Today’s software can bring live data from dozens of systems into a central location, taking your meetings to a whole new level.
Stop me if you’re familiar with this scenario: You call a meeting, blocking and tackling schedules, struggling to find a time that works for everyone. Once you finally get the right people in the room and someone starts up their Powerpoint, you spend most of the time picking apart the numbers, trying to understand which pieces of data are accurate. Some are from last week, others look like they’re from last quarter. You leave the room with a call to action to get better data, which is only repeated the next time everyone has time to meet again a few weeks later.
In a day and age when the amount of data generated every minute is nothing short of mind-boggling, that’s no way to operate.
It’s time to go into meetings in a way that mirrors the era we’re living in. In the fast-paced world of technology, time is of the essence. We can’t afford to waste even a second of it. Nor can we afford to keep doing what so many companies I’ve met over the years still do: work from multiple pieces of information that may or may not match up. That’s not efficient, either.
I understand that old habits die hard, that corporate processes typically aren’t overhauled overnight, and that you may not feel comfortable with the level of education and change management needed in order to move in a new direction.
But those realities shouldn’t get in the way of improving a critical component in how your organization runs, especially if you’re willing to start small.
I’ve identified three moves you can make to ensure your meetings become the exercises they were always intended to be: useful.
1 – Create a Single Source of Truth
Use this for your meetings, without question, but also for every daily touchpoint you and your people have with your data.
“We put a 70-inch screen on our wall to project reports,” said Keith Moore, CEO of CoverHound, an insurance comparison platform. “It’s pretty much in our face all day long, and it’s brought us closer together, because we’re all looking at the same data, in real time, all the time.”
In a perfect world, no one walking in the door to a meeting room should be surprised by the numbers. They should have access to them all along.
2 – Define Decisions to Be Made in Each Meeting
What are you walking out the door with? In the majority of cases, if the action plan is just another meeting, you’re already spinning.
Meetings should bring people and data together to drive action. They should leave us with a clear understanding of what to do next so we can do our jobs better and drive the business forward. Define what the goal is up front and take dead aim.
3 – Decide if You Even Need a Meeting
With distributed data, you might not need to get people in the room at all. That’s never been a bigger deal than it is right now; business travel is projected to grow by 6% next year, according to Global Business Travel Association, and many of us are able to work from home most of the time.
Use a platform that allows for collaboration (chat, alerts, mobile access, etc.) and you’ll find you need fewer meetings, which is better for everyone.
The Bottom Line
The best meeting is the one that was time well spent for everyone involved and leads to positive change. By employing the aforementioned strategies, you can achieve those goals—and avoid the sinking feeling of ‘Groundhog Day’ every time you step into a meeting room.