Employing divergent or convergent meetings for better company productivity.
When it comes to better hybrid working practices, it is ideal that time is used efficiently – just as in any other work situation, of course. However, what’s new and different in a hybrid working meeting is that some of the participants might be at the office in person, while some might be attending virtually. As such, possible problems include poor call quality where either party may not catch everything a presenter might be saying at certain moments. This could lead to time wastage, when someone has to repeat what they were saying for the benefit of others, or miscommunication of ideas and opinions due to poor Internet reception.
This further discourages meeting attendees from asking questions or voicing out opinions as they may feel that it’s not worth the hassle. It may not be a stretch to say that many of us have been in this situation where we feel that it’ll be easier to send an email or text via Whatsapp or Telegram to address an issue. Unfortunately, this could result in potential good ideas being left unsaid or inadequately discussed. This, in turn, could ultimately lead to less productivity as well as less profitability in company operations due to “slow” progress, given the lack of ideas and initiative.
One way to minimise this potential problem is to conduct more efficient meetings, even when it calls for a hybrid working environment. Before a meeting is set, it should be decided what kind of a meeting it would be – whether divergent or convergent.
A divergent meeting is one where everyone involved needs to brainstorm new ideas, with a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. In most situations, as team members feed off each other’s energy, it would be ideal to have everyone physically present in one room. However, when there are individuals that need to work remotely, one has to make do and adapt. To ensure that everyone is onboard and actively thinking and contributing to the meeting or brainstorming session, the person in charge needs to be ready to prompt attendees to present ideas in turn, while also allowing others to chime in with light bulb moment ideas before they forget! What’s great about most online conferencing software or apps is that one person can be talking while another can type questions or opinions on the meeting chatboard. This way, all ideas and opinions will be listed down to be discussed later during the meeting.
Meanwhile, a convergent meeting is one where information is exchanged before a plan is executed. The kind of discussion held in such a meeting may need everyone involved to be on the same page, with concerns and discussions raised based on each one’s expectations. The meeting could involve getting feedback on a proposal, updates on weekly or monthly plans, or discussion on the upcoming quarter’s marketing plan, for instance. Thus, meeting time needs to be used very efficiently in a convergent meeting, especially in a hybrid working environment. Certainly, only key people involved in a certain project need to attend the meeting – eliminating any unnecessary dispute, distractions and also Internet lag. To maximise productivity, meeting attendees can be updated via email or text about any issues pre-meeting, allowing them to be better prepared during discussion, whether they are online or physically at the meeting.
With better time management and clear-cut direction on which meeting mode one is attending, meetings can be more efficient, productive and even gratifying. What’s important is that one singular meeting should be only one or the other – either divergent or convergent. This will help keep each attendee more focused and in line with the purpose of the meeting, and hopefully lead to better productivity.
In a hybrid working environment, team members working remotely or online are already saving time and energy with less commuting hours. Well-rested and less-rushed, meeting managers can look forward to better ideas and more effective discussions, leading to better productivity and profitability.
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