What do your facial expressions say about you during meetings?
Getting meetings right can be tricky. Whilst some are productive and full of ideas, others can be a snooze-fest filled with a stack of irrelevant information and death-by-PowerPoint moments. CheatSheet says that small businesses waste about 37 billion dollars on completely unnecessary meetings every year in the US alone. So when you do absolutely have to get people together for a meeting, make sure that there’s a proper reason for it.
But hang on. Can’t we just use email instead? Especially when staff can be in different geographical locations?
Today, in a lot of companies, it can be easy to hit the infamous “email ping-pong”. It can get even worse when mobile devices are hooked into work servers, and discussions can continue for far longer than they need to. The reason? Well, as much as I hate to admit it, trying to convey an emotion or the “gist” of something doesn’t always come across on a computer screen. It’s something that a lot of you may have experienced on social media, on text messages or through WhatsApp. A simple message, when taken out of context or read in the wrong way, can snowball into an argument or an abrupt ending of a discussion.
So how do we get around this? Well, Emoticons help to some degree, and if you’re on Twitter or WhatsApp you’ll have probably used them extensively, but within a work email they’re not professional.
Skype (previously known as Microsoft Lync for most companies) goes a little of the way to fixing this with a limited set of Emoticons, but let’s be honest – a face-to-face meeting or a quick chat during a coffee break can save endless emails and delays.
They say about 65 to 75 percent of what we say is rendered in a non-verbal way. So, if you can get people together in a room then it’s more natural and quicker so iron out a problem that way. Even outside the office, you’re far more likely to sort out issues with friends or potential partners by sitting down together and showing those real emotions. As much as I like my mobile tech, it will never replace the actual eye-to-eye contact and visual feedback that you pick up on. So, if you’re in the office and you’ve spent time leaving voicemails with a colleague on the other side of the world, try doing a video meeting for business with BlueJeans. You don’t even need to sit in a meeting room – you can chat via your phone in the breakout area or via a tablet from your desk. It’ll let you join easily and it’s far more than just a web experience that you’d get with the likes of Skype or Facetime. You can share content, send messages and there’s also a low bandwidth mode too. It’s got a scheduling option and it’s already used by big companies such as Netflix, so if must be good.
Using systems like this, you can convey your message in a clearer way. You can speedily describe a problem before firing over the dry technical details on email. Heck, you can even go old-school (as I like to do sometimes) and draw no a piece of paper or scribble on a whiteboard and share the imagery that way. This way, a person gets a very fast appraisal and understands more quickly. Meanwhile you can drink your coffee with the other hand and carry on with your day. Not only that, but it makes your work more efficient, so you can get more time to spend on other more important tasks. Systems like this make your business easier and a lot more friendly. Even if staff work from home or are based in another office, you can chat to them just as if they were sat next to you through the system.
Speaking as someone who worked from home for quite a while, having a bit of contact with the office is always appreciated, and to get a video connection is even better as it makes you feel like part of the team. Get the Android or iPhone app now and give it a try yourself.