4 Alternatives to Business Meetings
HOW MANY of your employees would show up for the weekly business meeting if you did not make it mandatory? Many employees hate business meetings. One of the reasons for this is that they believe they are a waste of their time. In this respect, your employees may be on to something.
Meetings can be very time-consuming, and it can be difficult to have a discussion that remains productive. Unproductive gatherings waste employee’s valuable time and the company’s resources. Instead of business meetings, here are four alternatives that can help you engage your employees on a new level.
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The first reaction that you may have when hearing that instant messaging may be more productive than business meetings is to roll your eyes. Give it a chance. When you instant message employees instead of emailing, there is an increased likelihood that your message will be read rather than your email being sent to your trash folder. Furthermore, you also have an opportunity to communicate in real time.
There are two rules that you must follow if you want Instant Messaging between team members to remain productive. First, avoid small talk. Make it a rule that employees only send messages that contribute to the overall conversation. Second, stay away from the voice and video software, face-morphing, font types, and other frills that are associated with most instant messenger services. Remember that you are there to work with employees, not play.
One reason to hold a meeting is to brainstorm. The problem with this is that employees usually do not have ideas right away, decreasing their effectiveness. Instead, install software like Convene, which gives team members the ability to create collaborative documents. You could even use software as simple as Google Docs or Scoro to create collaborative documents. Team members can just add their ideas, and after the list has been made, it may be time to have a meeting to clarify and discuss everyone’s ideas face to face.
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Wikis are easy to install and use with your team. They allow for collaboration without the need to gather everyone in a cramped room with limited talking time for an hour or more. When working with Wikis, you can set up one online, or you can have the security of using internal Wiki software.
The reason Wikis are great is because they track changes, so you know who made contributions to the document. They are especially productive for products that don’t require constant interactions between team members. So adding new ideas will appear in a news feed for all to see and comment on. However, be sure that you allot time and assign responsibilities when collaborating in a Wiki so that each member has a chance to contribute.
Occasionally, real-time sharing and even personal contact are necessary for productivity. Teleconferencing makes this easier because it allows you to share your screen, offers a collaborative whiteboard, and has other features that make you feel as if you are in the same room as your team members. It allows you to meet without distractions such as socializing between employees and coffee and bathroom breaks. Many types of software even create a transcript of the meeting, meaning you do not have to pay someone to stand in the corner and take notes.
The most important thing to remember when you are deciding whether or not to have a business meeting is to know your goal. If you have an agenda, business meetings may be productive. If you are having meetings just to build a sense of togetherness, schedule another activity instead. When you have a direct goal, business meetings can be useful. In many cases, however, one of these alternatives will work better to accomplish your goals.
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