Sometimes, you’ll walk out of a meeting feeling as though the entire session was an enormous waste of time. In fact, you should perhaps expect to experience this disappointment on a regular basis, with a recent European survey finding that over half of all workplace meetings are considered “unproductive”.
According to that same study, the average UK worker spends around 23 full working days sat in meetings every year, while separate research suggests that a typical meeting will be delayed by at least 15 minutes. The sheer amount of wasted time is costing businesses a fortune, while it’s not hard to see why over 60% of workers actively try to avoid attending meetings in the first place.
Perhaps most alarming of all, however, is the fact that much of this wasted time could be completely avoided. Whether your face-to-face meetings are hampered by late arrivals or poor organisation, rapid advances in conference call software mean that businesses can now start resolving the most common meeting problems once and for all.
There’s nothing worse than meetings that start late. Whether they’re due to lengthy travel delays, technological hiccups or poor planning, late meetings have been proven to be significantly less effective than those which start on time. After all, once attendees have grown frustrated and started to chat among themselves, it’s always difficult to recapture their full attention.
To make matters worse, research shows that almost half of all workplace meetings will start after their scheduled time, while a typical session will involve a further 15-minute delay as everyone gets settled and distractions are dealt with. Fortunately, conference calling allows you to keep those distractions and delays to a minimum.
Instead of worrying about heavy traffic and waiting for late arrivals, now you can invite attendees to join meetings remotely across multiple devices. Since they’ll be able to participate from a place that best suits them, employees will obviously spend less time travelling and experience fewer delays; connecting to the rest of the team at the agreed time and allowing the meeting to proceed as planned.
Of course, if somebody does happen to be late joining, then there’s nothing stopping you from either starting the meeting without them or continuing with some other work while you wait for them to arrive.
Too Many Attendees
Although it might sound like a great idea to keep everyone involved in a particular project, meetings are often hampered by the fact that too many people have been invited. After all, the more attendees there are shouting over each other, the harder it will be to make any decisions and achieve results.
Rather than turning people away at the door, conference calls leave you in complete control of who attends meetings. Since attendees will need your PIN and dial-in numbers to participate, this means you can make certain you’re only inviting people that absolutely need to be there—ensuring the meeting is much more focused and nobody’s sat there wasting their time.
The best conferencing solutions will even display a list of who’s attending the meeting and let you know exactly who’s talking, while screen sharing capabilities ensure all attendees are always on the same page and remain focused on the task in-hand.
Poor Planning and Organisation
Meetings which have been poorly planned tend to waste the most time.
When there’s no clear agenda in place, attendees will inevitably become distracted and veer off on their own tangents, causing meetings to become bloated and unproductive. Of course, this usually means they overrun and finish late, cutting into more of the time employees should spend actually tackling their own workload.
But if a meeting is being hosted over a conferencing platform, the entire session will feel much more structured and planned. Not only can you set clear start and end times, you’ll also be able to send out regular reminders to make sure everybody attends on time, while also making it clear what you hope to achieve during the meeting.
We’ve all been there. At some time in our professional lives, we’ve all sat down in an important meeting and realised we’re completely unprepared for it. When attendees are unprepared, this obviously makes it harder for them to fully contribute to the discussion, turning the entire meeting into an enormous waste of everyone’s time.
However, this is often the fault of the host, who hasn’t outlined clear meeting objectives or allowed attendees to prepare beforehand. When they’re unprepared, participants will inevitably feel unengaged and distracted, making it incredibly difficult for you to maintain control and keep the group focused.
Fortunately, as well as enhancing communication and giving them plenty of time to prepare, conference calling allows participants to access relevant files and information while the meeting is still in progress, meaning that they’re always able to stay on-task and should never feel as though they’re completely unprepared.
In short, conference calls help you get more done and ensure the meeting time is spent much more productively.