Colleagues in London, boss in Berlin – have your meetings anywhere

Presented by: Sennheiser

#industry-insights

Whether attendees are in their home office, co-working space or simply at different company locations, thanks to technological advances, web-based conferences are becoming more and more frequent.

Every day, calendars are full of meetings held in specially furnished and equipped rooms. Issues are aired, presentations given and creative ideas brainstormed.

That's when it can be especially useful to get out of your chair and move around the room. One moment you could be sitting down, the next you could be presenting ideas or putting up suggestions on a flipchart.

More and more meetings are taking place across multiple sites
For those attending, this freer format has many advantages. In fact, the classic set-up – a group of people in one place holding a meeting together – is increasingly rare these days. In its place, a new meeting culture has developed, with some of the attendees gathered in one room, and the rest connected remotely via applications such as Skype for Business. The main reasons for this are the significant savings in cost and time. Online meetings eliminate the need to travel back and forth to different offices, partners and customers, whether nationally or internationally.

The challenges of the new meeting formats
Imagine the following scenario. You work in an international company. Every week, you have meetings with colleagues at different sites where you can share documents online thanks to a video conferencing system and the software that goes with it. Top priority are effective collaboration and a free exchange of ideas.

Today a brainstorming session about a new product is on the agenda and you've invited some colleagues to attend. Two colleagues from the UK are connected via a conference system. During creative meetings you usually use tools like flipcharts or post-it walls to capture your initial ideas and thoughts. Most likely, you will want to use at least one of these tools during today’s meeting as well.

So you reach for the whiteboard and start to jot down the most important points raised. You ask one of your colleagues from the UK for his opinion. But he doesn't answer. You then turn back towards the microphone and speak to it again. Only then does he tell you that the line was down and he couldn't hear you.

This won't be the only incident of this kind. Whenever someone in the meeting room speaks while being too far away from the microphone, moves around the room, or there is a brief exchange between you and a colleague, your UK colleagues will understand you either poorly or not at all; and you'll have to repeat yourself. Your colleagues in the room will quickly lose focus and reach for their smartphones.

In order to finish the meeting with some semblance of achievement, you and the other people in the room will have no choice but to sit in your seats for the entire duration of the meeting and speak directly towards the microphone so that the sound transmission remains clear. This limits your creative freedom and ensures that the meeting is not nearly as effective as it could have been.

How can you ensure that your web meetings remain focused, efficient and creative?
Establishing certain rules regarding communication is absolutely essential:

  • Ensure that all participants are clear about the agenda and goals of the meeting in advance and are adequately prepared. This prevents important issues from dropping off the agenda.
  • There should be a moderator who leads the meeting and ensures that the agenda is followed and everyone has their say. Videoconferencing, where all participants can see and hear each other, is recommended.
  • All information, documents etc. should be stored in a cloud, so that everyone has access to (and can edit) important documents at any time.

Good sound quality and freedom of movement are vital. Ceiling microphones such as Sennheiser's TeamConnect Ceiling 2 can help.
Its integrated beamforming technology ensures that the microphone automatically adapts itself to whoever is speaking. This ensures optimum intelligibility of speech and 100% freedom of movement for the people in the room.

Efficient and successful meetings result from a mix of good preparation, structure, and the right equipment. Taken together, these ensure optimal meeting conditions. Want to know more and find inspiration for innovative meeting solutions?