Some time last week my business partner, Itai, and I scheduled a meeting for yesterday afternoon. I am the one who actually requested for the meeting in the hope that we would discuss some business together in person. If I remember well, I actually said, “Let’s meet up.”; something we hardly do because we’re all for virtual meetings. I prepared for the meeting over the weekend and the only thing left was to sit down with Itai and get that productive conversation going.
Yesterday, day of the meeting, came. You know how Mondays are. For some reason I had a special kind of tsunami going on with mine. Not that I was surprised. This is what usually happens when I take up work over the weekend – call it getting to excited with my “FREE” time? I don’t know. Anyway, towards mid morning, I realized there was going to be a problem. I wasn’t going to be able to meet up with Itai in the afternoon anymore. If I was, the only way the meeting was going to be possible was if the following happened:
- Disappear from my office location.
- Reappear at meeting location
- Go through meeting with Itai
- Disappear from meeting location
- Reappear at my office location
All of this had to take place in the same of an hour – the scheduled length of time assigned to my meeting with Itai. Now, I’m sure many of you already know, Itai and I already work virtually. Our working locations are far apart from each other. Maybe 20-25 minutes drive one-way. So clearly there was no way all those events were going to fit perfectly into an hour. I had to cancel our appointment. But don’t get worried just yet. Because the only thing I cancelled was the actual meet up. The meeting itself was going to go on. All I needed was assurance from Itai that this was OK and he would be ready for the meeting – and I got it. That’s it. As virtual workers, we understand, oh so well, that life happens and, for one reason or the other, sometimes we just can’t be in a certain place at a certain time.
So I couldn’t meet up with Itai because I was afraid the commute time would creep into the actual productive time that was supposed to be spent in the meeting itself. This is because I had so much work in front of me I couldn’t take out time out of this to get into the commute. I cut out the commute and left the meeting at its scheduled time. The only thing we had to do was to make sure we were available at that time on Skype ready for the conversation. Tell me, how hard is that? Within 50 minutes, our conversation was done and all action points had been laid out. Afterwards, we both got back to what we were doing. No leaving a building. No looking for parking meter guys. No looking for a taxi to take me back to the office. No traffic. Just simple transition from one task to another whilst also incorporating new deliverables stemming from the conversation.
That’s how our meetings go about here 🙂 – well, most of the times. Just like any other in person meeting:We schedule a date and time for the meeting, set an agenda and show up on time. Now, what if I told you that Itai and I only met once in person in 2017 for, about 3 minutes to handover some paperwork? Yes! But that never stopped us from working together and getting things done for our clients. We are so big on using technology to increase efficiency and are always looking for ways we can improve on this. Skype, email & WhatsApp.
You will be surprised how much work you can get done just by doing away with some of the meet ups you find yourself in. Sometimes we tend to meet up for discussions that could easily and quickly be had over the phone. If you are so keen on seeing a face, use Skype Video Calling (bandwidth permitting). I understand there is something about meeting up in person that just give the meeting some kind of oomph for many. But it’s high time you started asking yourself, “Is meeting up really necessary?” “Is this something we can discuss over the phone?” “How can I show the person on the other end of the line what I mean when it’s on my screen and they are not here?” These are just some of the many concerns people have. And this is what some people (who have the guts to say it out loud), actually think about meetings…
But I can tell you, IT IS POSSIBLE to succeed with virtual meetings. Skype has screen share option that allows you to share what you are seeing on your desktop with the person on the other end of the line. If you were to go meet up with the person, how much commute time would you need? Isn’t this time you will need in your day to work on other things in your business? Do you usually record your meetings and are worried this may not happen with your virtual meeting? Calls can be recorded too – even on Skype!
So what am I getting at? Unless it is absolutely necessary that you do so, avoid in-person meetings especially within your teams. If you are going to have them, make them short and to the point. Have an agenda and stick to it. Otherwise, pick up the phone and get going with those discussions. I think virtual meetings should be treated like any other. If well structured, they bring out the same, if not better results.
I would like to find out from you though, how do you like your meetings? Vote in the poll below and tell me why in the comments!
I am a virtual assistant from Zimbabwe specialising in helping businesses efficiently serve, help, support and care for their clients through efficient customer contact management on the World Wide Web. My customer care experience comes from diverse industries and markets but most know me from my support in the Information Technology space. Visit my LinkedIn Profile to find out more about me!