When you’re managing a team of remote attorneys, meetings can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. In-person meetings are hard enough. They are often bogged down by a lack of purpose, unpreparedness, off-topic conversations, and more. All of this adds up to lost time. And lost time is lost money. In fact, according to Business Insider, there are about 11 million meetings that take place in America every day, and a third of them are unproductive. As a result, nearly $37 billion is lost every year to unproductive meetings.
Distance can add an extra layer of difficulty when it comes to holding productive meetings. When people are located in different environments, time zones, or even countries, things can get complicated. Make your meetings with your remote attorneys count with these tips:
Prepare an Agenda
Agendas serve two main purposes: to help participants prepare for upcoming meetings and to keep everyone on track during the actual meeting. The trick is to make sure people use them effectively.
Research suggests that 9 out of 10 people daydream during meetings. Because of that, keeping meetings as short as possible will help individuals focused for the entire time. When creating your meeting agenda, be realistic about the topics and time you anticipate to devote to each topic. Additionally, make sure you adequately describe each topic and circulate the agenda before the meeting. This way, your remote attorneys will be prepared with talking points or questions.
Once you’ve created an agenda, make sure you adhere to it faithfully during the meeting. This will help keep the meeting on track. If you discover you need more time for any given topic, consider tabling it for another time.
If you’re using a conference line to hold remote meetings, you may want to reconsider. Did you know 80 percent of communication is based on visual cues? So, while it may seem more convenient to use phone, email, and messaging to interact, it is not the best way to foster workplace collaboration. Video conferencing allows for the best-quality interactions available next to in-person meetings, allowing your remote attorneys to communicate easily and effectively.
Remote Sharing Tools
In today’s technology era, there are a host of tools at your disposal to help foster participation and guide discussions during meetings. A few of the most popular types of conferencing tools that let attendees illustrate their talking points include:
- Desktop Sharing: This allows attendees to share something from their own computer with others — whether it be documents, PowerPoints, or video.
- Instant Messaging: This lets participants and presenters text each other (privately or publicly) during presentations to help raise and answer questions.
Actionable Takeaways and Timely Follow-Up
Meetings often fail to provide value because action items are not properly set or follow-up efforts fall flat. Therefore, make sure you’re sending out a list of action items once the meeting is over. This includes listing the person(s) responsible for each item and the minutes. If necessary, consider scheduling follow-up calls (or set task reminders in your calendar tool) to keep people aware of important deadlines.
Just because your team isn’t in the same building, doesn’t mean that meetings have to be cumbersome or ineffective. Use these fundamental tips to keep your remote contract attorneys engaged and on the right track. The more engaged your team feels, the more productive they’ll be.