Nobody likes meetings.
According to a Salary.Com survey, 47% of employees think meetings are their biggest timewasters—way ahead of “fixing other people’s mistakes” (37%) and communicating with “annoying co-workers” (36%).
Whether you share the same sentiment or not, you have to be realistic. A meeting is still one of the best ways to make sure everyone’s on the same page. For marketing teams, they’re great for brainstorming, pitching campaigns, and staying updated with the status of a project.
Dozens of tools make both real-time and asynchronous communication possible for remote teams, but you still need that time block where everyone’s online, in a virtual conference room, and focused on the meeting’s agenda.
So, what’s a manager to do? You know you need meetings, but you also want to make sure there’s no productivity loss. Here are approaches you can keep in mind when running virtual meetings:
Make it a regular part of the schedule.
Meetings aren’t inherently ineffective. They’re only so when employees don’t know what they’re about or when they’re happening. A regular meeting with a fixed time schedule helps your marketing team to work around and with it.
Avoid ‘emergency’ meetings as they will only break your marketer’s flow. Whether your emergency meeting is necessary or not, it’s disruptive to the regular workday. According to Gloria Mark, a professor at UC Irvine who studies digital distraction, it can take a person up to 23 minutes before they can return to work after being distracted.
Use Doodle.com to poll your remote team for the best time to hold these regular meetings. Once you settle on a time that’s workable for everyone involved, make sure it is set in stone. This means, it starts and ends at the specific times allotted. Fortunately, with a remote team, you don’t have to worry about tardiness. They can be in your virtual meeting hub in a few clicks.
Keep it short and sweet.
Your marketers are, naturally, creative types which means meetings are never short for ideas but not all of them will be relevant or even actionable.
You can get great ideas out of your marketing team members by having a strict end time to the meeting because time constraints breed creativity. For Scott Belsky and Michael Karnjanaprakorn of Behance, setting a limited time—especially for brainstorming—forces creative instincts to focus. “While original thinking is often spurred by escaping the bounds of our traditional line of thinking, the proverbial ‘box,’ we must grasp some restraints to ground idea generation.”
So, how long do meetings have to be for effectivity? According to SalesCrunch, the longer meetings run, the less people are paying attention. Short meetings of up to 15 minutes have the highest attention level at 91%.
Set a timer and stick to it. You can even take it a step further and use this Meeting Meter from Institute for Better Meetings founder, Bernard DeKoven. Instead of telling you how long your meeting’s running, it measures according to how much money the meeting is costing you.
Use tools that won’t fail you.
Working with a dispersed marketing team, you depend on tools. Your primary concern should be where you conduct your virtual meeting. Yodlr, is a web-based conference tool that is extremely fast and easy to use. You don’t even need to register for an account! Just create a room and invite your remote employees to join.
The tool is perfect for marketing meetings as it has audio, chat, and file support. Anyone can upload, view, and control necessary files during the meetings. If an attendee has something to share, they can press the ‘Raise Your Hand’ feature and will have the opportunity to do so.
Here are other tools you and your remote marketers can use during your virtual meeting:
- Minutes.io – specifically designed for efficient minutes-taking during meetings. It’s a very straightforward tool that is simple to use.
- Join.me – designed for screen sharing. It’s swift, lightweight, and doesn’t need you to sign-up before you can use it.
- Twiddle.com – is a web-based online whiteboard. This is very helpful, especially for brainstorming sessions.
See? Meetings aren’t so bad—as long as you know how to run them well! You can even make them more fun without sacrificing effectiveness. In fact, you should make them more fun. “Make the meetings something that the team looks forward to. People are more creative when they’re enthusiastic and having fun so don’t let the meetings drag.” shares Valuable Content founder Sonja Jefferson.
When you are strict with the schedule and duration of your meeting, use awesome tools, and conduct a meeting with clear-cut plan, meetings shouldn’t feel tedious, ineffective, and a waste of time at all. If you stick to these strategies, your team should leave the meeting feeling productive and energized.
How do you conduct meetings with your remote team?
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