Meetings are one of the biggest enemies of productivity in the workplace, and with the pandemic and the rise of telecommuting, this reality has transferred to the virtual world and has taken on even more weight. In 2020, videoconferencing service platforms broke the record of 2.7 billion minutes of virtual meetings worldwide, and Spain is already one of the countries in Europe that hosts the most meetings of this year. type. These encounters not only affect the productivity of employees, but also reduce their motivation and increase stress. In fact, 45% of workers feel overwhelmed by the number of meetings they need to attend and 47% say they are not really productive.
Cecilia Mansilla, Business Meeting Facilitation Expert and Instructor at Udemy, the world’s largest online training platform, says “Having effective meetings is about more than managing our time and the time of others. It impacts all areas of organizational life and that is why we must optimize their use and learn to manage them. If the meeting is well planned, it has been proven that 40 minutes is enough to cover the important topics ”.
Tips for productive and effective meetings (virtual and face to face)
Udemy, with the collaboration of Cecilia Mansilla, presents the 5 fundamental keys to achieve this, applicable to both virtual and face-to-face meetings.
1. Define the goal
Why are we meeting? What is the expected result of the match? If we are not clear on what we are looking for with the meeting, it is very likely that we will be wasting time instead of investing it. Setting the goal is the first step in confirming if we really need a meeting to reach our goal.
2. Choose the right participants
Who are the required participants and who are the optional ones? Many times we have found ourselves in the middle of meetings where our presence was only required in exactly ten minutes. To avoid this type of error, it will be necessary to identify the “decision makers”, that is to say who are these profiles that we really need to achieve the defined objective.
“Most people feel overwhelmed by the number of meetings they need to attend, and that’s because they’re invited, many times, to meetings they shouldn’t attend,” Mansilla says. We must pay special attention to this point if we want, in addition to fulfilling our objective, to respect the time of other colleagues.
3. Prepare an agenda
Once we have defined the purpose of the meeting and the people we need to achieve it, we will need to prepare an agenda. Planning the topics to be discussed, ranking them by importance and assigning each to the duration will be the key to success.
Once the agenda is ready, we need to share it in the same invitation. This way, people will know not only what to deal with, but also what it is necessary for and can anticipate and prepare their own points to share. Also, if you are going to work on a presentation, we should try to share it so that participants can review it and prepare.
4. Manage time
Appointing a moderator or someone to lead the meeting is essential to ensure that every item on the agenda is respected. Someone who makes sure every topic is covered and that we stick to the time set for each. Only then can we really achieve the stated goal.
5. Document and create a monitoring plan
After the meeting, it will be necessary to document what happened: who could attend and who could not, establish agreements, discussions and a plan of action. Then we’ll need to share it with all invitees, and if it requires follow-up, we’ll send out the invitation for the next meeting as well.
While these 5 keys can be applied to all types of meetings (virtual or videoconferencing), the Udemy instructor also shares some recommendations for meetings held in the digital world. “Virtuality presents us with new challenges, but it also offers us wonderful solutions. The main thing is to run interactive virtual meetings, that is, if more than 5 minutes have passed that you have only talked to and no one has attended, try to ask a question so as not to lose their be careful, ”Mansilla says.
Other basic factors to consider to ensure a successful video conference are choosing the quietest and quietest space in the office or home, turning the camera on continuously to better understand the participants, and the use of headphones with microphone to ensure sound quality.