By Alister Esam, CEO, BoardPacks
Love them or hate them, meetings underpin every aspect of private and public sector operations. From departmental metings to financial assessments, committee meetings to emergency reviews, individuals at every level of every organisation attend a variety of agenda led meetings – many of which, in theory, generate a huge number of immediate actions. And yet, how many individuals can truly say the meeting culture within their organisation is the most efficient way of operating? Here are my top tips for how to run a successful meeting…
An online meeting forum that can be easily accessed on a tablet, enables board members and leadership to prepare and collaborate with colleagues ahead of the meeting. Don’t rely on people’s memory of the last meeting – ensure minutes and actions are at everyone’s fingertips so any discussion moves forward, rather than repeating historic items. That way more time can be spent on taking those critical decisions that have a real impact on the day-to-day operation of the organisation.
Ditch the paper
Around 75% of company meetings are still reliant on paper – not only is this costly in terms of printing and postage but it also takes secretaries and admin staff a number of hours or potentially even days to collate meeting papers that can consist of hundreds of pages. It’s also less efficient for those meeting members who are not office-based or travelling – they either have to carry a large pack around with them, or they only receive the papers on the day so they have no time to prepare. Switching to an online meeting tool can save significant cost and time savings.
Online meeting tools enable the Chair to collectively control what attendees see – each meeting attendee can view the same document at the same time keeping the focus on the task or decision in hand.
There are simple tools available to enable documents to be annotated simply with notes. These annotations can either be private, or made and shared publically with other colleagues before, during and after the meeting – encouraging collaborative decision making and ensuring a consensus is reached more quickly and easily. PDFs, for example, don’t allow the ability to share annotations and there is no version control.
Ensure that actions are documented during the meeting – and that minutes are sent soon after the meeting. Meeting apps allow minutes to be drafted from within the agenda, making it a quicker task. If actions aren’t allocated to the relevant person, they won’t be completed – making the meeting pointless. Automating alerts to remind members of outstanding items can take the effort out of action management. Voting tools enable boards to take votes and make decisions outside of the board meeting, which can lead to considered conclusions that are less likely to be swayed by more dominant members of the board. This ensures delays are avoided.
By harnessing the power of tablet and/or cloud technology, management can have anytime, anywhere access to corporate information. Whether a company operates a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Choose Your Own Device (CYOD), users should have a secure way to access vital documents when travelling, at home and in the office.
With the imperative on businesses to be more efficient, effective and agile, there is a real drive to make the agenda led meeting work better and harder. With the technology available today to enable businesses to achieve exactly that, it will be those organisations that grasp the opportunity who will reap the reward.