Can meeting technology make meetings better?
<![CDATA[I recently saw two things that promised to make the dreaded business meeting more productive. The first was an article in the Wall Street Journal: “Tortuous Business Meeting? Tech Is Here to Help.” The second was an ad on TV about an online meeting technology. Both the article and the ad present meeting technologies that promise to change the business meeting experience. But these are false promises, and the falsehood can best be seen in the TV ad. The ad begins with an image of several people concluding a meeting, visible in small video windows. One participant says something like, “I will send you a note suggesting a reset of our program.” The leader of the meeting says, “We just reset.” Another participant says something like, “I will send a note outlining our action plan.” The leader says, “We just defined our action plan.” The leader is suggesting that the usual meeting follow-up is unnecessary because they were meeting online using this technology. But let’s stop and think about this for a second. Even with the technology, at least two of the participants did not know that the program had been “reset” or that the action plan had been developed. In sharp contrast to the intent of the ad, which is to show how the technology makes meetings better, it actually shows how lousy meeting leadership can be regardless of the technology. The participants didn’t know the outcome of the meeting, even though they were in the meeting room. The meeting was badly led, and no meeting technology is going to compensate for poor leadership. People who are good leaders lead great meetings, even in situations with limited technology. So it follows that if you want great meetings, you must teach people to be great leaders. Great leaders don’t need bells and whistles to make meetings effective.]]>
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