Michal Sobotkiewicz
Michal SobotkiewiczKANBO PRODUCT OWNER
He leads the KanBo Technology & Innovation strategy team to map, build and inspire a future we want to work in.

Meetings are an important part of all business activities. Explore the key to meeting management and make the most out of your team’s time.

A meeting consists of a group of people who have little to say – until after the meeting.  ― P.K. Shaw

Meetings are a group process that allows the sharing of information within an organization. May it be virtual meetings or ones conducted in conference rooms on-site, for most professionals, meetings are an everyday occurrence.  Despite the important role of meetings in the business world, a strikingly small number of people actually know how to lead an effective meeting.

According to research conducted by Mosvick and Nelson, inadequate preparation, lack of meeting management skills and improper scheduling can cost companies around 30 man-days and 240-man hours a year on business meetings. Since time is money, all this time wasted on fruitless meetings can cost your business a fortune.

So how can you ensure the success of a meeting? The answer lies in guiding the synergies of the group towards topics that deserve attention and deriving useful outcomes out of it. Regardless of the format, most meetings follow a similar pattern and can be improved with a few practices that can boost your meeting management skills. Read on to discover tips and tricks that can help you leverage the true power of meetings and make the most out of your time.

What makes an effective Meeting?

Before we move on to describe some useful practices for effective meeting management, it is important to define, what does an effective meeting entail? Contrary to popular belief, wrapping up a meeting in the shortest possible amount of time does not make it automatically effective.

An effective meeting consists of the right selection of individuals who engage in a focused discussion to produce a definitive result in the form of ideas, decisions, consensus, or new tasks. A meeting that fails to create value for the business is ineffective, no matter how short it may be.

Here are four elements to look out for in an effective meeting:

  • A clear purpose
  • Engagement
  • Trust and inclusivity
  • Real Results that add value to the business

To turn your meetings effective, you only need a few special ingredients such as proper structure, preparation, and excellent communication. Let us dive into how you can make that happen.

1. Types of Meetings

Meetings can be of different categories and each one requires some different considerations. Identifying the type of meeting can help you prepare accordingly to conduct meetings that produce useful results.

  • Status update

These meetings are like routine checkups that may happen once a day or every week. These meetings are conducted with the goal of updating team members of the progress, discussing new challenges, and making sure everything is on track.

  • Information exchange

The goal of this meeting is to share information regarding any changes, new products, and techniques.

  • Decision Making

Decision making meetings are conducted to reach a final decision and the commitment from all members to act on the decision. These meetings can often include brainstorming sessions to explore options lead by assessment, ranking and finally voting.

  • Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting meetings utilize problem solving as a group process to address identified problems or developing new strategies for the future.

  • Innovation Meetings

Innovation meetings or creative meetings encourage divergent thinking and brainstorming to come up with innovative solutions. These meetings are highly inclusive and thrive of collaborative discussions where all opinions are entertained.

  • Team building

Team building meetings promote group cohesion and include meetings such as kick-off meetings, corporate events, integration trips and more.

2. Tool – Choose the right tool to run such a meeting.

Online meetings have seen a rise in popularity in recent years. This new demand for virtual meeting experiences has resulted in a variety of new tools and technologies. Today, there are countless solutions available to conduct effective video and audio conferences in real-time. Choosing the right tool plays an important part in the effectiveness of the meeting. The choice of tool ultimately depends on a few major factors.

Ask yourself these questions before choosing any tool for your remote meetings:

Question: Does every participant have access to the internet and a stable internet connection to ensure a smooth-sailing meeting?

Hint: Since all online meetings rely on a stable internet connection to work, this is an important consideration. An inadequate connection results in interruptions in communication that can quickly derail your meeting.

Question: What are the prerequisites for participating – Additional software, tools, etc.?

Hint: Some solutions require additional software and packages to be downloaded whereas some tools are available on the web. Not everyone has the ability to download additional software, so it is important to figure out what works best for all the participants.

Question: Does the conference need to be recorded for future viewing?

Hint: Some meetings can benefit from being recorded for later use. Not all solutions provide this capability.

These are just a few sample questions to ask before choosing the right tool like Microsoft Teams. It is a good idea to contact your IT department or personnel to guide you towards the appropriate technology. Prepare a set of business requirements and features beforehand before consulting your IT team.

3. Creating a Foundation for Remote Meetings

Many people are not aware of the correct protocol for remote meetings. It can be beneficial to create a solid foundation for ones attending the meetings from their home or other remote locations.  Here is some recommendation to convey before the meeting:

  • If you don’t have a home office, it is essential to create a separate space in your home to attend meetings. Ideally, this space will be free of noise and other interruptions so you can participate in meetings in peace.
  • Make sure to use a headset during the meeting to eliminate all external noise.
  • Ensure to avoid having a cluttered background during video conferences. Some tools have the option of blurring the background or adding a custom background to make it look more professional.
  • Inform the people around you about the meeting to ensure there are no disturbances.

4. Agenda

The meeting agenda informs the attendees about the important aspects of the meeting to ensure that the conversation flows in the right direction. The agenda needs to be sent at least one day before the actual meeting so all participants can familiarize themselves with the topics.

The agenda typically contains a list of all the planned topics, the general structure, and some background information to ensure everyone is on the same page. While not all meetings require an agenda, most formal meetings can benefit from one. You can save time by creating a meeting agenda template.

QBR Meeting Agenda

KanBo’s QBR meeting template helps you to present value to customers with goals, metrics, documents, benchmarks and more during your cyclic QBR meetings. Build an action forward plan to make the QBR meeting a success.

5. Rules and online meeting etiquette

Meeting management is made easier if all participants follow the right rules and etiquettes. Here are some common rules that can help shape a successful meeting:

  • Mute your microphone while not speaking to avoid any disruptive noise.
  • Keep your phones on silent.
  • Assign a specific time to each topic and avoid taking up too much time. Ensure that everyone gets a chance to speak.
  • Summarize the meeting to give an overview.

6. Schedules

Scheduling the meeting at the right time is another important aspect that contributes to its success. When all the participants are in remote locations and different time zones, it gets even more challenging to find the right timeframe for a meeting.

Apart from the challenge of creating a meeting schedule, it can be difficult to follow it as well. However, the manager or moderator needs to keep a close eye on the clock.

  • As an organizer, starting the meeting on time and ending it on time is important to keep everyone engaged.
  • As a participant, arriving a bit early will ensure that you are well prepared for the meeting and giving it the appropriate time.

Boost the Effectiveness of Virtual Meetings with KanBo

KanBo is a powerful platform for work management that can help you run meaningful meetings. Here are some ways KanBo can help you conduct meetings better:

KanBo before the Meeting

With KanBo, you can easily create meeting agendas to inform participants beforehand and give a structure to the meeting. The meeting agenda template can be viewed by all participants before the meeting.

Meeting Agenda

Make meetings more productive/Get more out of meetings with the meeting agenda template. Easily clarify the goals of your meeting and inform participants about details such as dates, locations and more. Include all necessary documents and crucial information in advance so people can be prepared to make the meeting a definite success. The meeting agenda template can help you run a smooth-sailing meeting and ensures it never strays from the main agenda.

KanBo during the Meeting

During the meeting, each participant must have the same picture of the discussed issue. KanBo displays the discussed area (Cards) to the participants and allows you to make changes and view them in real time. In this way the participants can see not only the discussed issue, but also the wider context and documents.

During the meeting, all current information is available in real time on KanBo. The decision made is placed on a KanBo card which makes it immediately visible to other people involved in the task. In this way, the virtual meeting is not only a place for discussion but also a starting point for new tasks and initiatives that can be easily traced later.

KanBo after the Meeting

Each meeting ends with new tasks and initiatives to be assigned. Tracking or monitoring the progress of work is one of KanBo’s built-in mechanisms. KanBo automatically informs participants by sending notifications about all the activities that are performed within a given task. This allows people to make informed decisions and actions based on knowledgeable insights. Meetings as an element of synchronous work are a natural element of the project or task life cycle. The work that arises from meetings is mostly executed in an asynchronous way – that is the major discipline of KanBo.

Conclusion

An effective meeting is created with perfect preparation, synchronization, and monitoring. All this and more is possible with KanBo’s features that manage information to enable work in an asynchronous way.

Meeting management can be made easier with KanBo’s robust solutions. Visit KanBo to learn more about our solutions and how to make work easier and more effective.

Meeting Management Checklist

Before the meeting:

  1. Specify why you want to organize a meeting.
  2. Collect all KanBo cards (topics) in one main card (Agenda) using KanBo Card Relations.
  3. Share this main card with attendees by assigning them to the KanBo Card.

During the meeting:

  1. Focus on the topics highlighted in the agenda.
  2. Divide tasks and set deadlines for every item you discuss during the meeting.

After the meeting:

  1. Ensure that your co-workers know what is expected of them.
  2. Work asynchronously in KanBo