The Secret to a Super Effective Meeting
2020 Digital Technology AND Culture Revolution
Even as the ongoing pandemic disrupts the business world, some things will never change. Technology has allowed us to change where we work from and how we communicate – but meetings are still a non-negotiable part of doing business.
Traditional office employees have a long-standing love-hate relationship with meetings. Done properly, meetings germinate ideas that drive the business forward, and combine individuals into teams through consensus.
Drawbacks of Badly Organised Meetings – Loss of Productivity
Meetings can take a toll on productivity, engagement and focus. Since 2000, meeting durations have increased by 8-10% every year, with executives spending up to 28 hours in meetings each week.1
Poorly organised meetings cost companies upward of US$541 billion in wasted resources2 – a major liability, just as businesses need to maximise efficiency to survive.
Corporate ambivalence about meetings has driven many companies to seek out technological solutions, particularly as the pandemic has forced Hong Kong companies to reconsider their work-from-home policies.3
Seeking Answers in Technology – Raise of Video Conferencing
Video conferencing platforms have allowed colleagues to collaborate “face-to-face” from their respective homes. Hardware solutions like Unified Collaboration Displays (UCD) an All-in-One device with hi-resolution 4K Camera, high quality Microphone Array with Sound system and Interactive Broad have enhanced the remote meeting and conference experience further.
At a minimum, organisations should insist on the following key features, if they are looking into conferencing technology for their widely-distributed workforce:
• Document sharing and annotation: Sharing relevant documents to meeting participants allows them to better follow the presentation and collaborate more effectively
• Presentation functionality: The ability to enhance presentations by sharing screens or a “whiteboard” application that lets hosts or participants annotate or underline materials
• Superior video and audio: This is underrated but supremely important. A UK study found that over 80% of meeting participants selected “good sound quality” as a major factor in successful remote meetings.4
Technology alone does not guarantee successful meetings. Conference success relies on a few key principles, regardless of whether you are all physically present or meeting remotely via conferencing software:
• Clear direction: Is your meeting led by a facilitator, and conducted with a clear agenda? Does the facilitator actively direct the conversation to follow the agenda?5
• Encouraging participation: Does every participant get a say? Actively-solicited participation discourages distraction and rewards closer attention to the agenda
• Keeping it short: Can you keep your meeting to 15 minutes or less? Some companies set a hard 15-minute limit by default6, as most people can pay attention for 10 to 18 minutes before they tune out7
Supporting online meetings is a no-brainer for companies in the New Normal. Colleagues on flexible working arrangements deserve effective remote conferencing technology, along with a company culture that encourages efficient meetings at all levels.
Creating a meeting-friendly culture is a higher-order job: a challenge that only a company and its people can solve for themselves.
 Shellenbarger, Sue. "New Office Flashpoint: Who Gets the Conference Room?" Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., October 15, 2014. https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-office-flashpoint-who-gets-the-conference-room-1413307377. "Doodle State of Meetings Report 2019." Doodle. Doodle, 2019. https://en.blog.doodle.com/state-of-meetings-2019/.
 Whitehead, Kate. "Work from home revolution has begun thanks to coronavirus, as remote staff maintain productivity and efficiency." South China Morning Post. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd., April 20, 2020. https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/article/3080354/work-home-revolution-has-begun-thanks-coronavirus-remote.
 Mieczakowski, Anna et al. "Conversations, Conferencing and Collaboration: A UK investigation of factors influencing the effectiveness of distributed meetings." Engineering Design Centre. University of Cambridge, 2013. https://www-edc.eng.cam.ac.uk/downloads/conversationsuk.pdf.
 Rampton, John. "Starting With an Agenda Is How You Have Effective Meetings in a Crazy Busy World." Entrepreneur.com. Entrepreneur Media, Inc., January 4, 2019. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324978.
 Brier, Noah. "The 6 Meeting Rules of Percolate." Percolate.com. Percolate Industries, Inc., June 9, 2014. https://blog.percolate.com/2014/06/6-meeting-rules-of-percolate/.
 Gallo, Carmine. "TED Talks' 18-Minute Rule Sets the Perfect Length for a Sales Pitch. Here's Why." Inc.com. Mansueto Ventures, February 23, 2018. https://www.inc.com/carmine-gallo/why-your-next-sales-pitch-should-be-no-longer-than-a-ted-talk.html.
Alan Chan is the Director of Marketing at Fuji Xerox (Hong Kong) Limited. He is an innovative and visionary marketer with extensive experience in business management and marketing.
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