At home, personal devices bring us together with seamless connectivity and incredible imagery. But enter the workplace—where productivity and client perception raise the stakes—and it’s surprisingly difficult even to get everyone in the same room, let alone hold their attention.
To explore where workplaces get it wrong, we’re going to take you on a five-step journey to “meeting room hell”. Chances are you’ll be all too familiar with the technology-induced headaches and missed opportunities. How many of these stumbling blocks do you encounter on a regular basis?
The first hurdle is often steepest. Unless you’ve opted for an open-air get together, you’re going to need a meeting room for your meeting. Yet finding and booking a room remains a nightmare for many businesses. Sometimes you’ve simply run out of space. Usually, it’s because your rooms aren’t being used efficiently. In a space-scarce culture, meeting bookings get cut throat. If you manage to get there first, the temptation is to block out more time and space than you actually need. This leads inevitably to conflict and inter-team tension. And when a meeting gets cancelled or rescheduled, how many times do you find out in time the room is free? You’re working blind.
Okay, so you’ve found a meeting room. There’s no one in it, and there’s no indication it’s booked. That’s good enough. You spend ages setting up (more on that later) just in time for a colleague to arrive and inform you this space is taken. Go back to Step 1. The reverse is arguably more awkward: someone’s in your meeting room. They’re oblivious to the fact, or they knew they were taking a chance but were desperate. The apologetic look on their face only makes it worse when you have to find exactly the right tone to say: “Excuse me, I’ve already booked this room.” (At this point, though, they’ll have to take your word for it because there’s nothing to indicate you’ve booked the space.) Nevermind, you’ve got a room now! Plain sailing from here…
The right cable is definitely in the room. It has to be because all the cables are. If your meeting room is lucky enough to have undergone digital transformation, there will probably be a tangle of wires that just scream “progress”. With any luck, one of them will be compatible with your laptop.
Okay, so time is something you don’t have much left of now. But another minute won’t hurt to wallow: It’s already taken you ten minutes to find a meeting room and another ten to get started. That’s a third of your meeting gone before it’s even begun. How good is your small talk?
Your attendees are starting to show their frustration and you’re losing precious time. The fidgeting and impatience are obvious. If you’re hosting a client, their irritation is palpable. But your agenda is solid, and you’ve invested lots of time preparing some killer slides. Except now the presentation system isn’t working, because: “connectivity error”. As a last ditch attempt, you resort to the trusty pen and whiteboard only to find out that the ink—and your chances—have run out. Welcome to meeting room hell.
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