Getting meetings started and running efficiently can be a challenge with large groups, especially if members of the team work remotely.
In many companies, a person usually takes notes or emails pictures of a whiteboard after the meeting has already happened, but this often results in remote workers feeling like second-class citizens. People in the meeting room actively participate in the discussion, while others are essentially watching a boring, lo-res show about a meeting until explicitly involved. When that happens, they go for their 2-minute monologue, answer one-to-one questions about their work and their schedule, and go back to their isolated rooms.
Remote work doesn't have to be like this. Everyone should be able to contribute their ideas, regardless of where they are. People in the meeting room will always have the advantage of physical presence (well, unless this soon becomes available and affordable!), but remote participants should have a chance to share their thoughts.
If your meetings involve a whiteboard, chances are that most of the time everybody is looking at it. In these cases, communication happens verbally, but often by annotating or pointing at things on the whiteboard. So, why don't we all share a whiteboard, remote members included?
This is what we do every day at SketchTogether, and we're not willing to go back! Being a small startup, it's easy for us to set up a meeting with few (less than 5) participants even though we’re oceans apart, especially since they usually all have SketchTogether accounts. If your company needs to involve more people, and these people are likely not to have an account, your solution is to set up your shared sketch before the meeting even starts, and make it public!
1. Populate sketches fast using the Selector Tool and Sketching
Before the meeting begins, you can save time and get more out of your meetings by seeding your sketch with the objectives of the meeting. You can do this quickly by using the selector tool, and double clicking in the sketch to create your title and agenda times.
Having an agenda for the meeting helps you avoid wasting time by keeping everyone on track. During meetings, experts recommend pausing at least once every ten minutes to summarize what you’ve discussed so that important decisions are not lost.
2. Share the public link before the meeting
To easily share your sketch, use the public link available in the share dialog. To get the link, first open the share dialog, make sure to check the “Make public” box, then copy the link. You can share the link via email to everyone or broadcast it in a public message.
Everyone who receives the link can open the sketch without logging in. Everyone can change their name by clicking on their user icon button on the top right.
If you want to save time during the meeting, you can share the sketch before the meeting, and ask everyone to contribute their ideas before everyone gets together. The most effective brainstorm meetings involves a period of working alone, then joining together to discuss and combine everyone’s approaches.
Of course, if everyone has a SketchTogether account, you can both share the sketch or the entire folder using their email, which makes it much easier for everyone to organize and reuse their meeting notes!