A recent survey out of the University of North Carolina asked managers what they thought about meetings at their company. A stunning seven out of 10 said that they believed meetings at their company were inefficient and unproductive. That same survey asked employees what they were doing during their meetings, and again, seven out of 10 admitted they were doing other things during meetings they perceived to be a waste of time.

Today, many meetings are taking place online or with call-in participants. This only serves to make the issue more complicated, as it’s a lot more difficult to gauge body language and non-verbal cues this way. But the online and telephone meeting is a necessary part of modern business life, so meeting solutions are needed. This is why most companies turn to Cisco call manager tools and Cisco Unified Communications software solutions to make meetings run more smoothly. Is there any way to make the modern meeting more productive?

Make Sure Your UC Provider Is the Best

You really need Cisco call manager tools and the right person in charge of it all. There’s nothing worse than frozen screens, audio that no one can quite make out, or even dropped calls in the middle of a meeting. Not only is this frustrating, but it wastes huge amounts of time for everyone involved. Having the right provisioning tools can stop these problems from ever happening in the first place. If you have Cisco call manager tools, it’s easy to manage what’s going on and add or remove people as necessary. If you don’t already have an excellent UC management program, demand one, particularly if you do a lot of remote work.

Plan Ahead

Wherever your meeting is taking place, one of the best ways to make sure it goes smoothly is to have everything set out before you begin. All of us have been in those meetings that were clearly being held just for the sake of having a meeting, not really to get stuff done. Be the one that your company who fights against this. Everyone should be clear about the purpose of the meeting before it ever begins. There should be steps to follow along the way. No meeting should end without clear and actionable items for everyone who attended.

Judge Yourself

If you have the right you UC management tools, you can use something like Cisco call manager tools to call up your last meetings and review them. Having a record of the meeting can let you figure out how meetings are going wrong and brainstorm ways to make them more efficient and productive. You can even use Cisco call manager tools to help you develop a report at the end of each meeting that every attendee can reference. Just looking at these reports can give you an idea of whether the meeting was really of any use or not.

Stick to Time

There’s nothing like a time limit to force you, and everyone else, not to waste a moment. Additionally, if your meetings have a reputation for starting late and wasting a lot of time, people won’t be all that motivated to get there on time or to give it their undivided attention. If you always start on time and always end on time, people have a sense of hope. If they log into the meeting, something will actually get done and it’s worth an investment of time.

If you’re having trouble keeping the meeting on track, make sure you have agenda points laid out in advance. Put a time limit on each agenda point and then stick to it. If everybody gets stuck for too long on one particular area, move on. If there’s time at the end of the meeting, you can always come back to it. Alternatively, you might need to schedule a meeting just to deal with that point. If you keep moving, you’re much more likely to keep attendees engaged and interested from start to finish.

Business meetings have a bad reputation but it doesn’t have to be that way. Your business will thrive if you take steps to make your meetings productive.

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