The Real Value of Meetings

We spend a lot of time at Uniteable trying to figure out ways that our app can cut out meetings through better communication. We talk about it frequently on our blog and share research on the negative effect that too many meetings can have on you, your team, and your company. And while this is all true, we do acknowledge that there are times that meeting up face-to-face is crucial.

Nothing really compares to shaking someones hand, exchanging business cards, or scratching ideas onto a chalkboard whilst drinking coffee with co-workers.

I recently attended a conference in Jacksonville, FL for entrepreneurs who are building (or have built) startups to share successes and failures and to encourage each other. A woman in attendance was going around each table and making a point to talk to each person, find out what they were doing, give out her card, and plug her business. I was impressed at her boldness.

Later on in a breakout session, she asked the panel why no one had mentioned the value of meeting face-to-face (specifically for marketing purposes). She reminded me how valuable it really is to give your full attention to someone, make eye contact, and engage in conversation.

There will always be some meetings that you simply cannot and should not eliminate.

I was chatting to someone a few weeks ago who works for a church and helps run various teams. I was explaining to him that the idea of Uniteable is to have focused, uncluttered conversation with the purpose of achieving the goals of your otherwise unproductive meetings, before you even have the meeting. While he liked the idea, he did mention that not all meetings could be resolved online.

For example, a one-on-one meeting that requires you to talk about personal matters, performance reviews where body language during the meeting is just as important as the content, and especially hiring and firing (please don't fire anyone through a chat app) should be done in person. Essentially anything that involves sensitive information has to be done in person, and we encourage that.

Communication isn’t about real-time messages through a web socket, it’s about real people achieving real things. We can strive to build software that helps people increase productivity in their communication, but at the end of the day it’s still a real person behind the keyboard.

Our aim isn't to reduce workplace interaction and collaboration to a few keystrokes, but rather to help teams achieve their goals in the most efficient way possible. This allows for meetings to become the powerful tool that they can be. 

In the office, we typically get together at the end of each week to talk about our achievements over a beer and it's great. Sure, we could communicate the information through Uniteable and we'd have less tangents about hilarious reddit articles, but the meeting truly finds its purpose through the camaraderie and helps us build our company culture.

From our weekly meeting at the local pub.

While we believe that effective communication through our app can cut our a majority of meetings and greatly increase team productivity, we also readily admit that there are some that need to occur in person in order to be a better team. And really, that’s what we want for everyone.