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Have you had meeting grief? You know when you have been on a conference call and become frustrated because inevitably someone doesn’t know how to join, or the annoying beeps that announces a person, the cross talking because you can’t see who’s on the call, or people on the call get dropped off right in the middle of an important key point?

It’s time to reinvent how we do work meetings.

The future of work requires teams and leaders to be able to collaborate at the speed of change. According to a survey, 66% of respondents said that one of the biggest challenges for team collaboration is effective team meetings.

The factors making meetings a challenge include:

  •  Increased number of remote workers
  •  Increased number of global workers
  •  Expense of gathering teams together in person
  • Team members challenged with learning and using meeting technology
  •  Follow up and follow through from meeting agendas
  •  Confusion around ‘who is doing what’

The above factors affect both meetings in person as well as virtual meetings.

According to Meeting Planners International, the growth of in person and virtual meetings is at the strongest growth rate they have seen in five years. The future of work requires a reinvention of how to conduct the best meetings, whether they are in person or virtual. However, the increase in virtual meetings requires specific approaches in order to ensure success.

The days of old school conference calls just won’t cut it for the fast-changing future workplace that requires meetings that are easy to join and make it easy to collaborate. Virtual meeting technology is rapidly innovating with features such as group video, group chat, document sharing, and more.

In order to ensure a virtual meeting is highly successful, there needs to be a focus on team collaboration and making it easy to meet with the best technology tools available.

Meetings, whether in person or virtual, are about people and the focus needs to be on how people can meet, connect, and create solutions quickly and effectively. It’s time to modernize and simplify how we meet virtually.

Here are 5 ways to help teams get more out of virtual meetings:

  1.  Ensure an agenda is sent in advance that clearly sets expectations of the focus of the meeting, timelines for each speaker, and full details of all information that is related to the content of the meeting.
  2.  Open the meeting with a quick fun ice breaker that creates connection and camaraderie before jumping into the business of the meeting.
  3.  Leverage modern meeting technology platforms like Microsoft Teams that allow for video, chat, document collaboration, call recordings, and more. This eliminates many of the challenges that come with old school conference calls.
  4.  Focus on action items that come out of the meeting and clearly communicate next steps, who is doing what moving forward, and use your virtual meetings platform to set tasks, identify project timelines, integrate calendars, and send follow up reminders.
  5. Appeal to the multiple generations in the virtual meeting and if your meeting technology has the function, use GIF’s and memes to keep things fun. End the meeting with a recap, instant send out of notes, instant calendar invites, and a funny story.

What if instead of meeting grief you had meeting gladness?

Imagine that you are able to join a virtual meeting with one touch and once you arrived into the meeting you can see all of your colleagues. Imagine that the platform you use makes it easy for anyone to use whether in the office or working remotely. Imagine that you can chat, share collaborative documents, set calendar invites, and integrate action items into project workflows.

The future is here now. Innovating virtual meetings provides benefits in multiple ways – improved productivity, happier teams, better business, and increased ability to innovate at the speed of change.

Cheryl Cran is a #1 Future of Work Influencer (Onalytica) and in the top ten future of work influencers (GoCatalant). She is the author of seven books including, “NextMapping – Anticipate, Navigate and Create the Future of Work”.

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