Almost every workplace sitcom and film makes jokes about boring business meetings and calls. These gags work because they're so relatable: What office employee doesn't dread getting trapped in a meeting that drags on forever? According to a recent survey by video conferencing service Blue Jeans, 6 percent of employees even admit to falling asleep during conference calls.
Disinterested participants can obviously render meetings ineffective and unproductive, but what can leaders do to re-engage their workers? Jay O'Connor, CMO of Blue Jeans Network, suggested these four tips to make the most of your meetings:
Face-to-face interaction is important. Conference calls save time and travel, but lose the human connection. Blue Jeans' research shows that making a visual connection improves communication and collaboration, and 94 percent of survey respondents said face-to-face communications improves business relationships. In an era of distributed teams and remote workers, a visual connection can overcome the barriers of distance, and facilitate team bonding. Video conferencing from a computer, mobile device or room system is a simple way to establish a visual connection when you can't be face to face. This matters especially for small businesses that might not have the budget to travel. [5 Important Words to Say in Every Business Meeting]
Timing is everything. In real estate, it's all about location, but for meetings, timing matters most. Be strategic in picking the best time, date and place for a productive meeting. Forget Monday overload and schedule meetings later in the week. Plan your meeting for mid-day to allow people to get work done in the morning and afternoon.
Less talk, more action. Ditch time-sucking meetings in favor of actionable sessions that get results. Share information such as previous meeting minutes or project updates in advance of the meeting. Using email is an efficient way to distribute information and complete prep work so that attendees show up ready to dive into the essential agenda items.
Give everyone a voice. Limit participants to only those who need to be there, and brief others via email. A meeting with essential participants will ensure that you optimize the time. These conferences should not feel like a filibuster, but instead like a team effort. To facilitate engagement, give everyone a role and ensure that all participants have a voice.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.