5 ways to run effective team meetings from anywhere

| December 09, 2016

Meetings can be huge pain, especially for dispersed teams. It’s rather like herding cats—meeting prep alone often takes way more time and effort than it should. And that’s time taken away from the work that counts.

If you find meetings to be more of a hassle than they should be, HipChat has several solutions to make them near-effortless, so you can get down to business right away. Here are five ways you can use HipChat to run effective team meetings, no matter where in the world you are.

1. Use chat rooms for meeting prep

HipChat rooms are where teams chat, shares files and links, and video chat as a group. To make meeting prep a breeze, create a dedicated room for your team or—to be even more focused—for a reoccurring meeting.

Use this room to share meeting objectives, files, links, and other materials in the room before the meeting. The right sidebar keeps it all together for you in one convenient location, so gathering everything you need takes only a few clicks. No need to waste time with printouts or finding meeting materials.HipChat right sidebarThis room is also the best place to get everyone’s attention for meeting updates or reminders. To get your team’s attention, mention @all, @here, or an alias you created with Alias Bot.

For reoccurring meetings (like a daily standup or weekly team meeting), set up a reminder through Zapier. You can pick the time, frequency, and message to be sent into a room. Set it up once, and never worry about it again.

2. Say goodbye to endless calendar negotiations

Finding a time of meet when your team is scattered across the globe is a real challenge. Luckily, there are easy ways to figure out the perfect time for any meeting.

The Google Calendar integration makes it possible to settle a meeting time in a couple of minutes, instead of a couple of hours (or a couple of days). When you can just glance at the right sidebar and see all your teammates’ shared calendars, what could be easier?

HipChat Google Calendar integrationActually, there is something easier: the Meekan integration. Meekan looks at everyone’s calendars and finds a date and time when everyone is available (and even takes work hours and time zone differences into account), books a meeting room for you, reschedules meetings when someone can’t make it, and more.
Effective team meetings

So never mind a couple of minutes—try a couple of seconds instead.

3. Bridge the distance with group video chat

These days, teams are more globally distributed than ever before. On the HipChat team, we have members of the HipChat team in San Francisco, Austin, and Sydney, which means getting us all physically in the same room is pretty much never going to happen. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still meet with each other; we just do it via group video chat.

HipChat group videoFor HipChat Plus users, HipChat’s video platform is built right in for a seamless video chat experience. With the click of one button from a room, your whole team can jump on video. No installs, no plugins, no confusing extensions—just click and done.

It even has cool features like the ability to “raise your hand” by pressing the R key when you have something to say (especially useful for meetings where the number of participants approaches the 20-person limit), as well as the option to mute yourself and press the space bar to talk—great for cutting down on ambient noise around you, so as not to contribute to any distraction or “noise clutter”.

If you use HipChat Basic, you still have plenty of options! Our free video chat integrations include BlueJeans, HYFY, Google Hangouts, Appear.in, and GoToMeeting—so you can pick and choose which service(s) will best meet your needs. Learn more about these (awesome) integrations here.

4. Save a forest, use a screen share

Remember the days when you had to physically hand out copies of your documents to everyone in the meeting or make sure everyone brought the copy you emailed them? That was a drag, right? What a way to waste precious time—and precious trees.

Thankfully, now that’s just a memory for HipChat Plus users, who can share a view of their screens with everyone in the meeting. Documents, browser windows, slide presentations…whatever you want to share with your team, it’s there on everyone’s screens, no tree murder required.screen sharing

Pro tip: Use the Google Drive integration from our friends at TOPDOX to access your files with speed and smoothness.

5. Cancel the meeting

Let’s be honest: not all meetings need to be meetings. The most effective meeting is sometimes the one that never happened.

Eliminate unnecessary meetings by installing Standup Bot into your team room. HipChat bots, HipBots

Every member can share a report of what they have been working on and Standup Bot will keep a record. Then you can peruse your teammates’ reports at your own convenience, keeping you informed about projects and tasks.

Leave meetings for larger discussions and projects. Automating certain tasks like daily standups will help clear your calendar and keep you focused on the real work at hand.

The adage goes, “No pain, no gain”—and sure, that’s valid in some situations. But here at HipChat, we prefer “Work smarter, not harder.” And every day, we make it our mission to come up with simple, but powerful solutions for streamlining your workflow (like holding effective team meetings) and making every minute count, whether you’re in a meeting or stepping out to grab a cup of coffee.