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Integrate Collaboration Tools for a Better Meeting Experience

Integrate Collaboration Tools for a Better Meeting Experience

At times, meetings are a real pain. Trying to find a suitable location and working around tight schedules can turn into an absolute nightmare, while it’s almost impossible to arrange a meet-up during the busier times of the year—which is usually when a meeting is most needed.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the majority of workers often find them unproductive, poorly planned and, in some cases, completely pointless. Elon Musk made headlines this year by encouraging his staff to walk out on meetings that were wasting their time, claiming that “excessive meetings are the blight of all big businesses, and almost always get worse over time.”

But the need for meetings is often unavoidable, with the average worker spending over 5 hours in them every week, and another 4 hours doing prep. So, businesses are turning to the likes of Cisco WebEx Board and other collaborative tools to make meetings more focused, flexible, and engaging.

And it’s working.

Increasing Engagement and Creativity

Modern collaboration tools, such as video conferencing and digital whiteboards, are bringing a more visual, interactive element to everyday meetings. These tools allow you to present the right information at the right time, making sure everyone’s on the right track and allowing team members to view, share, and edit relevant files in real-time.

Of course, this encourages participants to make annotations, scribble notes, and ultimately get involved with the meeting, instead of staring blankly at a screen for an hour while someone gives a one-way presentation. This more immersive style of meeting inspires creativity and collaboration, providing the perfect platform for bouncing ideas around and pushing projects forward.

Enhancing Flexibility and Employee Happiness

Instead of spending time travelling for the sake of a 30-minute meeting, collaboration tools allow team members to attend remotely from multiple devices. By providing easy access to the relevant files and information, these tools enable employees to attend meetings in their own way, helping them work around their busy schedules and achieve a better work-life balance.

Videoconferencing allows you to enjoy regular face-to-face contact from anywhere in the world, helping to strengthen your working relationships and always keeping you in the loop; while a virtual workspace enables access to all the relevant information, documents, and data from one convenient place.

Modern collaboration tools help teams work together from anywhere in the world, bringing an invaluable sense of flexibility to the entire meeting experience. When they’re able to meet and work under their own terms, teams will always be much happier—and more productive.

Boosting Productivity and Saving Time

Modern workplaces are placing a real emphasis on driving collaboration and engagement, but that still hasn’t prevented the average employee from spending 13 working days a year in “unproductive” meetings. In fact, a European survey found that 56% of all meetings were considered a waste of time, while 66% of workers admitted to making excuses to get out of attending.

Technology allows you to make meetings more focused and driven, highlighting the purpose of the meeting and the goals you hope to achieve. By keeping participants engaged with the information in front of them and helping them come to faster decisions, you’ll significantly reduce the amount of “wasted” time being spent in board rooms and at conference tables.

Additionally, since team members can attend meetings from a remote location, this means they don’t have to worry about wasting time travelling to a set location, and can instead spend their time much more productively elsewhere.

Recording and Organizing Important Information

Sometimes, you can walk out of a meeting and feel as though your brain’s gone a little fuzzy. You’ve just been bombarded with all kinds of crucial information and, despite taking notes as best you can, you’re worried you’ve misunderstood or missed something vitally important.

Fortunately, the use of collaboration tools and virtual workspaces means it’s easier than ever for you to find the necessary information, since you now have a central hub for all your team’s important files and data. You’ll even have the option to record the meeting in full, so you can always watch it back if you want to make absolutely certain you haven’t misunderstood anything.

If anyone has annotated or changed an important file, you can always be sure of having access to an up-to-date version, as any changes will be carried out in real-time and saved to the shared workspace. So, instead of having to spend time making the edits discussed in the meeting, you can concentrate on distributing the updated documents to other team members and pushing the project forward.

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by Brian Perry // Brian Perry is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.