An unproductive meeting wastes time and money and leads to frustration, sometimes on a massive scale. 

By Lieven Bertier, Director of GTM Strategy & Services at Barco

As the owner of a start-up or established small business, you wear many hats. The pressures of optimizing your business for success are massive, particularly in the early stages. What if you could take some simple steps to leverage technology to your advantage?

The American Institute of Stress names the workplace as one of the most significant sources of stress, to no one’s surprise. The measurable impact of workplace stress on business owners and employees is unexpectedly significant, particularly in a growing business where staff is stretched thin. Driven by the demands of a competitive environment, work-life stress can take a toll and even be life-threatening, manifesting in increased rates of heart attacks, hypertension and other emotional and physical disorders.

To take it one step further, research shows this pain and stress is most acute in conference and meeting rooms. Unproductive meetings waste time and money and lead to frustration, sometimes on a massive scale. There are 60,000,000 knowledge workers United States who spend more than 8.5 hours per week in meetings.  This translates into more than 440 meeting hours per year or a total of 11 weeks in a potentially anxiety-inducing meeting environment.

As a business owner, it is in your best interest to allocate IT dollars to minimizing meeting woes and maximizing productivity. The good news is simple solutions can go a long way.  Understanding your options and how to make strategic IT investments can help you take actionable steps to reduce meeting anxiety.

Meeting participants, including both internal employees as well as external customers, appreciate working with a business that offers simple and consistent technology solutions; this translates to productive business relationships that are less stressful and significantly easier to maintain. What simple steps can you take to minimize meeting technology stress?

Here are four best practices to consider:

  • Ensure that Everyone & Everything Plays Nicely Together: Smart yet simple collaboration and presentation technology solutions can be the difference for meeting effectiveness and stress reduction.  When evaluating presentation offerings, ensure that your chosen solutions will work seamlessly with the IT investments you’ve already made.  As the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and mobile culture expands in the workplace, it is essential that everyone on the team, as well as customers, have confidence that the presentation solution will work effortlessly to keep the meeting on track, regardless of the type of device brought into the conference room. Keeping meetings and technology simple and concise can help reduce unnecessary stress from meetings that run too long or experience technical difficulties.
  • Eliminate the Learning Curve: When it comes to presentation technology, choose a solution that requires little to no technical support, one that can be easily and intuitively leveraged by all employees (remember – technical skill levels vary widely). As a small business owner, you may very well be the IT department so technology solutions need to be user-friendly and require minimal troubleshooting, making you look good.
  • Allow for a Showstopper: Research shows that adding multimedia elements to a presentation enhances meeting effectiveness and engages participants in a more compelling and interactive manner.  Actively engage meeting participants and wow your audience as a presenter every time.  As you look to impress and excite your employees and your customers, invest in affordable technology that will allow you to deliver compelling, creative and, dare we say, entertaining presentations. It is possible!
  • Meeting the Needs of a Mobile Workforce: The idea that the world is our workplace is a reality of how we work in this century. As a small business owner, your mobile device is your constant connection to key stakeholders, including customers, employees, legal counsel and even your financial advisor.  It is no longer a “nice to have” for technology to support mobile working – it is an absolute requirement.  As you evaluate collaboration solutions, do not overlook adapting technology to the mobile worker and the myriad of mobile and portable devices.  And, you do not have to sacrifice security to accommodate that need.

While there is no magic solution that will eliminate stress from our lives, there are simple meeting room measures you can take to reduce the angst of the workplace.  Understanding the triggers and, more importantly, the available solutions can lead to  more satisfying and productive meeting experiences.  No matter which industry you serve or where you are in the lifecycle of your business, adopting these insights and solutions into your meeting room environment will help you on the road to success.

Lieven Bertier is the director of GTM Strategy & Services at Barco.

Meeting stock photo by fizkes/Shutterstock