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Communicating at work

How to run better meetings

Useless meetings suck. How do you make sure your next meeting doesn't?

A lot of  teams have a love-hate relationship with meetings – on one hand, they’re a fantastic way to connect with other employees, on the other hand, they can sometimes feel like a time suck. The good news? Your meetings can (and should) be healthy and productive. There are lots of ways to set your teams up for success by running meetings that they actually want to attend. To help you get started, here are 7 ways to make your meetings better.

1. Create an agenda

Every good meeting should start with an agenda. Agendas help ensure your meeting is intentional and useful to your team and your business. Writing an agenda can be a game-changer for teams who easily go off on a tangent, to ensure your meetings run smoothly. It can also set helpful expectations for those attending and help determine the “why” for your meeting.

2. Timeboxing

Depending on your role, you and your team might spend more than 35% of your time in meetings. Time spent hopping between calls adds up, so it’s important to be mindful of the length of the meetings you host.This doesn’t mean that every meeting should be squeezed into 15 minutes, but for longer meetings, keeping up your team’s energy and engagement can be tough – especially if it’s their fifth meeting of the day!Adding timers to your Agenda can help keep things on track, to help you effectively timebox each segment. If a segment runs over, this is a great signal to take things offline (or schedule a follow-up session). It also helps you assess how effective your current meetings actually are – are you spending enough time on what matters most to your business and employees?

3. Show up prepared

Being prepared for a meeting means more than drafting an agenda and showing up on time. We’ve all been there, scrambling to find a document while leading a call. Truthfully, the long drawn out,  “Let me just share my screen…”,  is probably one of the most-used phrases in the workplace over the last couple of years. Plan ahead! Load all of the decks, docs, and videos you want to share with your team ahead of time in Venue’s creator dashboard, so they’re ready to launch from the Shares panel with one click. Having all your presentation materials ready ahead of time saves you from pre-meeting stress.

4. Give everyone a chance to speak

Meetings consistently led by the same person can feel overwhelming. Giving everyone a chance to speak will help keep the call engaging and inclusive. Pass the (virtual) mic around and give everyone with a stake in the conversation a chance to be heard.For example, instead of the CEO talking for your entire Town Hall, you could have employees from different departments facilitate certain portions of the presentation. Venue’s Speaker Queue panel makes it straightforward to seamlessly hand off the baton in any meeting. Pre-queue the folks who’ll be speaking – they’ll get an email invite from Venue to make sure they’re successfully set up to speak – and bring them to the Stage with one click. If you’re running a panel, AMA, demo, or another type of meeting where you’d like a group together on stage, just add them to a Speaker Group and bring them up all at once.Opening the floor for others to contribute makes the environment more friendly and inclusive. Ultimately, hearing more voices means you’ll get more ideas and better outcomes.

5. Be flexible

Most remote companies have a diverse set of employees coming from different backgrounds, geographical locations, and home situations. Everyone faces a different set of challenges when it comes to remote meetings. Being flexible is one of the best ways you can provide equal access and support for your remote team. This includes anything from allowing your team to engage by chat only, or showing up off-camera. Studies have found that one way to combat “meeting fatigue” is by giving employees a lot of elbow room around what level of ‘presence’ is expected at meetings. By default, Venue is camera-off for everyone except Speakers. Of course, it’s easy to bring anyone in your meetings to the Stage at any time. Any employee can raise their hand to speak if they have something to add to the discussion.By supporting your employees’ choices on how they want to engage, your team will feel more comfortable and more able to contribute to the conversation.

6. Celebrate your accomplishments

Everybody wants to feel good about their company’s mission – you’re part of something exciting! Including personal touches in your meeting – acknowledging employee milestones, features shipped, and goals reached – is a great way to promote belonging and alignment.Using Venue’s Music tab, create a celebratory vibe for each segment of your Agenda, or even upload some fun sound effects to punctuate the message you’re delivering. Load some thematic emojis into the Emoji Cannon (everybody loves 🤑), and blast that Confetti for a party atmosphere. Meetings aren’t just about relaying information, they’re about creating a connection.

7. Choose the right platform

Meetings come in all shapes and sizes, and the technology you choose can easily make or break your meeting.Choosing the right platform can help mitigate social and technological hurdles around employee engagement and make the meeting valuable and enjoyable for the entire team. Different platforms have the tools and configurations best suited for different types of meetings.A tool like Zoom or Microsoft Teams is okay for quick face-to-face connections to work through a task. However, if you’re hosting a company-wide meeting, a platform like Venue will make it easier to keep your teams in the loop with features designed specifically to build culture and keep employee focus and happiness high.  

Meetings are inevitable – why not make them great?

Not every meeting you have will be perfect. In fact, you’re almost guaranteed to have some that aren’t all that productive. Happily, that’s something you can fix with a little thoughtful pre-planning and a helping hand from Venue.

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