The world is changing. Thanks to globalization and trade commerce expansion, the rapid growth of emerging markets and the hustle and bustle of modern life, there’s a necessity for the business meeting to be more accessible.
After all, it’s not uncommon to be working with teams from all over the world, and you’ll need to involve them all to facilitate information sharing and an overall vision for the company. Luckily, new technologies have made the world a lot smaller – and business meetings a lot more effective.
Here are just a few of the new developments you should be using to make your business more efficient.
Technologies to boost your meetings
When it comes to technologies that are designed to make your meetings more effective, there are four main categories that we’ll be taking a look at:
Video apps are designed to make it easier to communicate with people in other locations.
Note taking apps are there to help you to take minutes and develop ideas.
Document sharing apps will make it easier for different departments to share files and presentations.
Presentation apps help you to stick to an agenda and convey ideas efficiently.
Here are just a few of our favorites in each category. Have a play and pick the ones that work best for you.
GoToMeeting: The main player in the digital meeting space. Their platform is specifically designed to facilitate teams of people in different locations and powers over 50 million meetings every year.
Join.Me: Similar to GoToMeeting, this enables you to host a virtual meeting with all of the trimmings. You can try it for free with up to ten other people before going premium, with paid options allowing you to record and download meetings for future use.
ClickMeeting: This versatile app is designed to make it as easy as possible to host online meetings, whether you’re using it internally to plan marketing campaigns or whether you’re hosting a public-facing webinar. Worth a try if you don’t get on with other software – especially if you’re trying to keep costs down.
Note taking apps
Minutes.io: Billing itself as 'the best meeting tool since pen and paper', this app is specifically designed to make it easier than ever to take and share minutes with clear action points for all parties. Once you’re done, you can send out the minutes with a couple of clicks.
Evernote: Evernote is, of course, the king of note-taking apps, and its reputation as the best is well-deserved. So much has been written about Evernote that we’re not going to add to it – just try it if you haven’t already.
Document sharing apps
WeTransfer: WeTransfer allows you to quickly and easily send up to 2 GB of files to anyone in the world – for free. It’s great for sharing videos and other files that are too big for emails.
Basecamp: This tool is predominantly designed for project management, but it also allows you to store and share documents and to easily see which projects they relate to. Thanks to to-dos and discussions, it’s also easy to agree upon next steps and to develop a document as a team while storing it in a centralized repository.
Onehub: The great thing about this tool is that it makes it easier than ever to manage and share your documents while storing them in the cloud. You can also keep existing folders and file structures, allowing you to create a virtual, cloud-based duplicate of your internal server. It even tracks who’s using your files – as well as exactly what they’re doing with them.
Prezi: Sick of the same old PowerPoints? Prezi allows you to create much more dynamic, animated presentations that make it easier for you to get your point across.
Canva: Canvaallows non-designers to create high-quality images, and while it isn’t specifically designed for presentations, it’s a fantastic tool for grabbing and keeping attention.
Business meetings happen naturally when you’re engaged in entrepreneurial activity. Luckily, recent trends in video streaming, file sharing, and virtual meetings have made it easier than ever to communicate.
In the future, we can expect IT technologies to continue to impact the way we hold our meetings, from people dialling in through VR headsets to telepresence robots that allow people to have a remote presence anywhere else in the world.
But what is clear, though, is that written and verbal communication skills will always be the most useful thing for workers when they’re in a meeting situation. Adam Boyd of Aussie Writings goes so far as to say 'employers shouldn’t hire people who can’t pass a high school spelling test because they’ll pay the price in reduced productivity and more misunderstandings.'
Technology has always been – and will always continue to be – about enhancing our existing abilities. That means that the best way to hold effective meetings is to hire effective employees. IT technologies can make them more efficient, but a 20% increase on nothing doesn’t amount to much.
Want to be effective? Hire great staff and give them the tools they need. It’s as simple (and as difficult) as that.