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A lot has changed in the business scene since the outbreak of Covid 19. To keep afloat, businesses had to revamp how they operate and employ new strategies to achieve their goals. Meetings, which are an integral part of the workday, are now done differently. Before the Pandemic, business meetings were mostly done face-to-face, but they are now being done virtually.

There is a possibility that the way meetings and other key activities are carried out will not go back to normal even after the pandemic. Read on to learn how business meetings have changed since Covid.

It is easier to see who is contributing

Many businesses have a dedicated space or meeting rooms where ideas are brainstormed and key issues are discussed. During these meetings, some participants are vocal and like to air their opinions, at the same time; others hide in plain sight and offer little or no contribution.

In a virtual meeting room, it is a lot easier to see who is contributing and who is not. With no corners and blind spots to hide, it will be easier to tell if everyone is contributing. What’s more, it will be harder for some participants to dominate the conversation.

Not all meetings are necessary

Since the pandemic, many business leaders have wised up. They now understand that herding everyone to the conference room for a meeting isn’t always the best decision. Of course, meetings are important, but they may hurt the productivity and output of a business when they don’t add any value or are too frequent.

With everyone working from home these days, things that were accomplished via meetings can now be done through wireless presentation, conference calls, or email.

Businesses and organizations that have eliminated unnecessary business meetings can achieve their goals quicker because their teams now have more time to focus on important tasks.

Flexibility in meeting timing

Before Covid, businesses and organizations don’t usually schedule meetings first thing in the morning. They seem to have a specific time of the day they schedule important appointments and meetings.

Since Covid, people have become more flexible. They are now willing to schedule meetings early in the morning or late in the evening.

This has helped a lot of organizations strategize better and adapt to the needs of their teams.

No more marathon work session

Not long ago, it was a norm for teams to have multiple days of planning sessions to brainstorm ways to address their current challenges. These gatherings are a mix of business, pleasure, discussions, team-building exercises, and many more.

Since Covid, most people no longer travel for business. Because of this, many organizations have scraped out long planning sessions and focused on solutions that will help their company reach new heights.

Move value on time

The value for time has never been this high. Businesses and organizations now understand that working from home doesn’t equate always working. To ensure that their employees get as much work done during their working hours, teams now brainstorm, exchange recommendation, and offer feedback during cable-free meetings, which usually lasts for a few hours.

Final note

It is hard to say if things will return to normal or if meetings and other key business activities will be carried out the way they used to. In the meantime, businesses should embrace change and adopt strategies that will guide them into the “new normal”.

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Ah, business meetings: The only phenomena in the known universe that make line-ups at the DMV look like models of efficiency in comparison. According to one estimate, the average professional loses 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings. To put things in perspective, the uncut Lord of the Rings trilogy is only 12 hours long. Think about that for a second: In the time it takes you and your colleagues to set up the projector and argue over who will record the minutes, Frodo can walk to Mount Doom and back two and a half times.

How do you remedy this? Like reaching absolute zero on the thermometer, there’s no known way to achieve a 100% efficient meeting. There are, however, certain steps you can take to make sure you don’t get horribly outpaced by Frodo productivity-wise.

1. Send Out the Agenda With the Same Frequency That Old Navy Sends Out Junk Mail

You can never send out the agenda too many times.

“Is there an agenda for today?” is the question that inevitably kicks off every business meeting. This is why it’s important to send out the agenda a week in advance, and then again four days later. Then, just for good measure, send the agenda out once again the day before the meeting.

This way, if anyone asks if there’s an agenda for the meeting, you can respond, “Yes, is your computer not capable of receiving e-mails?”

When compiling the agenda, always make sure that all deliverables are clearly marked and highlighted in bold. You may also want to consider using larger than normal font sizes. Don’t be afraid to go as high as 22pts.

2. Start On Time No Matter Who Shows Up Late (Unless It’s the President of the Organization or the President of the United States)

Waiting for latecomers is an exercise in futility. Always start on time.

The most common way business meetings chew up time is when someone shows up five minutes late and says, “Oh hey, sorry I’m late. What did I miss?” The next five minutes are then typically spent getting that person all caught up. Just when it looks like the meeting is finally set to move forward, another straggler inevitably wanders in, and the process repeats itself ad nauseam.

The best way to avoid this: Start on time no matter what and refuse to update any latecomers on what they missed. When someone shows up late for a movie, the projectionist doesn’t stop the show to give the late-comer a verbal synopsis. The same thing should apply to meetings.

3. Go Wireless

Although this photo was taken at dusk, the Ubiq Hive represents the dawn of the wireless era.

In today’s BYOD environment, non-wireless presentations can be tricky. In order to accommodate every laptop, the IT technician will have to bring a huge collection of wires and adapters to the conference room (HDMI, VGA, HDMI to VGA, DVI to HDMI, Thunderbolt to HDMI, Lightning to HDMI).

Figuring out which laptop requires which adapter can take longer than the meeting itself. Better to go wireless.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Play Referee

Soccer games would be absolute chaos without referees, and the same thing applies to business meetings. The second someone goes off topic and mentions how crazy last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was, blow a whistle at them and give them a yellow card.

5. Keep Meetings Under 45 Minutes

A business meeting that goes over 45 minutes will test the limits of human endurance.

“The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder,” Alfred Hitchcock famously stated. For business meetings, a slightly different rule applies: Their length should be directly related to the endurance of the bladder of a hamster or hyperactive rodent. Studies show that people begin to check out mentally after 30 minutes. If you go past 45 minutes, whoever is presenting may as well be talking to an empty room.

By implementing some of these steps, we are confident that you can reduce wasted meeting room time from 31 hours per month to 10 hours per month, which should leave you with just enough free time to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy twice or endure a line-up at the DMV.

Additional Reading

Top Tips On Organising Great Meetings at Work
Raise Productivity by Enabling Your Most Important Asset: Your Employees
This Conference Room Equipment Checklist Will Keep Your Meetings On Track
Increasing Efficiency In the Conference Room