What Is Meeting Management and Why Do You Need Meeting Management Software?

25 May 2022

If you are reading this, you have likely felt the frustration of being stuck in endless, pointless meetings or that a meeting you have set up conflicted with one that your colleague arranged at the same time... In a hybrid workplace, where interactions are wanted but not always well organized and productive, companies need to adapt to the new way of work and implement solutions that make everybody's lives easier. With the onset of the pandemic, the number of meetings has increased by 12.9%. Furthermore, with the introduction of remote work, the significance of meetings is higher than ever. Additionally, meeting room management has become a complicated affair. Let's dive deeper into what this means and how you can play this to your advantage.

What Is Meeting Management?

Meeting Management is the process of managing the stages and components of the entire meeting process. The actions that make meetings successful before, during, and after the meeting are of equal importance. Neglecting any piece of the meeting management process can lead to poor results and additional meetings.

The Difference Between Meeting Management and Meeting Room Management

While meeting management refers to orchestrating a meeting in order to boost efficiency and decision-making, the meeting room management is the process that an organization can introduce to improve the management of its meeting spaces. Practices that can make this process more structured and less chaotic go hand in hand with the implementation of a room booking system that will enhance flexibility and productivity inside the organization.

Why Is Meeting Management Important?

Meetings, in essence, are meant to boost productivity and efficiency. When everyone is on the same page and aware of what should be done, even the most challenging tasks can be completed. Meeting management becomes very important because: 

You Won't Waste Time in Unproductive Meetings

We often find ourselves stuck at unproductive meetings, week after week. Monthly attended meetings per month by an employee raises at 62 hours, while the average executive spends 18 hours a week at meetings. Almost half of all attendees say that meetings are the number one time-waster at work, while 93% of the meeting goers would daydream during this time and 39% even fall asleep.

You Won't Waste Money in Badly-Planned Meetings

Not only can meetings be a waste of time, but if not planned efficiently, they’re actually a waste of money, too. A study of time budgeting found that a single weekly meeting of mid-level managers cost an organization $15M a year!

You Will Make Decisions Fast and Efficiently

When planned thoroughly, a good meeting will get you to your desired results. Make sure you state the purpose of the meeting in the agenda and get on board only the required people so that you gain efficiency and speed in making decisions aligned with the scope of the meeting.

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Effective Meeting Management: Do’s and Don'ts

Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t get rid of the meetings, especially in the hybrid working model that most of the companies have already adopted. Be it hybrid, or face-to-face it’s important to make them as useful and constructive as possible. Here are some meeting management tips to enhance productivity and creativity:

Best Meeting Management Practices

Define the Purpose and Create the Meeting Agenda

Before you send out invitations and reserve meeting space, take a few moments to think about the objective of the meeting. Is there an end result you’re hoping to get from this meeting? Make sure that the objective is clearly identified in your meeting invite so that attendees are all on the same page and can add ideas about what needs to be discussed prior to the meeting. Put all the topics you would like to address in the agenda before sending the invite.

Consider Who to Invite

When sending out a meeting invite, think about who really needs to be in attendance to avoid wasting anyone’s time. On the other hand, don’t forget anyone either. If you’re making an announcement, make sure everyone who will be affected is at the meeting to avoid rumors being spread or someone feeling left out of the discussion.

Follow the Meeting Schedule

Send out the invite at least three days in advance so that attendees can provide feedback about what needs to be discussed at the meeting. Create a realistic schedule and adhere to it. Set specific time slots for each one and make it clear who is to lead that topic of discussion. Make sure all attendees are aware of the schedule so that it doesn’t come as a surprise when you ask them to move to the next topic.

Choose Topics That Affect All Attendees

Make sure that the meeting focuses on topics relevant to all attendees, and try to keep the entire meeting to five topics or less. You can even create topics based on feedback from attendees so that you know exactly what they want to discuss to avoid any irrelevant topics being brought up.

Allow Everyone to Have an Equal Voice

If you notice that someone is speaking too often or for too long, it is your job as the meeting coordinator to make sure everyone’s voice is heard in the allotted time you have. You can simply tell the person that you appreciate his or her input but that you also need input from the rest of the group. Stating ground rules about open discussions beforehand also helps get everyone on the same page.

Send a Follow-up Email

It’s really easy for attendees to forget decisions made in a meeting as soon as they get back to their desks. As the meeting planner, send out a follow-up email within 24 hours of the meeting to highlight key decisions that were made and who would be held accountable for those decisions. Let’s say the group decided to email a client about a specific topic. Who was supposed to send out that email? And was anyone else involved in getting information to that person? These decisions need to be thoughtfully laid out to avoid any confusion about what was discussed in the meeting.

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Common Meeting Management Mistakes

In order to gain efficiency, make sure to avoid some common mistakes, such as:

Being Late for Meetings

Late arrivals can eat up 5 to 10 minutes of the meeting, or in most cases – make the meeting 10 minutes longer. Waiting up for people who are habitually late is unfair to those who show up on time. So... don’t wait for them! Starting the meeting the minute it’s scheduled to begin sends a clear message to the latecomers, and develops a reputation for promptness.

Inviting People That Are Not Concerned With the Subjects on the Agenda

Ask yourself if all the people you want to invite really need to attend the meeting? Most of the time, a brief summary by email will work just as well. If you can reduce a half-hour meeting’s attendee list by just two people whose presence isn’t essential, that’s an hour of productive time returned to the company. 

The purpose of meetings is to make decisions, not to simply share information. It’s easy to view the meeting as a waste of time when attendees don’t feel the discussed topic is relevant to them.

Losing Focus

For some reason, at every meeting, there seems to be that one person who tends to go off telling stories not connected to the discussed topic in any way. And while storytelling is not generally bad, an off-topic talk at a meeting can really drag the session.

The hardest task to accomplish leading a group of people is to get them to focus. Whether it’s the organizer or any of the participants, someone should always take the responsibility of guiding the meeting back to the assigned topics and bringing back the focus.

Multitasking

Multitasking is a testament to our modern, connected life. But it is taking its toll. More frighteningly, Harvard Business Review reports that multitasking leads to a 40% drop in productivity and a loss of 10 IQ points! Nowhere is the problem more obvious than in the meeting rooms where email, texts, and web browsing can have a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line. 

So, how to prevent participants from multitasking at meetings?

  • Assign roles for the meeting. Who will facilitate? Who will take minutes? Who will take notes? When each person is assigned a job, meetings are more focused and productive. 
  • Provide a timed agenda. Everyone’s time is valuable, so each person needs to focus on the assigned topics and problems. The timed agenda can also discourage sidebar conversations, or working on problems that the group isn’t prepared to address.
  • Have a phone/computer parking lot. And encourage people to use it. It is estimated that employees who use smartphones and computers are distracted on average after every 10 minutes. Unless the computer is absolutely necessary for the meeting, turn it off.

Keeping Too Long Meetings

It’s very likely that 30 minutes into the meeting, your team’s attention is not as sharp as at the beginning. It’s not that they are bored or easily distracted – it’s the simple fact that there is a lot of information to process. The longer the meeting, the more effort it will take to keep up the energy and discussion.

Having short meetings is an essential component to improving your team’s efficiency. An agenda tends to expand to whatever time limit is set for a particular meeting, so feel free to give your meetings a “hard stop” whenever it feels right.

52 minutes is generally the longest time workers can remain truly engaged. Do not schedule any meeting to last longer than an hour. People appreciate it when you understand that their time is valuable.

Forgetting About Q&As Session

The Q&A session is often pushed to the end of a meeting, leaving just a couple of minutes for it. However, this segment is just as important as the rest of the meeting. When a concrete action plan is set up at the meeting, but follow-up questions are left unanswered, the result can spell disaster.

To ensure more meaningful engagement, consider extending the Q&A session to match the length of the meeting. You can also try collecting the questions about the topic in advance. This can help on several levels: for example, the manager can plan their talk more effectively, and the team will have the time to consider ideas instead of scrambling to come up with questions at the end of a meeting.

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What Is A Meeting Management Software?

Meeting room booking systems are primarily used for planning out and inviting others to meetings such as team meetings, sales calls, one-on-ones, brainstorming sessions, and others. They are also used by members and community managers of co-working spaces for reserving rooms, desks, designated call areas, and quiet spaces.The main idea is to take out the guesswork and streamline the meeting room booking process.

The Benefits of a Meeting Management Software Are Countless:

  • It provides an overview of company conference rooms, along with scheduled meeting times and details -  which improve workplace efficiency while preventing double bookings or other situations where meeting spaces and resources are unavailable at critical moments. 
  • It allows users with the appropriate permissions to book available meeting rooms, modify event details, and invite attendees -  for example, office managers can program these platforms with user permissions and other restrictions to ensure the appropriate usage of these valuable resources.
  • It equips administrators, such as office managers, with tools to modify user permissions, room and resource details, and specific meeting information - some apps are able to provide analytics features to offer insight into shared space usage and help refine room scheduling protocol.
  • It syncs with organizer and attendee calendar and/or email tools.
  • It integrates with or share features of visitor management software to check in and track information about meeting attendees, particularly those from outside the company.

How Does Meeting Management Software Work?

Meeting management software applications provide simple tools for reserving conference rooms and other spaces or resources within an office or shared workplace. A meeting management software ensures that organizers and attendees have the necessary accommodations for important meetings, and at the same time, office managers maintain an accurate, up-to-date view of how company resources are being utilized.

A centralized meeting management system should operate here and now, offering real-time availability and next availability metrics, while making it possible to book a meeting room on multiple tools like email, Teams, intranet etc. After submitting a reservation request, one should get a confirmation email. At the same time, the people invited in the meeting which do not have availability should be able to cancel and/or to reschedule the meeting with full visibility on the next available slot for a specific meeting room. The process needs to be simple and user-friendly for everyone. The digital display (signage) is helpful as a point of reconfirmation as well as for the company's brand portioning strategy, telling the participants - internal or external - they’re in the right place, at the right time.

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5 Signs You Need a Meeting Management Software

High No-Show Rate

"Ghost bookings” are a common occurrence. This happens when employees book a slot for a meeting room. However, the meetings get rescheduled or canceled, resulting in no-shows. So, other teams who could have utilized the space end up using a room either too small or big for their requirements.

In such a case, deploying a meeting room booking software can automatically push abandoned spaces back to the available pool. This way, organizations can fully make use of the rooms that appear reserved but are unoccupied.

Many Double Bookings

Additionally, intuitive meeting room booking software can also tackle another room scheduling challenge of “double-booking.” This is when two teams simultaneously arrive at the same room for a pre-scheduled meeting. Since meeting room booking software displays bookings and scheduling changes in real-time, it eliminates the scope of ambiguity and confusion.

Wrong Service Deliveries To Meetings

To make sure that  both facility managers and employees are quickly able to find the room that asked for a coffee or water, you might want to consider giving unique names to your meeting rooms. Names act as a point of confirmation. Also, using digital signage to mark the name of the room, who is occupying it and the interval make it even less prone to error when trying to find it.

Too Many Empty Meeting Rooms

A meeting room remains unoccupied for more than 5 hours in a standard 8-hour on-site workday. On average, meeting rooms sit empty for more than 70% of the day. As companies adopt hybrid work models, office premises will remain emptier on specific days, which means unutilized space will multiply.

Companies can carefully monitor which room is occupied and when with modern-day meeting room booking software. This, in turn, helps IT managers equip facility managers with actionable data on managing meeting spaces.

Missing Space Usage Insights

Besides, a meeting room booking software empowers facility managers with in-depth insights on room occupancy and utilization. This way, organizations develop a comprehensive space management usage, making informed decisions in allocating space, creating hot-desking spaces, etc. Without real-time data from meeting room booking software, companies can't  use their meeting rooms adequately.

Meeting room management can be a challenge when not done right. Meeting room booking software can transform how organizations collaborate, use office space, and ensure employee productivity and satisfaction. With the right meeting room management software you are able to streamline meetings and pave the way for a safe, flexible, and seamless workplace experience.

 

Topics: Meeting booking system, Meeting room management, Hybrid Workforce

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