Meetings are the norm in business and can be a powerful tool if used correctly. It provides a forum for discussion, decision-making and to track individual and team progress on particular matters/projects. Technology continues to change the way we work and this is no different when it comes to preparing, conducting and following up on a meeting. How much time have you wasted fumbling around looking for documents and files either to prepare or present at a meeting? Meetings can be a time consuming exercising but it need not be.
There is an alternative - Google Apps. The meeting experience with Google Apps is easy and painless and can be used from the planning stage all the way through to follow up. Here are 5 great tips designed to ensure that you get the best out of Google Apps for meetings.
1 “Find a time” to scheduling your meetings
There are only so many hours in the day and with a busy schedule of appointments, conference calls and other allocated commitments it may be hard to find a workable time to conduct the meeting amongst the “sea” of colour which is your Google Calendar. Convenient for you, the “Find a time” feature on Google Calendar does a search for convenient times between all meeting participants.
Ensure that meeting attendees have shared their calendar with you or made it public. This can be done through calendar settings.
Create new event or open existing one in Google Calendar.
Click on “Find a time” tab (highlighted in the picture above).
Enter up to 20 email addresses of meeting attendees. This will bring up their calendars.
Select a time slot that works with everyone’s schedule.
2 Relevant files at hand for the meeting
It is alway frustrating for you and the attendees if you are fumbling and frantically searching for relevant files during the meeting. So, make sure that you have the relevant files at hand prior to entering the meeting. How you can be organised?
With a few clicks of a button, you can attach relevant documents to your Google Calendar through the “Add Attachment” option on the task pane (see below). The files can be accessed by the attendees at any time (before, during or after the meeting) under the “More Details” section of their meeting invitation email.
The attachment can be files from Google Drive or one uploaded elsewhere. The meeting agenda is always a useful document to have attached to allow attendees to access and view prior to the meeting.
3 Lets Hangout!
Teleconference is a thing of the past! Video conferencing is an increasingly popular medium for workplace collaborations. However, the limitation until now has been the inability to collaborate on a task or document in real time during the meeting between attendees. Google Hangouts offers this solution. What do you need for this type of conferencing? All you need is a Google Apps or Gmail account.
Click on “Google Drive” on the left-hand side of the screen to “Create Shared Notes” for the meeting. For the ultimate hangout experience, take a look at Google Chromebox for meetings or learn how you can record your hangout meetings to your own private youtube channel.
4 Prepare, Collaborate, Follow up
The value of the meeting is lost unless attendees understand what has been done and what needs to be followed up on at the completion of the meeting. Share the Google Doc with fellow attendees marked with what needs to be done and who will do it. You can limit certain attendees from viewing your comments or editing the document.
5 Additional “resources”
A not so well known feature of Google Calendar is the add “Resources” option which allows you to attach additional resources required for the meeting. This can be anything from a projector to cables to meeting rooms. Ensure that Calendar Resources is set up in the Admin Console by the Google Apps Administrator to ensure the function is available. It can be tailored to the specific resources available to the business and prevents the incidents of double booking.
For more on Google Calendars feel free to give the Google Apps deployment specialists at Onsite Helper a call on 033 9999 3106 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
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