Using SaaS to Pump Up Enterprise Meetings

by Fisher Zhang on July 30, 2013 and last updated on August 30, 2018

This is a guest post by Eliza Wright, a marketing manager for Lucid Software, creator of Lucidchart and Lucidpress.

Lucidchart employees kicking off a rooftop meeting

Lucidchart employees settling down for a lunch meeting

If you work in the corporate world, you’re all too familiar with meetings, whether they focus on quarterly reviews, yearly planning, team building exercises, or something else entirely. Meetings are the bane of our collective existence, right?

Not necessarily. Bad meetings should be abolished, of course. But good meetings can grow your business, inform your board and colleagues of recent events, and maintain enthusiasm and energy across the entire company. Here are a few ways you can turn your bad meetings good with the help of collaborative online products.

1. Keep it short

Meetings become long and boring when the presenter or facilitator bumbles around at the beginning or the end, trying to gather his thoughts, distribute handouts, power up computers and projectors, and wrap everything up in a succinct fashion. Collaborative solutions like Lucidchart and Smartsheet are perfect for assembling all of your diagrams or spreadsheets in one place. Attendees can access the documents with a click of a button from any device with online access, whether that’s a tablet, iPhone, or laptop. As a phone and tablet application, Convene quickly and easily distributes a modern-day board pack to meeting attendants — plus, it supports a variety of file types. These solutions may even eliminate the need for a projection screen, since you’re all on the same page (metaphorically and literally).

2. Increase transparency and accessibility

When executives try to hide or sugarcoat important details about their company, the fear and deception is palpable. Avoid this by openly sharing source documents, warts and all, during key meetings. Collaborative applications like Convene allow presenters to easily share key docs and go through the data step by step. This obvious transparency will send a message to the entire organization that challenges and accolades are handled the same way: with sensitivity, openness, and humility. Using modern tools to share documentation also enables fast sending, reading, and analysis of crucial figures — no more scrambling to find a printed version in a filing cabinet or buried somewhere on your desk.

3. Switch up the location

At Lucidchart, we have meetings in various breakout rooms, our conference room space, and even on the roof.

 

ceo_bbq

Karl Sun, Lucidchart’s CEO and co-founder, grills some patties before a casual lunch meeting on the company’s rooftop.

By varying the physical location of a meeting, you’re mentally pulling your participants away from the daily grind and into a better mindset for brainstorming, creative thinking, and open discussion. Collaborative applications are designed to be used by multiple users at the same time, so time zone discrepancies are easy to manage. Another bonus is that most SaaS and downloaded apps can be used on multiple devices, like laptops, tablets, and even phones. Now, you can finally cut the cord to your desktop computer!

4. Cut the fat

Bloat. Fat. Fluff. Call it whatever you like, but just get rid of it! Fat accumulates when meeting attendees are bored, distracted, or contentious. These participants will invariably push your meeting off-target and waste everyone’s time. To combat the fat, try publishing an agenda with the top meeting objectives, then distributing to all of your attendees. If you really want to play hardball, select a chair who’s in charge of driving the agenda items and keeping everyone focused. In Convene, you can take detailed minutes and notes that will carry over to next time, so accountability is always top of mind. It’s also helpful to make your presentations interactive when possible. In apps like Convene, Lucidchart, and Google Docs, you can use color-coded glows or a digital pointer to smoothly guide discussion and keep attendants engaged.

Whether you prefer downloaded applications or cloud-based tools, collaborative is the way to go. Do you have any tips for more productive meetings?

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