The Stem Ecosystem Meeting Equity Checklist
It’s once again time for your monthly progress meeting with the department director, and you’re nervous – today’s meeting will likely be the last chance to request the resources you need to overcome a big snag in your team’s project. The project manager shot the idea down in their rush to reassure management that everything is running smoothly, and you’re sitting far enough away from the room’s microphone for it not to make a difference.
We’ve all been there, which is why establishing a principle of meeting equity (the ability of all participants in a meeting to communicate equally) has been this year’s hot topic for executive leadership in their mission to create a more inclusive hybrid meeting format. Meeting inequity has two primary causes: company culture and technology constraints. As an I.T. professional, you may not have much influence over the former, but by implementing the right hybrid meeting checklist, you can ensure that all employees have access to the materials they need to engage in more inclusive meetings.
Lighting, Camera, Action
Video conferencing took off because it presents a ton of advantages over normal conference calls, most of which are dependent on the whole ‘video’ part. While many participants may feel somewhat embarrassed being the subject of a video, research indicates that as many as 61% of employees feel much more included and present when all cameras are switched on.
While it’s up to the company to make it policy for all meetings to require the use of cameras, I.T. departments can take their own steps towards better hybrid meeting equity by ensuring that every employee has ready access to a web-enabled camera. Whether that means supplying each employee with a standardized laptop with a built-in camera rather than a desktop or just supplying easy-to-use plug-and-play USB web cameras to each employee is dependent on the company’s resources and policies.
It’s unnecessary to supply each employee with a 4K ultra HD video streaming setup, but keep in mind that you’ll need a minimum quality camera setup to get all the benefits of videoconferencing. For best results, you’ll need cameras that offer solid image quality (standard HD or 720p), don’t lag too much (30 frames per second is usually more than enough), and offer some software-boosted bells and whistles like auto-focus capabilities.
Upgrade Your Scheduling Software
Stop us if you’ve heard this conversation before at the end of a meeting: “Are you available at 10:30 on the fifth? No? What about 9:45 on the seventh? Ok, what about…”
One of the least productive parts of any meeting is the section dedicated to determining the availability for a follow-up. While many companies have access to rudimentary scheduling software, a major upgrade to consider for any company looking to increase the quality of their meetings is investing in more robust scheduling software.
One of the best options available to circumvent this scheduling dance is automating the process. Companies can integrate scheduling tools like Scheduler for Microsoft 365 that can analyze each participant’s calendar and select a time that is available for everyone. Automated scheduling tools let you focus on the subject at hand and ensure meeting equity by ensuring each participant is available without needing to make sacrifices in order to attend.
Let The People Speak
Video is important to creating an inclusive atmosphere for your meetings, but participants being able to see each other is only half the battle. Today’s hybrid meetings can involve dozens of participants in a number of different settings, from huddle rooms to home offices to large conference rooms. Creating an equitable atmosphere in these conditions is entirely dependent on ensuring everyone involved can contribute freely and equally.
This means investing in an audio solution that can pick up every voice while engaging in a hybrid meeting. Until recently, most companies have been stuck between two options when considering which audio solution to install in their conference rooms: a pricey integrated room or a poorly functioning DIY solution. Luckily, there is a third option that will give you the best of both worlds: the Stem Ecosystem.
The Stem Ecosystem was designed with meeting equity in mind. Each of the four audio endpoints that make up the ecosystem – Speaker, Table, Wall, and Ceiling – work together to create a network of audio coverage that ensures each participant in a room can have a normal, relaxed conversation no matter where they’re sitting. Stem’s audio endpoints can be mixed and matched to make an ecosystem of up to 10 devices, so you can create a device mix that fits conference rooms of every size and shape.
Stem does away with communications hierarchies, allowing every member of the team to voice their questions, concerns, and requests during a meeting. Incorporating meeting equity into a company’s communications strategy can help avoid costly delays and mistakes caused by a rigid communications hierarchy and improve morale in the workplace. Not only will the ecosystem improve the audio quality of your meetings, but it will also ensure an inclusive atmosphere in which communication can flourish and you can avoid lengthy and embarrassing setbacks caused by employees unable to share their thoughts.