Your 5 step guide to meeting makeovers

How to use cloud services to meet up, save time and get more done

If there  is one thing almost everyone in business can agree  on, it’s that meetings  are a real pain. They take too much time and too little gets done. One recent survey showed nearly half of all employees think meetings  are a total waste of effort.

Despite the poor reviews, meetings do have an important role to play. They can build a sense  of camaraderie, spark innovation and help you get and keep everyone on the same page. That’s especially important if you have employees in remote offices, satellite locations or working from home. You need a way to keep everyone informed, connected and focused on the right things. Meetings can fit the bill.

But that doesn’t mean you have to continue to muddle through. With the right suite of cloud-based communication and collaboration tools, you can give your meetings  a much- needed, top-to-bottom makeover.  They become easier to set up and more engaging to attend. They also can become much more focused and help you get important work done.

Step 1

Give everyone their “own” meeting room

Traditional voice conferences are the bread and butter of team meetings.  But they can be really clunky. First, you’ve got to schedule around the availability of your conference  bridge.  Then you have to initiate meeting invitations that include lengthy dial-in numbers and access codes that are easy to mistype and to misdial.  You also are limited in what you can do once you get everyone together.  You can’t share your desktop or use video to see reactions. And with nothing to look at, boredom can set in. It’s no wonder most of us multitask during conference  calls. We check email or text messages,  surf the web or go hunting under our desk to search for that favorite pen we lost days earlier.

Fortunately, you can conquer the boredom and break free from these “voice only” limitations with today’s powerful new cloud-based meeting services. You and each member of your team get your own “always on” virtual meeting room to use whenever you want. Your personal meeting room can be used for spontaneous or planned meetings  complete with video conferencing, desktop  sharing and multiparty chat. It’s all highly intuitive and easy to use.

BEST-IN-CLASS COMPANIES

USE VIDEO CONFERENCING

FAR MORE THAN THEIR INDUSTRY PEERS

– ABOUT 30 % MORE ON AVERAGE.

Most importantly, these virtual  meeting spaces can have  a big impact on your meeting makeover.

  • Eliminate delays  at the  start of your meeting. Participants simply “click to join.” There’s no scrambling to find the right dial-in number and access code

  • Eliminate multitasking. With video conferencing, you keep people focused on the screen of their PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone where they can see and be seen  by colleagues.

  • Gauge  reactions and  modify your meeting accordingly.  Since you can see faces, you get a much better feel for how individuals are responding to your agenda. If you sense disagreement,  invite discussion of alternate points of view. If you sense minds are beginning to wander, ask questions, change things up and get folks reengaged.

  • Keep everyone on the  same  page. Share your whole desktop screen or an application and display webpages, applications and documents. You get rid of the confusion over where to find the file being discussed and can capture comments and edits in real time.

  • Shorten response times.  Rather than having to follow up after  the meeting to answer questions  that crop up, use your meeting room tools to send an instant message  to a colleague for the answer.  Or drag and drop the name of a subject-matter expert  into your meeting to invite them to join in real time.

Step 2

Simplify room-based video conferencing

Room-based video conferencing is a great way to replicate face-to-face immediacy when meeting with remote team members, customers or colleagues. But traditional video systems can be a nightmare.  Most are cobbled together with hardware from multiple vendors.  Each piece of equipment seems  to have its own remote control, so you never know what you are turning on or off.  And the software is complicated and hard to use. Lots can go wrong, which is why many room-based systems sit gathering  dust.

With the cloud-based conferencing, the complexity disappears. Your video conference  room gets  its own virtual meeting space, just like you and your team members do. With a simple click, anyone can start  or join a video conference  – no special training required.

If you already have a video conference room, you can get better use out of your investment.  And if you don’t have one, it becomes easy and affordable to set one up almost anywhere. All you need is a conference  camera/ speaker, an Internet connection  and a large-screen  display.

Here are a few of the  features you get that can make your meetings better:

  • Easy scheduling. From your office calendar, you can see whether  your video conference  room is available. If it is, simply make a calendar entry to book it and forward an invitation to your team.

  • Faster startup. When it’s time for your conference, simply walk into the room, power up and click a single button  to get started.  That’s all there  is to it.

  • Inclusiveness. Remote participants don’t need their own room-based system. Anyone can join in from a desktop PC, laptop or any mobile device.

  • Productivity. Since your meeting is hosted in your virtual meeting space, you aren’t constrained  by the software limitations of your room-based system.  You get an integrated suite of tools to make you more productive. Content sharing functions  allow you to start a collaboration session and review spreadsheets, presentations or other documents  with your team. HD voice captures  every verbal nuance, and HD video relays crisp images. You can even use multiparty chat to ask a quick question  or poll participants, without having to interrupt the flow of the meeting.

Step 3

Make mobile devices “meeting  ready”

With a simple software client, any mobile device used by you or your meeting attendees can become “meeting ready”  – eliminating common pain points.

  • Never  miss another meeting while on the go. You can view all your scheduled meetings  and stay auto-synced with your office calendar.

  • No more  delays  searching for phone numbers and access codes. Simply tap on an icon and your phone will automatically connect you to a meeting.

  • Easily launch  instant messages or send email to the  meeting  organiser or to participating colleagues

  • Select  “meet now” and connect with team members on demand –all with a single touch. Your phone dials everyone up and establishes the conference  for you.

  • Keep things professional when you’re using a personal mobile device. Only your business phone number and identity are displayed when you join a meeting. Your personal mobile number remains protected

Step 4

Set up collaborative team workspaces

How many times have you been ready to hop on a conference call only to realise you aren’t sure where to find the file you are supposed to be discussing? Or perhaps you thought you had the right document, only to discover everyone else is using an updated version.

With the collaborative online team workspaces offered  with your new cloud services, you can end the paper chase once and for all. Simply drag and drop files into the team workspace and keep everyone in sync.  You also can easily track tasks, due dates and work history. Built-in contextual intelligence tools serve up the precise information you need when you need it – preparing you for every meeting, every call and every interaction.

All your meeting features are in your team workspace as well.  Message a single individual or everyone on your team. Click to dial a number or to launch a voice or video conference. Invite partners, customers and outside experts to join in.

What’s more, your team workspace can serve as a hub for the productivity apps you use each day – like Salesforce, Office 365  and Google G Suite. You won’t have to hop from application to application to get things done.  Everything is accessible from one spot, regardless of where you are or what device you use to connect.

Step 5

Imagine the possibilities

With all your work content, meetings  and apps managed in the same place, the makeover possibilities are endless. Here are a few examples to get your imagination going:

  • Set up a project  management workspace where your engineers  can track timelines and share sketches, CAD drawings, specifications and site photos. Use video conferencing to connect with remote team members and outside experts.  Capture meeting minutes and action items and use tags to keep your content organised. Whiteboard notes during face-to-face meetings, photograph them with your smartphone  and use your mobile meeting app to upload them to your team workspace.

  • Set up a budget-planning workspace for your finance team with process guidelines, schedules and the status of approvals.  Drag and drop spreadsheets and link to financial reports  from prior periods. Use content tagging and filtering to find relevant content by revenue  category, expense  type or other criteria.

  • Set up an account management workspace where the latest information on customers and prospects  is available to your sales team. Post relevant updates and client feedback and use “@all to notify the entire team. Set up reminders for follow-up calls, proposal deadlines and other deliverables and automatically sync them to team calendars. Post your latest sales presentation and other background resources associates need to sell more effectively.

SCHEDULE YOUR MEETING MAKEOVER TODAY

Contact our sales team 0800 011 4088 sales@btlc.co.uk