool for your own meetings, contact us to get started!