Let’s be honest, meetings suck.
Or, as author Cameron Herold puts it in his book Meetings Suck: Turning One of The Most Loathed Elements of Business Into The Most Valuable, “[a]ctually, meetings don’t suck. We suck at running meetings…”
If they aren’t at an inconvenient time, they end up running way too long.
Did you know that 50% of employees consider meetings to be the biggest cause of unproductive days? People get off topic and you can feel work piling up as your boss goes on and on (and on) about his daughter’s first day of school instead of the numbers for the annual general meeting.
You end up spending more time checking your email (aka scrolling through Facebook) on your phone than paying attention, telling yourself that you’ll just read the meeting minutes later — we both know you won’t even glance at them. A staggering 91% of employees admit to daydreaming in meetings, and 60% of meeting attendees admit that they take notes just to appear busy.
If you do manage to be a part of an inspiring meeting that leaves you excited and energized, the ideas your team came up with often end up as a blurry photo of a whiteboard forgotten on someone’s phone or get rolled up in a notepad.
So what’s the solution? Resign yourself that meetings are what they are, and are never going to get better?
At Stormboard we believe that meetings can not only be interesting and engaging, but also help your team be more productive, save you money, and turn great ideas into action!
Here’s how you can use Stormboard to make your meetings better.
1. Prep Your Meeting
If you are conducting a SWOT analysis or setting up a brainstorm for a new product, you can pick a template, assign colors, and create headers within Stormboard before your meeting even begins.
This means that when your team is finally all gathered in one place, you can dive right into more focused discussions, as the set-up has already been taken care of.
2. Invite Attendees to Contribute and Participate Before The Meeting
If there is an element of your meeting that will involve a contribution from your team, have them start participating before the meeting even starts!
People can share ideas, visual inspiration, links, notes, and more that your team can review before you are gathered together. You can also have your team pre-review any documents or important points that will be covered in the meeting so they arrive ready to go and with ideas to contribute.
3. Keep People Engaged By Assigning Different Portions of The Meeting To Different Members of Your Team
Because everyone can have access to a Storm before, during, and after a meeting, why not assign different elements of the meeting to different members of your team?
Rather than one person standing at the front of the room droning on and on, you can use a template to give each team member an aspect to tackle. They can then ask for contribution from members ahead of time, or even collaborate with other areas that tie in together to create a stronger presentation.
4. Allow Remote Participation
Save time and money by allowing attendees to participate in meetings from the comfort of their desks. Whether they live in another city, work in a different building, or are even just a few floors away, gathering people together in one space can be a huge waste of time and money.
With Stormboard, remote meetings are just as productive as in-person meetings (if not more) thanks to the ability to access Storms from any device anywhere and at any time. Teams can collaborate in real-time, with data and information being captured and no one fighting to have their opinion heard.
5. Encourage Members Of Your Team To Contribute In Multiple Ways
Some people like to share ideas through writing, others by sketching, and others through photos or video. Stormboard allows people to express their ideas in whatever format they communicate in best, giving them a space to contribute and increasing their value within the company.
6. Engage All Generations
Meetings can be boring, and bored employees are not productive.
Stormboard allows everyone to contribute the minute an idea comes to mind and is a user-friendly technology with built-in elements that will appeal to employees of all generations — tech-savvy Millennials, visual Gen X-ers, and more traditional Boomers.
7. Vote On The Best Ideas
Want a quick consensus or to see how your team is feeling about different elements that have been discussed?
Ask people to vote on the ideas that are in your Storm and within seconds you will see which elements are the most popular and should be focused on, and which should be left behind — no discussion necessary.
8. Assign Tasks
Assign tasks within your Storm so that everyone knows who is accountable to follow-up on each idea. The assignment and due date are automatically emailed to the person in charge, so they can easily keep track of their commitments.
9. Instantly Run Reports (No More Minutes!)
Nobody reads meeting minutes anymore, and photos or whiteboards are useless.
With Stormboard, you can export the ideas from your template into a professional report that can be collaboratively edited and then shared immediately with meeting participants or key stakeholders. Reports are available as a PNG, PDF, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Wordle, and more.
10. Continue The Collaboration
Don’t lose momentum!
Your best ideas and conversations from your meeting can continue to be built upon as participants can be assigned tasks to follow-up on and continue to be active collaborators.
The Storm doesn’t go away just because your meeting is over — it can continue to be a collaborative space for your team, and then used again for your next gathering.
—By Lindsay Shapka