They say that there are two things in life you can’t escape from: death, and taxes. To this, I would add meetings, that oft pilloried institution ubiquitous in every business large or small. The vast majority of meetings have become synonymous with inefficiency, boredom, and endless discussions leading nowhere. We dread attending them. Yet for all the time and resources they waste, meetings remain an inescapable part of business culture.
Read that again.
You CANNOT escape your next meeting.
Let that sink in.
Just realizing this presents us with an incredible opportunity.
Some of the best innovations and solutions come from learning to deal with an unavoidable situation.
You cannot escape your next meeting. But you can make it more productive, so it wastes less of your precious time. It’s possible. If you BYOD.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is the rising trend of employees using their personal devices for work purposes. If you’re checking work email on your own smartphone, you’re already riding the BYOD wave. We’ll show you how to up your BYOD game for more productive and effective meetings.
BYOD Hack 1: Schrödinger’s Meeting
Meetings should last no more than 45 minutes in order to make the most of everyone’s short attention spans. But some issues do need more time to hammer out the details, and not everyone has the time or sanity to endure another meeting with no end in sight.
Enter Schrödinger’s Meeting: the new way to leave a meeting and yet be present. With your smartphone, it’s now easier than ever to join Skype business calls whether you’re in or out of the office. Using your own device also means less reliance on clunky, over-complicated video conference equipment that only gets in the way of your meeting.
How to execute it:
Inform key personnel in advance that you have an urgent matter to attend to outside the 45 minute window, but that you’d be happy to remain in the call using your smartphone. Here’s an exact script you can modify for your needs.
“Hi (insert personnel name), about the meeting later, let’s try to stay focused and end in 45 minutes as I have (insert another urgent priority) later. In case the meeting doesn’t finish on time, I’ll need to leave, but will still be in the call with Skype on my phone. Thanks!”
The beauty of this is it puts pressure on key stakeholders to keep meetings short and on target, while making you look dedicated and professional.
BYOD Hack 2: Sync Your Reminders
Speaking about professional, nothing screams “unprofessional” louder than missing a meeting. Furthermore, starting meetings on time without having to wait for latecomers is critical to improving meeting productivity.
Microsoft Outlook and other popular business tools do alert you when you have an upcoming meeting, but unless you’re constantly lugging around your work PC or laptop, chances are you’ll miss the reminders.
How to execute:
We recommend using a calendar app on your phone. This way, you’ll get all your meeting reminders synced to your personal device, and never miss them again. Again, the options are plentiful in the calendar app landscape, and most will allow syncing with your office email software.
BYOD Hack 3: Find and Share Files Fast
One of the reasons meetings are so unproductive is that we spend too much time hunting down files that get lost in a black-hole over time. It comes down to mislabeling, and lack of centralized storage that’s easily accessible.
If being sentenced to a lifetime of missing files in your meetings is too terrifying to contemplate, bringing your own device to work and connecting it to a shared cloud storage is the solution for you. Val Sigler experienced the difference first-hand when using his own device for work, and he’s never gone back. When you start to find your files quicker and share them faster, you’ll be amazed how smooth and productive your meetings are.
How to execute:
There are several popular cloud platforms, many of which let you try their unique features risk-free in a trial subscription. So get your feet wet and see what fits your needs best!
One thing’s for sure. When you go BYOD, business without boundaries is no longer a pipedream. It’s the new reality.
Also published on Medium.