Do you spend an alarming portion of your day or week in workplace meetings?
We feel that pain!
Communicating in today’s workplace happens in a lot of different ways. Some of the most common methods include:
- Face-to-face meetings
- Virtual meetings
- Chat tools
While each serves a purpose, depending on what you need to share, each has drawbacks as well.
Our research found that the majority of employees feel that their company communications don’t send a clear message and that leaders don’t communicate in a way that’s best for employees. That can have a huge impact on productivity, employee engagement, and even job performance.
A big culprit? Too many meetings.
How meetings disrupt work
That’s not to say that meetings are inherently bad or unproductive. Sometimes a face-to-face meeting is the best way to communicate. Sitting down, talking through ideas, and making decisions works great in a number of situations.
Unfortunately, because it works some of the time, many companies tend to use it ALL the time.
This approach isn’t always possible. Even with virtual meeting options, it can be difficult to schedule due to time zone constraints and limited availability on people’s already busy calendars.
Sometimes it can even take longer to schedule a meeting with a busy group of stakeholders than the meeting itself.
Meetings also present some other, less obvious challenges such as:
- People talking over each other
- Quiet people don’t always speak up
- People multi-tasking or not engaged
- Hearing, “Sorry, I have to run to another meeting”
How many times have you been in a meeting where two or three people dominated the conversation and everyone else had to fight to have their voice heard? Not everyone has a personality that lends itself to interrupting and speaking up, especially in group settings or with leadership.
Some people also need more time to process information before offering ideas or counterpoints. They may have great things to share, but a meeting may not be the best venue for them to do it.
Additionally, we’ve all been in meetings where at least some of the attendees are checking their phones or working on something else.
Perhaps they didn’t really need to be in the meeting. Or maybe only a small portion of the hour-long meeting was actually relevant to them. Either way, it probably wasn’t an effective use of their time.
Ironically, another drawback with meetings happens when they are going great. Have you ever been in the middle of a good discussion only to have it cut short because the time is up? You might only need 10-20 more minutes, but instead, because people have other commitments, you have to stop and try to pick up where you left off at another time.
Between trying to find time on everyone’s calendar again and getting them all back on the same page, it’s almost impossible to get back in the flow. Many great ideas may have been lost in the time between meetings.
Ditch unnecessary meetings with video
Despite all these drawbacks, most organizations continue to schedule unnecessary meetings.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You and your team can ditch those meetings with video. You’ll increase engagement and productivity — and cut down on wasted time. Research bears this out. In fact, we found that 48% of employees consider video the most engaging form of communication.
But aren’t videos a lot of work?
I know what you might be thinking… if I’ve never made a video, how is learning to do that going to save more time than actually having the meeting? That’s a normal reaction, and you’re not alone. These fears can stem from the belief that:
- Videos need to look perfect to be effective
- Videos always take a lot of time to make
- Videos will be hard to monitor and keep up-to-date over time
- Videos require a lot of prep, like scripting and storyboards
While in some cases all of the above can be true, in most workplace communication situations, you don’t need to prepare any more for making a video than you would to have a meeting.
Snagit is a fantastic all-in-one capture tool that can help you easily capture or record your screen and make simple edits.
Additionally, Snagit gives you a simple way to record your voice and screen (or webcam) at the same time, making creating great-looking informational videos an absolute breeze.
And remember, you’re not making the next Hollywood blockbuster. It doesn’t have to be perfect.These types of videos are usually intended for a small group of people and have a relatively short shelf life.
Often, it can be as easy as opening up a slide deck or a spreadsheet and simply talking over it while recording. If you make a mistake, just keep going. You can easily cut out the really egregious ones when you’re finished.
Benefits of using video to replace meetings
Let’s take a look at a quick example of how this concept actually works.
Pretty simple, right? We think so, too. That’s why our teams at TechSmith have leaned on this model and eliminated a ton of meetings that clutter our calendars.
At times, you may still want to have a meeting after the initial web-based discussion. If that’s the case, you can now jump straight into the decision-making mode rather than spending the first half of the meeting having someone present information or data and answering questions.
When this happens, guess what? You just did a “flipped meeting.” This is another great technique for more effective meetings, which simply means sharing out information in advance so that everyone comes to a meeting more prepared.
However, oftentimes you will find that you can accomplish everything you need through a web-based video discussion, and can skip the meeting all together!
7 benefits of video-based discussions
After using this technique more and more at TechSmith for things like status updates, research findings, and strategy proposals, here are the top seven benefits we have seen:
1. Everyone gets an equal voice
Having a video-based discussion allows even the softest-spoken of colleagues to chime in whenever they have something to contribute. With no one else to content with in real time, all viewers can leave comments as needed.
2. Everyone can view the content when and where it’s convenient to them
No more scrambling to find a meeting room or struggling to find a calendar slot that works for everyone. With video, each team member can watch the information when it’s most convenient for them, and they don’t have to feel unprepared for an in-person meeting if their schedule is busy.
3. It allows people time to digest the content before they respond
Sometimes, it can be hard to give immediate feedback during a meeting. You might need time to let the content sink in and maybe review it before voicing your opinion. Asynchronous video solves that problem!
4. It documents and archives the conversation in a single place
Don’t you sometimes wish that you could go back and see a recording of everything that was said in an in-person meeting? When you share a video instead, the information lives permanently in an easily accessible format.
5. It allows everyone to have shared context going in
If you do plan to have a follow-up meeting, videos are a great way to give all parties the time and information they need to feel prepared going into it. Plus, that information will be uniformly conveyed.
6. We can make better use of in-person time (if it’s still needed)
When coworkers have a video with great information, we can all make better use of our in-person meetings and not waste time relaying stats for the first time. That is, if an in-person meeting is even needed after a video shareout!
7. We can sometimes replace an entire meeting
If a great video can convey all the information that an in-person meeting would have, why meet at all? Videos can save everyone time and increase productivity.
Unnecessary meetings can wreak havoc on productivity and morale. E-mail and other forms of communication present their own set of challenges as well.
However, video offers a great alternative to the traditional meeting.
Asynchronous communication provides flexibility for all team members and helps them set their ideal schedules. Plus, they can go back and reread or rewatch content as many times as needed to absorb the information.
Not at all! Snagit makes it super easy to take short screen recordings and add simple edits with no experience necessary. For more complex edits, we recommend Camtasia.