Good afternoon and thank you very much for joining me today. We are going to be talking about the collaborator’s manifesto and putting it into practice. I think this should be a fun and quick-paced read so let’s talk about how to make our meetings better.
Many of you have already perhaps downloaded the manifesto from our website. We’re going to be reviewing that and talking about how to put it into practice and really bring our meetings alive, take them out of the doldrums, and make them a lot more effective and efficient. When we talk about alive what we mean is getting our meetings moving, growing, creating, adapting and responding. We’re going to be looking at each one of those different aspects, what that means in terms of having effective meetings.
Before we do that I wanted to briefly introduce myself, I am president of Adigo here. We are a conferencing and collaboration company helping a lot of folks globally make more effective and efficient meetings happen.
I do have experience at both public and private companies and I’ve been in this space now for 15 years so I’ve seen quite a bit of change. But in some respects people often still find meetings dull and boring and not necessarily relevant, so let’s make a change to that once and for all.
Perhaps this is the scenario you always find when you host a meeting, I know I do. At least that’s my hope but in reality we all know that often there’s people that not only are multi-taking and are distracted, but they’re wondering if this is really relevant to them. They’ve probably got a priority list 10 deep of other things that need to happen. Is this really the most effective use of their time?
When you look at people’s Outlook calendars now, my gosh, they’re full. People have back-to-back meetings perhaps all day or at least filling the morning or the afternoon. How do we expect anyone to get anything done? Let’s make the meetings better. Let’s make them more effective so that the scenario we actually see is not just people banging their heads against the keyboard or the wall, but rather productive and engaged people.
I’m talking about the format of the meeting, the content of the meeting, and who’s there. But my goodness, even if you got all that right, the last thing you need are technical issues or people having trouble getting into the meeting or the call. It’s bad enough if they’re not interested but what if there are technical issues or just the tools themselves aren’t conducive to making the call effective and collaborative.
A lot of things like people droning on and on or talking over eachother are issues that can be resolved with your tool sets. Think about that. It’s just so sad when we all are in such a competitive space in our own organizations and speed is of the essence, but meetings are just killing the mojo within your culture. When preparing for a webinar about this very topic, I found it ironic that I was looking for examples of death by meetings. Sure enough, there’s already a book titled “Death by Meeting”. It looks pretty good. If you’ve read that then check that in as well I’d like to hear about what your thoughts are.
MAKE YOUR MEETINGS ALIVE
Let’s move on. Let’s hear about what we can do to make our meetings more important and relevant. It’s a very disciplined choice that you as an individual make to be a leader within your organization and stand up and say no to just droning on and on, but let’s use the manifesto and make meanings alive, make them important, and make them valuable. How are we going to do that? If a meeting is alive, it’s got aspects of moving, growing, and it should be creating some change. It will be adapting to a new environment that’s happening all the time. We’ve got to be responsive. How does that happen within your meeting? Let’s talk about that as those items one at a time.
This will allow you to have a meeting that is focused on growth, and high-functioning teams realize that. They have a very growth-focused collaboration and that means pulling in the best from everyone’s different perspectives. I find that what we hear with effective meetings is that they bring in change all the time and things are growing. I might have someone from a different team participating. Maybe they’ve got something to add but maybe it’s just a different perspective. It might be someone from a different gender, a different age bracket, a different part of the organization, or even a totally different division that has nothing to do with your particular product at the time. Bringing those different perspective in allows the team to grow and utilize those different perspectives to adapt and change to a different environment.
One way to make every meeting that you host an opportunity for growth is to have it based on creation. Let’s focus on action plans that actually involve very specific steps and put a lot of focus on the very first step. Particularly with larger organizations, there’s just so much inertia that things are just hard to get done. Focus on that first step, put a lot of clarity around what, who, how, when, why, and if you get the initiative moving on the right path initially it will be amazing how much energy will be generated. In order to keep that resiliency and keep it moving, you need to have plans in place, a plan-B perhaps even a plan-C, so you people know what to do in case the unexpected happens.
That also implies adaptation, the ability to adapt. We talk about how to adapt based on information from focus groups, or product development perspective, or other aspects. There’s even issues within your tools that can help with that. It’s so interesting talking with different people about the different types of meetings going on within their organization, and the tool set is always the exact same. What a waste of efficiency and productivity, because each meeting should be optimized for that type of format!
For example, a staff meeting is very different than a product development type of meeting. The tools should be different. The entry into the call should be different. The call flow itself should be very different. Perhaps there are other aspects of the tool, like video, you should be using or not using depending on the type of meeting. Think about your content, your audience, your participants, and also your tool. Make sure your tool is adapted to what you’re trying to accomplish.
Keep in mind that having a generic format for every single meeting using generic tools, having the default always in place, is sapping the energy for your organization, It is costing productivity in terms of lost time. Lost time equates to dollars and cents. More importantly, there’s an enormous amount of frustration people feel when they’re in meetings that aren’t efficient and effective. You’re draining that energy, that human capital out of the organization, and that’s I think really the most important and most critical.
How do we stop that? How do we respond by making our meetings more effective? How are you going to take this manifesto and put it in place? I really suggest that you look at this as an opportunity to be a catalyst for change within your organization. Take leadership. Don’t just continue because that’s what everybody else is doing with these boring ineffective meetings. Take charge and be an example and strip the format of your meeting out and replace it with something dynamic and new so that people awaken when they’re in your meetings and understand that you’re doing something different.
I think you’ll find people will respond to that and embrace it tremendously. We want to get away from the aspect of yesterday when meetings were dead and they were just bringing down an organization. You change that today for yourselves as well as the people you work with in your immediate circle, and the broader organization will benefit as well. Remember and honor the purpose that a meeting is to connect.
Communication should not just be top down from the host, but up and down the organization and then across the organization. You’re connecting. Take advantage of that. When you’re talking about collaboration, in your special situation be sure that one plus one always equals three.
You’re not just adding things together and taking the sum. When there’s true collaboration, you’ve got the ability to take advantage of synergy much more broadly. That will allow you to take back the lost time, take back the frustration people have had, and become very focused on only the essential. If you have questions about audio conferencing, or would like to set up a free trial to test our conferencing solution, visit our free trial page or call 888-55-ADIGO