Video conferencing might make it easier for people to come together, but it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the small hassles and minor faux pas that can make meetings exceedingly difficult. With that in mind, here are four common meeting mistakes that you would do well to avoid, whether you are on a video conference call or leading an in-person meeting.
Too Many People
Even with a sophisticated camera like Polycom Eagle Eye Director, which automatically zooms in on whomever is speaking and saves viewers from struggling to spot the source of salient sounds, you should be careful not to cram your conference room with too many participants. This goes for video conference meetings as well as wholly in-person meetings. There’s obviously a simple and practical reason for this: only so many people can fit in a room or on a screen. But that’s not the only reason to carefully curate your guest list. If you make people attend who have no good reason to be there, you’re liable to cause some serious annoyance. They’d rather be somewhere else, and you should rather they be somewhere else, too. Maybe they could be at their desk doing something like, um, work?
Too Much Talking
There are obviously worse things that can happen to a meeting--a fire, for instance, or a poisoned plate of cookies--but perhaps the most common killer of conference room productivity is the person who will not stop talking. Who cannot stop talking. Who feels compelled to fill the room with his own voice until it has put everyone to sleep. It can be hard to tell someone they need to stop holding forth. Especially if you are on a video conference call and you don’t know the bloviator all that well. A polite intervention is not so difficult, however, if there is a detailed and thorough meeting agenda prepared ahead of time. First of all, putting a complete agenda in front of everyone’s faces is a pretty forceful hint that no one will be allowed to stray too far from the matters at hand, and secondly, it makes it easier to gently let an over-talker know that they have left the playing field and are roaming into foul territory.
Too Many Agenda Items
This is a corollary to the above advice. Your agenda should be thorough and detailed, but it should not be packed too tight. Keep the meeting focused and, most importantly, as brief as possible. A two-hour epic covering every single aspect of business will result in the opposite of a meeting’s desired effect: your employees will retain absolutely nothing but the sense that they have just been subjected to a massive information dump. Be especially aware of this when meeting via video--staring at a screen for too long is not good for eyeballs or attention spans.
Too Many Distractions
Of course we are all for solutions with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) capabilities, but the preponderance of mobile devices does have one potentially hazardous side effect: they offer countless opportunities for distraction. We all know it’s impossible to resist looking at one’s phone when we see a text message alert dings or a calendar notification buzzes, so do what you can to mitigate these effects. It’s not entirely reasonable to push for a “No Cell Phones” rule if you are encouraging your employees to use their cell phones for video conferencing and such, but during important meetings, ask that your employees turn off their ringers and, if possible, stow their mobile luggage until it is needed.
There’s one last meeting mistake you absolutely shouldn’t make: forgoing video conferencing and collaboration technology altogether. Find out more about bringing your meetings into the virtual realm with the help of room solutions. And please contact us if you have any questions. We will get back to you as soon as possible.