While meetings serve a very important purpose, many people find themselves wasting time and desperately searching for alternatives. Fortunately for you, Google Apps provides a ton of options for improving the meeting experience from the planning / scheduling phase to the follow-up.
Below you find a few tips that I find useful when I running an efficient meeting.
Everyone is busy you feel like you do not have time to schedule meetings correctly. Your Google Calendar probably looks like a multi-colored palette of all the day’s happenings, and you’re struggling to find ‘white space’! There is a simple trick, with the “Find a time” feature on Google Calendar, you can easily schedule a meeting time that accommodates all your co-workers’ schedules, too.
When you make a new event in Google Calendar (or open an existing one), simply click on the “Find a time” tab. All you have to do is enter the email addresses of the meeting’s attendees (you can select up to 20), and their calendars will appear on your screen. As a result, you can easily select a time that works for everyone by complying with all their schedules (This feature only works if your guests have shared their calendar with you or if their calendars are public.).
How often do you waste time scrambling through your e-mail or hard drive for documents, presentations, spreadsheets, or other files during a meeting? You can make it easier for yourself, and everyone else – accumulate all the necessary files for the meeting before you even begin. You can easily attach documents to your Google Calendar invite right as you’re drafting it up with the Add Atachment From Google Drive.
The meeting attendees will see these files in the invitation e-mail they receive to the meeting, under the “More details” section in their invite. As a result, you’ll easily be able to access the files pertaining to that particular meeting not only during the meeting itself, but also in the future if you need to double-check something or track something down. All you need to do is click back to that specific date on your calendar, and you’ll see all the files.
Video conferencing has become an increasingly popular medium for holding meetings, conference calls, and other collaborations in the workplace. However, many of the existing tools do not allow multi-person conferencing, and do not offer the ability to collaborate on tasks and/or documents during these calls. Google Hangouts is your best solution to this, and all you need is to set up a Google Apps account. Best of all, it’s free.
Google Hangouts give you the ability to create a Google Doc (or Sheet, Form, Presentation, and / or Drawing) during the Hangout itself! This could be a meeting agenda, action items, or a draft proposal of a piece that’s being discussed on the Hangout. All you have to do is click on ‘Google Drive’ on the left-hand side of your screen, and then simply choose ‘Create Shared Notes.’
A meeting is essentially not efficient if the attendees leave unaware or unclear of what has been done, and what needs to be done. In order to combat this lack of clarity, be sure to mark every agenda item in your meeting minutes as either a follow-up or an outcome. This simple distinction will increase productivity and efficiency all-around. Share the Google Doc meeting minutes with the rest of the meeting guests.
For even better clarity, you can set an action point for who exactly needs to do what. In addition, be sure to track changes on the document if your team members will mark off what they’ve done from the follow-ups. You can also choose whether certain team members will only be able to view, comment, or edit the document.