As a small business, you need to get the most out of every meeting. Technology offers the best way to do this. By improving your meeting management, you not only improve the effectiveness of your conversations. You maximize your investment in collaboration and are better able to optimize your resources.
After all, small businesses have to stay nimble and they need to stay lean. There are no extra resources to waste on wheel-spinning or on dead-end projects. That means optimizing the value of every endeavor.
Meetings represent an excellent way to apply this principle. They exist as a hub of teamwork and cooperation. A productive meeting adds efficiency to a project, allowing you to squeeze more value out of every related activity.
Luckily, there are many tools to help you maximize the productivity of your meetings. By investing in some key tech upgrades, you can improve your meeting management and, in turn, amplify your overall ability to innovate and to grow.
In business, knowledge as power. No matter what you’re discussing – launching a new product, initiating a fresh marketing campaign, or forming a new business partnership – you need to learn everything you can about the situation.
This information becomes the starting point of a productive meeting. It gives you a firm basis of discussion. The extra data opens the door to higher-level insights. It provides substance and direction to your conversations, making sure your discussions are as efficient as possible.
Before heading into a meeting, you want to gather as much information as possible about the topic at hand. That requires collecting and analyzing data.
There are numerous technology tools that make this easier. You can use Google Analytics to learn information about your user base. Meanwhile, consumer relationship software (CRM) allows you to draw out more proprietary information.
You can take the info-gathering a step further. Use more elaborate tools to create more targeted data. For instance, you can engage online surveys to learn more about potential customers.
In addition, you can fine-tune your knowledge with a focus group. By engaging a professional facilitator, you can learn details about your target market that you can’t discover through any other means. Walking into your meeting armed with this additional data will guarantee a productive discussion.
Meetings are all about combining efforts to achieve a goal. Any technology that improves that ability makes the cooperation more productive.
Some tech upgrades are relatively basic. Use products like Google Hangouts or Skype to let off-site collaborators participate in your meetings.
You can also take the concept a step further, supplementing your meeting with even more powerful communications tech. For instance, RingCentral, Zoom, and Speek offer more elaborate ways to host the meeting. They provide a flexible backbone to get more out of your off-site participants.
Even the act of scheduling the meeting can benefit from an upgrade. Software like Calendly and Meetin.gs add powerful tools to help leverage increased collaboration.
Like any business activity, meetings represent a risk/reward scenario. You hope the collaboration accelerates your project and fast-tracks your attempts at innovation.
However, a downside risk exists. You could bring all those experts together and waste their collective time. That disaster can become an expensive proposition.
Technology can improve the risk/reward equation. The right tools can ensure that when you assemble a group of talented people, you get the most out of their time.
A productive meeting requires significant organization. Along those lines, there are several tools available that can improve the structure of your meeting. Software like Minute and Agenda Maker upgrade your ability to create a powerful agenda. This will let you stay on task and get the most out of your time together.
There are even apps that let you predict how valuable a meeting will be. For example, Meeting Ticker provides a method for calculating an event’s return on investment.
There’s another component to keep in mind when considering the organization of your meeting. You need to take appropriate notes, in order to push the project forward in the aftermath of your discussions.
To achieve that goal, you need an appropriate record of the conversations. In other words, getting the most out a meeting means taking meaningful notes.
Recording detailed minutes represents the first step to an efficient meeting. They allow you to track what happens during the conversations and keep everyone up-to-date on the progress you made. You can update people who weren’t able to be present, and get your next meeting off to a productive start.
There are several programs that make taking minutes easier. Tools like Minutes.io and Minitmeet.com automate and enhance the process.
Meanwhile, you don’t only want an official record of what happened at the meeting. You want to keep detailed informal notes as well. Tools like Meeting Calculator enhance your ability to turn the decisions made at your meetings into a reality.
Technology can impact every aspect of your meeting management. With the proper data-collection tools, you can arrive with powerful and innovative information. Meanwhile, tech can keep you on track and allow you to get the most out of all your participants.
In the final phase, technology can simplify the process of keeping a record of your discussions. Meanwhile, these will facilitate the follow-up procedures that come in the aftermath of your meetings, making your conversations more productive and leveraging them for more effective results.
Sylvia Peters is a Collaborator for Find A Facilitator and a mother of two.
She’s also an expert to bringing the most credible, experienced and personable facilitation to every meeting she attended. In her free time you will find her meditating and making her favorite salad.