As we navigate the digital era, online meetings have become as much a part of professional life as coffee breaks and office memos.
These virtual gatherings offer an incredible platform for collaboration and decision-making.
But with an onslaught of meetings, how do you ensure you're being productive, not just present?
Let's unravel this puzzle with the following eight tips.
Tip 1: Get Prepared
Remember the feeling of walking into a client presentation without being familiar with the brief? The same principle applies to meetings.
Understanding the agenda ahead of time is like having the brief in your hands well before the pitch, enabling you to prepare your thoughts, save time, and navigate towards more impactful conversations.
For example, if the meeting is about launching a new product, read up on similar products in the market, their features, customer reviews, and pricing. Look into the latest trends in product marketing, potential challenges, and opportunities.
Or, if the meeting is about a project review, revisit past reports, emails, or project documentation. Note down any delays, what caused them, how they were resolved, and how similar challenges can be avoided in the future.
Tip 2: Set Your Environment
Imagine attempting to solve complex math problems amidst the hustle and bustle of a crowded subway platform. It's hardly an ideal setting, right? Similarly, your work environment significantly impacts your focus during online meetings.
But what exactly does an ideal workspace look like?
For some, the perfect workspace might be a buzzing coffee shop, with the ambient noise providing a stimulating backdrop. Others may find their productivity surges in a shared workspace, surrounded by like-minded professionals. For a creative individual, it might be an artistic studio littered with sketches and paint.
All these workspaces are excellent, depending on the task at hand. For deep work like writing, programming, or designing, some may find the background chatter of a coffee shop or the creative energy of an artist's studio inspiring.
However, when it comes to online meetings, a different type of environment is needed. It would be best if you had a space that encourages focus, clarity, and active participation. Let's liken this to a dedicated study room in your home – a quiet, well-lit, and distraction-free space.
This 'study room' should ideally have:
- Quietness: Minimize background noise, as it can be distracting both for you and other meeting attendees. You don't want your key points drowned out by the blaring car horns from your open window or a dog barking in the next room.
- Good Lighting: Natural light is best. It reduces strain on your eyes and keeps you alert. If natural light isn't an option, make sure the room is well-lit to prevent eye fatigue.
- Stable Internet Connection: Nothing disrupts an online meeting like a poor internet connection. It interrupts the flow of conversation and can lead to misunderstandings. If Wi-Fi is unreliable, consider a wired connection to ensure smooth communication.
Tip 3: Active Participation
Remember the last time you attended a networking event? Did you stand quietly in a corner or did you mingle, exchanging ideas, and experiences with others? Active participation in a meeting is akin to being a mingler at that networking event.
For instance, imagine the start of a meeting as an icebreaker at a networking event. It's your chance to set the tone and create a comfortable atmosphere. A simple, "How's everyone doing today?" or sharing a relevant, light-hearted news item can help put everyone at ease.
This not only makes others more comfortable but also encourages more open and honest discussions, much like the candid conversations that follow after the ice is broken at a networking event.
Active participation doesn't just mean talking; it also means actively listening. Picture yourself in a one-on-one meeting with a key client.
Would you dominate the conversation, or would you listen to their needs and concerns, interjecting only to clarify or offer solutions? In the same vein, effective listening during a meeting enables you to understand different viewpoints and provides a solid base for your contributions.
Simultaneously, taking notes is crucial. It's akin to collecting business cards at a networking event – you're gathering key points for future reference. But don't just jot down what's being said.
Actively note down your thoughts and ideas that come up during the discussion. It will ensure you remember them when your turn comes to speak, making your contributions more meaningful.
Tip 4: Manage Distractions
Imagine trying to focus on a crucial financial report in a bustling coffee shop. It's tricky, right?
Just like that, a single ping on your phone, a blinking tab on your laptop, or an unexpected interruption can break your concentration during a meeting. It's like trying to hit a bullseye while on a roller coaster.
Control Your Notifications: Keep your phone on silent or in Do Not Disturb mode. Consider doing the same for your desktop notifications. Apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or even your email can be set to silent for a specific period.
Close Unnecessary Tabs and Apps: It's like clearing the clutter from your workspace before an important task. Having numerous tabs and apps open can be a visual distraction and a temptation to multitask, which can lead to decreased focus. Aim for a minimalist desktop view during your meeting.
Signal Others: Just as a 'Do Not Disturb' sign works in a hotel, use signals for those around you to know you're in a meeting. It could be a sign on your door, a special light turned on, or even a particular position of your blinds. Develop a system that works for you and those around you.
Tip 5: Summarize and Recap
Recall the game of 'Telephone' from your childhood where the final message often got distorted? Similarly, after a meeting, ensure the key points haven't been distorted or forgotten by summarizing and reviewing them. It's like having a clear signal in the midst of static.
So, how do you ensure the 'message' stays clear?
Make it a habit to summarize and review the key points at the end of the meeting. Just as a detective would piece together clues to solve a mystery, your summary should piece together the primary takeaways of the meeting. The detective might use a pin-board and threads, but you can use a simple document or a note-taking app.
Also, consider sending a post-meeting email to all attendees with these key points. It serves two purposes: it ensures everyone is on the same page and acts as a reference document for future follow-ups. It's like locking the key points in a safe for everyone to access later.
Tip 6: Implement Actionable Points
Remember the exhilaration of attending an engaging conference? The inspiring talks, the networking, the pile of business cards, and the scribbled notes filled with ideas for transforming your work?
But how often have those business cards and ideas collected dust because you didn't have a plan to follow through?
Similarly, it's not enough just to note the tasks and action points during a meeting. You need to act on them.
Assign tasks to individuals or teams, create a timeline for completion, and schedule follow-ups.
Tip 7: Reflect on Your Participation
It might not be feasible to reflect on every single meeting, especially if you're someone who's back-to-back with calls.
So, reserve this tip for those important meetings - where you're presenting a big idea, driving the agenda, or perhaps moderating a discussion with higher-ups.
After such a meeting, set aside some time to review your performance. Ask yourself, "Was I prepared? Did I articulate my points effectively? Were my questions insightful?" It's like a football player reviewing a match video, checking every pass, every goal, and every miss.
Take note of things you did well and give yourself a pat on the back. But more importantly, identify aspects you could have handled better.
Perhaps you needed more data to back your points, or maybe your conclusion could have been more compelling.
Just as a footballer works on his weak foot or a pilot refines his landing technique, work on these areas for improvement.
Tip 8: Wudpecker - The AI-Powered Tool
The previous 7 tips can skyrocket your meeting productivity. However, it can be overwhelming to try everything at once. AI meeting tools like Wudpecker can make help you implement the tips easier.
Wudpecker.io is an AI meeting tool that records, transcribes, and summarizes your meetings. It is built extract insights with simple prompts and questions.
- Can extract insights despite the meeting length
- Offers quality summaries and transcripts, making it easy to review meetings and find important insights quickly
- Transcription available in 100+ languages
- Records calls for later reference and sharing with remote team members
- Allows users to create snippets from recordings, making it easy to share important sections of a meeting with others
- Recognizes speakers during the meeting and separates their dialogue in the transcript, making it easy to follow along and attribute comments to the correct person
With these features, Wudpecker can help you work on the mentioned tips.
Active Participation: With Wudpecker taking care of note-taking, you are free to actively participate in the discussion. It's like having an efficient secretary jotting down the minutes of the meeting while you network and contribute your ideas freely.
Manage Distractions: Wudpecker records and transcribes the meeting, so if you miss something due to a brief distraction, you can quickly catch up. It's like having a video recording of a live sports game - even if you miss a crucial play, you can always rewind and watch it again.
Summarize and Recap: Wudpecker automatically generates a summary of the meeting. It's as if you have a skilled editor who condenses a lengthy novel into a concise and engaging summary. It saves you time and ensures you don't miss any important points.
Implement Actionable Points: Wudpecker doesn't just help you note down action points; it also allows you to assign tasks, create a timeline, and schedule follow-ups, all within the same platform. It's like having a project management tool built into your meeting software.
Reflect on Your Participation: With Wudpecker, you have a transcript and recording of the meeting at your disposal. It allows you to reflect on your performance without relying solely on memory. It's like having a replay of a chess match, letting you analyze your moves and strategize for future games.
In the bustling cityscape of online meetings, boosting productivity is the name of the game. Implementing these strategies, culminating in the use of Wudpecker, ensures that you're not just part of the crowd, but leading the march towards increased productivity. So, roll up your sleeves and prepare for a more efficient, productive professional life!