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How Technology Can Help Keep Business Meetings on Track

Published on 01 May 13
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There’s no doubt that people who work in traditional office environments often spend a large portion of the workweek caught in meetings. In 2010, Socialcast said in America alone, there were more than 11 million business meetings held on a daily basis, which translates to 3 billion meetings per year!

No matter how large or small a business is, occasional meetings are hard to avoid. Luckily, technology can offer a helping hand so meetings are shorter, less frequent and more productive.

Wi-Fi is Essential

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Earlier this spring, Corbin Ball, the founder of Corbin Ball Associates, cited facts stating how 64% of meeting planners said that whether or not a potential venue has free Wi-Fi access plays a role in deciding to host a meeting there.
The rise of netbooks has made it even easier for people to take technology on the go and perform online product demonstrations, bring up spreadsheets or work seamlessly through a business presentation. Whether you’re hosting a meeting to choose a provider of cost accounting software or have gathered employees to discuss the pros and cons of a new company logo and color scheme, free Wi-Fi is a simple amenity that’s becoming more widely available. It could be a determining factor, especially if you’re hosting a meeting outside the office.

Free Note-Taking Apps May Make Things Run More Smoothly

Even basic but labor-intensive tasks like taking notes are easier to manage with help from technology. Free note-taking apps like Evernote have audio recording functionality to help users avoid writer’s cramp, and other options allow for drawings and handwritten reminders.
In the past, yellow legal pads and laptops were the “devices” of choice. But during a meeting where large amounts of information are covered in a short time, it may be useful for people to gravitate towards using tablets along with a notetaking app. Some versions also allow for collaboration and cloud storage.

Hybrid Meetings Are the Way of the Future

Thanks to the popularity of hybrid meetings, employees no longer have to feel restricted to the boundaries of four walls. These events partially occur face-to-face, but also include a virtual component. They are particularly attractive for companies with off-site workers, because they allow a thorough rundown of meeting topics without the financial costs of bringing geographically distant employees to a centralized location.

Also, the Meeting Professionals International organization conducted a study to gauge whether hybrid meetings affected employee attendance. Results found that one quarter of respondents reported higher attendance at hybrid meetings than traditional types.

Although it’s unlikely that technological advancements can universally turn meetings into joyful and highly anticipated occasions, perhaps they can keep things moving forward, making it easier for attendees to focus on a meeting, and get back to other responsibilities more quickly.

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