20 March 2019
Whether you love or hate meetings, there’s no denying how important they are. Weekly team catch ups, colleagues working out the details of a new campaign, or even crucial sales pitches – an ineffective version of any of these make the difference between strategic success and business failure.
Nowadays there’s an extra issue to contend with. More and more organisations are operating with remote teams and workers, spread across different locations. Meanwhile, on the client side, many businesses are focused on global expansion, so a sales team in London can easily be courting clients from Tokyo to California. All of which is particularly true for mid-sized and growing businesses, who are often expanding rapidly.
As a result, virtual meetings are becoming the norm. Instead of getting everybody around the boardroom table, employees (and their clients) are heading online. But doing this successfully is always dependant on having the right technology suite in place. Without it, a virtual meeting can quickly devolve into a frustrating mess.
What can go wrong during a virtual meeting?
In short: almost everything. Logging on can be an ordeal, with attendees needing to key in lengthy codes or download software at the last minute. Audio can drop out as a key statement is made, while video quality can be so poor that employees are left staring at unflattering freeze-frames of each other’s faces. Slide sharing often fails, too – meaning somebody can’t see something important on the screen, and notes can’t be circulated at the right point. And all of that’s presuming that the right people have turned up in the first place.
These problems are all rooted in technology, and this has a further impact on the people actually in the meeting. When virtual meeting technology doesn’t work properly, attendees can rapidly become disengaged, frustrated, or bored. And when time is wasted trying to connect, people may well start fiddling around with other bits of work. That means virtual meetings can often lose focus, with half the people taking part doing other work on their laptops, and somebody inevitably staring at their phone instead of focusing on the task at hand.
It’s also bad news for the quality of communication. On a crackly conference call, tone and emotion can easily be lost – which is especially concerning if you’re talking to an important prospect.
Finding tech tools to help your business have effective virtual meetings
It’s a frustrating situation to be in. Fortunately, since most of the problems are caused by outdated or inefficient technology, they can also be fixed by it. This could be a case of investing in faster and more robust data services. Or, it could mean introducing a new solution altogether – like Horizon Collaborate.
With Collaborate, seamless virtual meetings can become a standard feature of your working day. Integrated features like video calling, instant conferencing, and instant messaging ensure attendees can smoothly join and leave meetings, using visual, voice or written communication as needed. Collaborate also offers a host of efficiency-boosting features, like the ability to set your status as busy when you need to focus on a task.
Remote workers can take their settings to their home office, and ‘hot deskers’ can use their number and preferences on any enabled phone. Collaborate can also be set up to display your company logo and specific adverts – helping to enhance your brand when communicating with external contacts. Combined, these features can change your virtual meetings for the better, leading to improved business outcomes internally and with clients.
If you can’t avoid meetings, change them
There’s no denying it: meetings aren’t always enjoyable, and plenty of employees would prefer to crack on without them. For some, the thought of a virtual meeting is even more off-putting. But this is usually because the technology powering the meeting doesn’t work well. Since modern working environments are only going to make it more challenging to get everybody in the same room at the same time, getting the right tools is place is non-negotiable – and the benefits will soon make themselves known.
20 March 2019 | Cem Ahmet
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.