3 Tips For Improving Meeting Equity
After double-checking your calendar the night before, you’ve groggily stumbled out of bed hours before your typical starting time to join in on an ‘essential strategy meeting’ for the upcoming product launch. Blinking your eyes blearily between sips of coffee, you sound off at the start of the meeting to alert everyone to your presence before quickly muting yourself and booting up solitaire. You know that your input will not be required or welcome during the call and you’ll just be given written instructions later, so what’s the point of paying attention?
What you’re experiencing is ‘meeting burnout’, which is an unfortunate reality for workers worldwide as companies struggle to implement a policy of meeting equity to increase employee engagement with their work. This lack of engagement can lead to worse performances, general burnout, and increasing turnover - which makes it essential to integrate meeting equity into the company’s culture.
What Is Meeting Equity?
Making your meetings more equitable is about ensuring that all meeting participants are equally capable of actually participating in a meeting. More than just allowing everyone to talk, meeting equity is a holistic view of a hybrid meeting’s quality, including the audio and visual aspects of the conference call. To improve meeting equity, you’ll need a high-quality video conferencing system in addition to adjusting your meeting procedure.
This can be harder than it seems, which is why we’ve tirelessly researched how to democratize the hybrid meeting. Here are some of our findings:
Tip #1: Block Out Your Time
An important step to take in altering your hybrid meeting procedure is blocking out time to ensure virtual attendees can participate. Speakers can adjust the meeting on the fly just by reading the faces and body language of in-person participants, but this is a lot harder with out-of-office attendees.
Block out your time to specifically address and communicate with virtual viewers. Many times your questions will be met with a kind of awkward, frightened silence, but the more you address those viewers specifically and allow them to participate, the more likely they are to make their voices be heard.
Tip #2: AI Is Your Friend
If your conference room is filled with in-person participants, a typical wide-angle web camera lens is often inadequate for your virtual attendees. As an online viewer, it gets challenging to determine who is talking or get the full context of what the speaker is communicating.
One major fix for this is utilizing a camera that can do the work for the viewer. Some high-end webcams, like the Huddly L1, can analyze the faces of the meeting’s participants to determine who is speaking and then automatically focus the frame on them. This nifty bit of technology gives the remote viewer a far more discernable picture of what is happening in the room and provides a more immersive meeting experience.
Tip #3: Get The Sound Just Right
One of the most common (and infuriating) problems virtual meeting attendees face is a poor-performing audio system. Dropped or crummy-quality audio can make a hybrid meeting a chore to get through, as remote participants either can’t hear what speakers are saying or can’t get their point across when they try to speak.
A common cause of audio problems is an inadequate DIY sound system that either can’t cover the entirety of the conference room or is poorly integrated into it. A single speakerphone for a 12’x4’ conference table that seats twenty people isn’t going to cut it, but paying for an AV integrator in addition to more audio devices is out of a lot of companies' budgets.
This is where a solution like the Stem Ecosystem would come into play. The Stem Ecosystem is a fully customizable conferencing audio system that allows you to mix and match up to ten of our four audio endpoints - Table, Wall, Ceiling, and Speaker - to fit almost any sized space. Each device networks with the others in the ecosystem to create a web of high-quality audio pickup and output, allowing seamless participation for out-of-office attendees.
Thanks to their efficiency at cross-distance communications, hybrid meetings are well-positioned to be an integral part of the future of work. By adopting a principle of meeting equity, companies can be equally well-positioned to take full advantage of this revolution in business technology without the associated drawbacks of burnout and churn rate.