With more than one-third of meetings seen as unproductive, it’s no wonder that they’re the number one source of wasted time in the workplace. But it doesn't have to be this way—meetings are only as unproductive as we make them. In this blog, we’ll give you our top five tips for more productive Zoom meetings, Skype calls and videoconferences so you can save up all of that downtime for Friday afternoon.
Schedule Fewer, Shorter Meetings
Ready for some good news? One of the easiest ways to improve productivity during online meetings is to spend less time meeting. Start by scheduling fewer meetings—instead, set up group chats and message boards to improve communication throughout the workday. This can be a great way to quickly answer simple questions and facilitate more collaboration.
According to Parkinson’s Law, meetings will take however long they are scheduled to take. If you set aside an hour for a meeting, you’ll inevitably take the whole hour to accomplish your goals. Try to keep meetings to about 30 minutes. Anything shorter can usually be taken care of via email or group chat. Anything longer and you run the risk of losing people’s attention.
In order to keep meetings to 30 minutes, make sure you only invite people who are absolutely necessary. Make sure everyone knows why they were invited to the meeting, and how you expect them to contribute.
Use The Right Equipment
Blackout Yeti USB microphone and Logitech C922 HD webcam
There’s nothing more frustrating than wasting the first 15 minutes of a Zoom meeting or Skype call trying to troubleshoot audio problems. To make sure you’re heard loud and clear right away, it’s important to use a high-quality USB microphone. Blue offers an array of easy-to-use USB microphones with sound quality that’s light-years ahead of built-in computer microphones—like the Skype-Certified Snowball iCE, or Yeti, the world’s #1 USB microphone for online meetings.
The same goes for videoconferencing—a grainy, lo-fi video feed is more distracting than no video at all. A quality HD webcam can greatly improve non-verbal communication, helping you get your message across faster and more clearly. Logitech offers a wide range of webcams for videoconferencing, from the super-simple C270 Webcam to the state-of-the-art C922 HD Webcam.
Create An Agenda And Stick To It
One of the keys to a successful online meeting or conference call is making sure everyone is prepared—that way, you don’t have to waste time at the top of the call explaining why you’ve called the meeting in the first place.
Create an agenda for the call and send it to everyone who is invited at least two hours in advance. Your agenda should include who will be in attendance, which topics will be discussed, the goals of the meeting and of course, the time and location or platform. This gives everyone the time they need to prepare, research, gather materials and make sure their coffee is topped off.
Once the meeting has started, pull up the agenda and share your screen so everyone can see it to help keep things on track and make sure everyone is following along. At the end of the meeting, make sure you covered everything on your agenda and create a list of actionable items.
Take Detailed Notes
Assign someone to take detailed notes of your meeting
How many online meetings have been entirely wasted because no one wrote anything down? Even well-organized conference calls become unproductive when no one can remember what was said.
Assign someone to take detailed notes of each meeting. Dedicated note-taking apps like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote are great for syncing across multiple devices, while collaborative tools like Google Docs and Dropbox Paper are a great way to get input from the whole team and encourage participation.
Notes should be easily searchable and shareable. Make sure the agenda is included, along with any actionable items. You can even include assets like PDFs and slides in your notes. Most importantly, have the note-taker share the finalized notes with the rest of the group right after the meeting is over.
In today’s world, it can be easy to get distracted by the cacophony of beeps and boops from incoming email, text and instant message notifications. That’s why it’s crucial to minimize any potential interruptions during meetings. Obviously, having your cell phone on silent is a must, but there are plenty of visual notifications on your computer that can be equally distracting. Try to minimize or close out of any programs you’re not actively using like your email client, messenger apps and other CMS platforms.
You can also help ensure that everyone is focused and ready to participate by scheduling meetings at an appropriate time. People are more likely to be distracted at the end of the day or just before lunch. The best times to schedule meetings are typically Monday through Thursday in the morning between 9 and 11 am, or in the afternoon between 2 and 4 pm. However, this can be tricky when holding online meetings with people in multiple time zones.
Follow these simple tips to improve productivity and efficiency during online meetings and conference calls. For even more advice on how to improve your digital meetings and videoconferences, check out our blog on How to Make Professional Sounding Conference Calls from Home.