According to Atlassian, the average employee attends 62 meetings per month. That's a big opportunity to drive substantial collaboration among all your employees across all locations.

But if your meetings aren't designed to set up your co-located and remote employees for success, there's too much room to make your remote team members feel ignored and excluded. Use these tips to improve meetings for all participants.

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How to Improve Meetings for Everyone In Attendance

1. Be mindful of the unique challenges remote meeting attendees face.

Research by Albert Mehrabian breaks down communication into three components:


  • 55% comes from facial expressions and body language
  • 38% comes from vocal inflection and tone of voice
  • 7% from words themselves

When you're attending meetings remotely, that means it can be challenging to perceive 93% of communication.

If you lead a hybrid team, your first order of business is being mindful of the challenges facing remote employees face during meetings, and actively working to mitigate those challenges. Otherwise, your remote employees won't be engaged or productive at work, which could result in sub-optimal outcomes or employee attrition.

Take a minute to picture your meeting experience from the perspective of the person calling or logging in, and ask yourself the following questions to assess:


  • What can remote attendees see? Can they see substantially less than the people in the room?
  • What can they hear? Is it easy to follow the conversation or is it a struggle?
  • How often do remote people participate vs. the in-room employees? Is it balanced?
  • Can people see the faces and body language of the people in the room? Is it easy to read the room?

Your job as a meeting or team leader is to make sure everyone in attendance is able to participate meaningfully. Make sure you're actively engaging remote meeting participants by asking for input or participation, paying attention to the in-room monitors to make sure remote folks aren't being talked over, and repeating anything that's said in the conference room remote folks may not have been able to hear.


2. Provide a detailed agenda and any presentation materials in advance.

Providing meeting materials in advance is helpful in a few different ways.

Firstly, while some people gain energy from on-the-spot conversations and debates, more introverted team members might prefer time and context to formulate their thoughts so they're more prepared for a discussion. Meeting agendas ensure your meeting is inclusive of introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts.

Additionally, meeting agendas help you spend meeting time more efficiently. By preparing an agenda in advance, you'll have a clear schedule to stick to during the meeting. If you have trouble paring down an agenda, you'll know you might need to schedule follow-up meetings. If you send out an agenda in advance, team members will be able to add additional topics to the discussion they'd like to cover, too.

Ideally, this way you'll spend more time during meetings discussing challenges, answering questions, and debating decisions, and less time reading words off of slides. Save meeting time when everyone is together in a room (physically or virtually) and ask people do read in advance on their own time. They'll be better prepared, and time will be better spent.


3. Choose different team members to lead meetings.

It will be difficult to analyze and improve your team's meetings if you're always busy running them. Instead, take turns asking different team members to run the team meeting so you can act as facilitator and observe any barriers to productive conversations you may not have previously noticed. People might feel more comfortable raising concerns and pointing out obstacles to their peers instead of their managers, and this exercise can give growing leaders a chance to flex their management muscles, too.


4. Choose the right video conferencing technology.

Simply turning on a camera does not guarantee that the remote person is getting the visual context to have a successful conversation.

The majority of video conferencing cameras give the person a visual, but not the right visual needed to show the body language and facial expressions that Albert Mehrabian told us were so essential. Instead, managers need to use video technology that prominently shows the faces, emotions and body language of the people in the room.

The Meeting Owl video conferencing camera was designed to fix this very problem.The Meeting Owl gives your remote team members an experience that nearly feels like being in the room by capturing all visual context cues that the in-room participants can see.

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How does it work? In short, it's a 360° camera, mic and speaker that shows a full panorama view of the room, while also leveraging robotic intelligence to auto-focus on whoever is speaking in the room so remote participants can follow facial expressions, social cues, and side conversations.

 

See what we mean? If you're interested in learning more about the Meeting Owl, click below to sign up for a live or recorded demo.

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