Eye On Technology: How Meetings Will Become More Collaborative

The lessons of 2020 and early 2021 have made a lasting impact on strategic meeting management. From virtual brainstorming sessions to hybrid events that bring remote and in-person participants together, technology is helping to make meetings more collaborative than ever..

Here’s a look at recent and emerging meeting technologies and how they will support successful SMM outcomes moving forward.

Integrations support collaborative virtual meeting activities

Videoconferences are no longer limited to simple audio and video features. Integrations with platforms like Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams are bringing hands-on collaboration tools and engaging activities to remote teams. Ranging from communication tools to gamified activities and note-taking features, these programs go beyond a simple screen-share to create an immersive, interactive experience.

For example, meeting hosts can use a tool called Mio to connect Slack channels and Zoom Chat so that messaging threads remain consistent across platforms. Any files shared and messages sent during or before the meeting can be reflected in Slack to keep project updates up-to-date.

Mio similarly connects Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Meeting participants don’t need to adapt their workflows based on the host’s tools. Instead, this handy integration works as a middleman to support cross-platform communication and file-sharing.

Other integrations add more functionality and convenience to videoconferences. A team of developers built a tool called Grain to make note-taking and clip-sharing significantly easier.

Using Grain, meeting participants can extract the important parts of longer recordings into shareable clips as short as 30 seconds. It’s also possible to stitch together several clips. For note-takers, the tool can generate a transcript and associate notes with timestamps in the recording. The ability to turn an hours-long call recording into a minute-long highlight reel means attendees or hosts can circulate important meeting content among other stakeholders.

And these are just a few of the integrations that meeting hosts can use to turn basic videoconferences into streamlined workflows that support collaboration before, during and after the event itself.

In-person meetings can leverage cloud-based collaboration tools

Innovative tech can also support in-person meeting formats. After a year of virtual collaboration, the way participants work together in the same room looks markedly different than it did before. Meeting planners can be sure that attendees won’t want to revert back to not-so-collaborative methods from years past — like nominating one person to write notes on an easel paper pad.

That format doesn’t inspire innovation or teamwork. But user-friendly tools that everyone in the room can access from their own devices support authentic collaboration in real-time.

If your meeting participants use Google Workspace — the home of Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and more — you can open up a shared file where everyone can add notes, links and ideas. This makes it easier to save and revisit later, from anywhere.

For a more visual and dynamic workflow, use an online whiteboard tool like MURAL, Sketchboard, Milanote or a similar program. These let teams work with digital sticky notes, drag and drop images onto virtual boards and iterate on ideas in a free-flowing way. From initial brainstorming sessions to post-mortem meetings, these tools promote faster and more efficient collaboration while cutting down on paper waste and clean-up time.

Workspace intelligence solutions help support meeting optimization

Carrying out business through remote meetings has shed light on ways to make the best use of meeting time and space. Workspace intelligence systems help meeting organizers track and optimize many aspects of virtual, in-person and hybrid meetings.

These solutions can collect analytics around virtual meetings, such as meeting duration, dropped calls and spotty videoconference connections. For in-person meetings, sensors can monitor factors like room occupancy levels, traffic flow, light levels and temperature. The use of in-room amenities and tech can also be tracked.

Armed with these insights, meeting planners can better understand what meetings actually look like for their stakeholders. This advanced meeting technology can also be used in conjunction with participant feedback from post-meeting surveys.

Collectively, a broader and deeper approach to collecting meeting data will empower planners to understand attendee behaviors and optimize future events in a way that supports collaboration habits.

Hybrid meetings enable input from a greater number of voices

Travel requirements can significantly limit who attends a meeting — and, by extension, who has a voice in important business conversations.
For many leaders and meeting organizers, a year of remote work has shown that online events can broaden attendance to a wider variety of participants. As in-person meetings start happening more frequently, there’s no need to discard the virtual format.

Instead, a hybrid format promotes the greatest level of accessibility and participant diversity. In-person attendees can collaborate with virtual guests far and wide. Travel costs and logistical restrictions no longer prevent busy professionals from leading or joining important meeting sessions.

Different streaming technologies and AV setups can support various hybrid meeting formats. Whether you’re hosting an on-demand broadcast from a studio setting or a real-time, two-way communication stream, these will help you keep in-person pods and online attendees engaged.

Additionally, all of the aforementioned collaboration tools can be applied to hybrid meeting formats to drive the best engagement and outcomes, for people in the room and onscreen.

For more ideas to make your next virtual meeting a success, partner with us at JTB USA Meetings & Events. Whether you’re looking to drive virtual meeting engagement or augment your next in-person engagement with emerging meeting tech, JTB USA Meetings & Events can help. Contact us to get started.