August meeting madness!

meeting madness

Warning sensationalist blog headline! Actually let’s avoid the meeting madness.

I guess it’s fair to say the online meeting madness has now become common places as, let’s face it, for most of us it’s the only real way to connect with work colleagues. We’re no exception, the only difference is we’ve moved all of our team meets onto Amazemeet, using the integrated video.

Why’s that?

Well we made this amazing meeting software and just launched version 3 so it would seem sensible to use it!! But more than that the platform allows us to properly manage our meetings. Using the tool allows us to properly schedule and plan the meeting, ensure we stay on track through its duration and keep track of the follow-up action points. I’ll run through the key elements below, these make up the core of the meeting canvas, if you haven’t seen them dive into Amazemeet and start having better meetings now.

Purpose

This is vital, It’s the why? Why are we meeting and what are we hoping to acheive. Having a clear purpose aligns the participants. It’s also a great filter to ensure those attending are aligned and can add value. We run a strict policy in meetings that if you can’t contribute or you feel a meeting is a waste of your time don’t attend. We see this as a real positive and a route to making our meetings more effective.

Agenda

Assigning time to each agenda item keeps the meeting on track, it avoids tangents and allows us to progress through the meeting ensuring we cover everything we set out to discuss. The helpful counter keeps us on track with each item and if agenda points do raise further discussion this are noted to be picked back up in a different session.

Key points and decisions

This is where track key points raised through the course of the meeting and decisions we have made on the various agenda items. This helps us to define out outcomes and linked with the next key area forms the basis of our effective meeting model.

Actions and next steps

Probably the most important part of the meeting canvas. This documents what we will do next and who is responsible for delivering on the action points that have been raised through the meeting. Having this ensures we can track the outcome of the meeting and keep a tally of the tasks as they are completed.

Preparations

Time, date, place and links to join video chat are all self contained within the platform. It makes it easy to manage the whole meeting process in one place.

Avoiding the meeting madness bandwagon!

Despite the sensationalist headline we’re really keen to help you avoid meeting madness altogether. Especially whilst we’re all working from home there’s never been a better opportunity to test out how Amazemeet can help you manage better meetings. The self contained platform is perfect for anyone looking to get efficient and avoid working across multiple platforms.

Not using Amazemeet? Better meetings are just a click away.

Finding a balance in the new normal.

Finding a balance in the new normal

We’re all trying to find balance in the new normal as we rapidly change our working behaviour.

So let’s preface this article by asking how you’re getting used to version 3 of Amazemeet? We’d love to know if it’s helping you have better meetings?

Back to the business at hand. It seems like we’re all in this together right now, which in some ways is great, everyones having to deal with the same change. For some it will be short-lived for some a new way of working is being ushered in whether we like it or not. Our experience at Amazemeet hasn’t really changed, we’ve always been a distributed business but for those just starting out on this journey, especially more traditional companies, it’s a brave new world.

We’re saving money that’s all that matters, right?

As many commentators more qualified than me have pointed out, this experiment with home/flexible working has been forced upon us and in most cases it’s worked out pretty well. The bottom line is, well the bottom line. If you’re a huge company with a lot of office space in London or New York then it’s costing you a huge amount of money every year. Some estimates reckon a desk in prime central London can cost upwards of £60,000/year, multiply that by 2,000 staff and the figures are astronomical. If you could halve or even quarter that demand. You do the math? But culturally many businesses and more importantly the people that work in them are still trying to find a balance. It’s great not having to spend hours commuting, but it’s also too easy to stay wedded to a computer long after you’d have left the office. Social interaction is also different, humans are after all tribal animals, we generally like spending time with other humans and that’s much harder to do online. But hey, we’ve got Zoom so we’re all good! Finding how to balance this in the future is going to present certain challenges for businesses. remote connectivity aside, how will they ensure that employees come together in a meaningful way and interact as human beings. This social interaction needs to be considered as working relationships are important for team cohesion and productivity.

The productivity fallacy

There are still people out there that think we’re more productive in an office. That’s been disproven so many times it’s untrue. In fact if you added up the time spent chatting at the water cooler, coffee trips and idly chit chat we are certainly less productive than you think. However, this is where the social cohesion in a businesses tends to be formed, that’s much harder to do online. What’s certainly true is that spending more time with family and having a better work-life balance is paramount. Happy employees are motivated, productive employees.

Connect don’t just meet.

Without the face to face interaction it’s super important that we make time to connect. Not all conversations need to be meetings and that’s especially true when we’re relying on tools like Amazemeet to plan and run our meetings. Making time to speak to colleagues is vital, it’s what keeps us sane, productive and moving forward. It’s a key part of the balance required to make remote working work.

Tell us how you’re finding a balance in the new normal?

We’d love to hear your tips and discoveries over the last few months? What’s worked and not worked and how you’ve started to find a balance?

Not using Amazemeet? Better meetings are just a click away.

The countdown to version 3 has begun.

version 3

Roll on version 3 of Amazemeet!

As we enter the final stretch through to the launch of version 3 of Amazemeet the whole team are super excited to finally be able to show the world the fruits of our endeavours over the last 9 months.

Despite the obvious issues we’ve all had to endure over the last few months the whole team has pulled together to create, what we believe, is the best meeting facilitation platform out there.

We all deserve better meetings.

Amazemeet is about better meetings, it’s why we created the platform and it’s something we believe can have the biggest impact on our work lives. Because let’s face it too many meetings are crappy, they’re a waste of time and achieve little. New features in the platform will help you plan, connect and conduct your meetings and manage the follow up. It’s truly end-to-end.

What’s happening now?

As we run down the clock to the launch of version3 we’re contacting all our existing users to active their accounts on the new platform. It’s super simple, all you need to do is switch to one of the new plans and you’ll automatically get a 15% discount. From July 15th when version 3 is live anyone who logs in will automatically be in the new platform.

If you don’t log in by the 31st July then you may find your account removed, to avoid this just head over to Amazemeet and you’ll be assured of continued use.

New users and version 3

Keep an eye on our social media over the next 7 days as we’ll also be launching some secret deals for new users to access version3.

Not using Amazemeet? Better meetings are just a click away.

Big switch over day

The big switch over

Big switch over day is coming, here’s what will happen.

As we move closer to the big switch over day from version 2 to 3 of Amazemeet we thought it would be useful to talk through what’s going to happen and how this may affect you, if at all. We’re super excited about version 3 it’s a real game changer and a key step to having better meetings.

Phase 1

Starting today and running through to the 14th of July existing users will be asked to start switching to the new Amazemeet plans. As part of this an automatic 15% discount will be applied for anyone who switches up to the 14th July. This is good through to the end of September so if you’re considering a paid plan you don’t have to decide straight away.

Phase 2, going live!

On July 15th Amazemeet version 3 will be going live. As we’ve updated in the blog version 3 is a whole new Amazemeet. Anyone who logs into Amazemeet from this date will automatically be switched over.

Lapsed accounts

We’ll continue to communicate about the new launch to anyone that’s signed up for Amazemeet but hasn’t used the platform in a while. But, come July 31st anyone who still hasn’t switched will be cleaned out of the platform. That may sound kind of harsh but we have a lot of users on Amazemeet and dormant or lapsed accounts divert resources away from other areas of the platform.

Things to remember

Here’s a check list of things to remember:

  • When you get an email asking you to switch go ahead and do it. It won’t cost you anything and ensures your account remains active
  • If you switch before July 14th you’ll get an additional discount of 15% on any new plan you take out good until the end of September
  • July 31st is the hard cut off for anyone who’s not switched over to version 3

As every if you have any questions about the big switch over and need some help login to the platform and get in touch.

Not using Amazemeet? Try it Free.

A new beginning for Amazemeet.

new beginnings new amazemeet logo

Things at Amazemeet are certainly about to change as we embark on a new beginning. The next few weeks will see us launch a new brand, a new dashboard and a host of new features.

So let’s start by saying we love new beginnings. No we’re not pivoting to a haggis street food offer. We’re levelling up Amazemeet and in light of the new features we’re launching, including our AI meeting facilitator, we’re updating our brand and the entire look and feel of the platform.

Why I hear you say? We’ll since launch Amazemeet has amassed tens of thousands of users around the world, but that’s just a drop in the ocean. We’re laser focussed on changing meeting culture across the business world and to do this we need a tool that really makes better meetings a reality. Oh and we wanted a new logo 😉

What drives our brand?

The beating heart of Amazemeet is about helping people do things better. We know that all the time wasted in bad meetings could be put to much better use, whether that’s getting work done or spending more time with family. Money, profit time and mostly importantly well-being all take a hit in our bad meeting culture and sadly that’s a universal challenge virtually all businesses need to solve and we want to help.

Since the first meeting canvas concept was created by Amazemeet founder Mike Sutton the company has been on it’s mission to solve the problem with meetings. It’s one of the biggest problems businesses face but it’s often overlooked and even more often misunderstood. We love the new wrapper we’ve created for our product but it’s what’s really under the hood that will define us. A vastly improved dashboard and a host of connectivity options ensure your entire meeting can take place within the platform. This is hugely important as it ensure the meeting AI really comes into it’s own helping the meeting organiser start run and end the meeting process assisting along the way.

Share your thoughts with us on the new brand, tweet below and add your comments.

I think the new @Amazemeet branding is.. Click To Tweet

What’s the plan?

Over the coming weeks we’ll gradually be introducing the new features and switching users over to the new platform. You’ll instantly be able to start using the new features including the meeting facilitator.

We believe this will be the key driver to having better meetings. The facilitator is like having a PA, secretary and meeting note taker all in one. The facilitator is there to invite users, chase contribution, keep meetings on track and make sure tasks are followed up. It’s super useful and something we know our users will love to use.

We’ll also be going live with a whole host of new onboarding videos, live presentations and Q&A sessions to help you get the most from Amazemeet. Did we mention a new logo and colour scheme, purple rules!!

Wherever there’s a bad meeting Amazemeet will be there to fix it.

All that’s left to say

Well if it’s not obvious we’re super excited about version 3 of Amazemeet. But more than that we hope this is the next step for all of us to fix meeting culture.

Be the first to see Amazemeet version 3.

Lockdown meetings gone wrong

meetings gone wrong

We love meetings but we also love a laugh, here’s our favourite Lockdown meetings gone wrong.

From no trousers to impromptu bathroom breaks for many of us Lockdown has meant getting to grips with virtual meetings, and a fair few meetings have gone wrong! We’ve trawled the web to find some of the best examples. What always amazes us is how eager people are to share them, particularly when it’s their boss who’s messed up. I’d love to be on a fly on the wall at the next pay raise conversation.

Suffice to say the team at Amazemeet very rarely have these problems. Aside from the odd five year old getting in on the action, camera fails and a penchant for hats. I admit it that’s mainly me but hey getting a haircut during lockdown has been tricky and there’s no way my wife’s doing it!

Exit the meeting turn camera off!

This is a lesson for all of us, make sure you exit the meeting properly.

Kids are great at comic timing.

This is something I’m very familiar with. My daughter, who’s five, is more than capable of going to the bathroom on her own. However, when she see’s I’m working in my home office she has a great habit of shouting “Dad I’m doing a poo” at the top of her voice, invariably when I’m on a call.

Here’s another great one.

We’re pretty much all there now.

I can totally relate. Most of us probably started as we meant to go on. However, that probably lasted all of a few days and we realised that shorts, t-shirts and the general clothes we wear to lounge around in were good enough. My excuse, the weathers been warm in the UK, shorts are a must.

Classic.

She handled it well. I think he just wanted to hang around and see what was happening!

Great compilation of classic moments.

It’s amazing how many people forget their camera and mic might still be turned on.

We’ll get there.

Whilst we can’t stop the kids and pets getting in on the calls. We have been working hard during lockdown to launch our version 3 of Amazemeet. With version 3 you’ll be able to manage all your meetings in one place from start to finish. That means managing who you invite, what outcomes you want, how you’ll allot time in the meeting, the meeting itself via video call and then the post meeting follow up. All your notes will be available to everyone and you’ll have a cool AI meeting facilitator there to keep all the attendees on track.

The road to better meetings is simple, click below.

We want everyone to have #BetterMeetings

bettermeetings

#BetterMeetings, buzz word or important mission?

Image, Channel 4

It would be really easy for us to just throw around comments like #BetterMeetings, after all you’ll see it on all our social. But why? Firstly it perfectly encapsulates the mission at Amazemeet, we want to help people have better meetings. By doing that we know we’ll help them save time, money and improve their wellbeing but it’s more than that. Secondly is what we should all be aspiring too because meeting culture is frankly broken.

The crazy meeting juxtaposition

It’s universally accepted that most meetings lack focus, are unproductive and do little to motivate the participants. In fact it’s almost impossible to find any study that argues the opposite, however our business culture continues to increase the amount of meetings we have. If your unsure about how much of a problem this reallis then check out our post “The Hidden Cost of Crappy Meetings“. It seems more and more this is on the agenda, certainly if the amount of new blog posts is any indication. Hopefully our current predicament of lockdown induced limbo will bring the issue into sharper focus.

Should we stop meeting altogether?

Let’s get one thing straight, we do need to have meetings. It’s just that we have far to many and the ones we have tend to be pretty unproductive on the whole. #BetterMeetings isn’t about no meetings. In fact it’s squarely centred on a quality over quantity message. We’ve built Amazemeet to focus heavily on meeting efficiency, ensuring when we do meet it’s productive. Amazemeet focuses in on supporting what makes a meeting run well:

  • Ensuring the agenda is thought out and the people invited will contribute
  • Managing the meeting, time allocation and ensuring everyone gets a voice
  • Keeping track of follow-up and assigning tasks accordingly

What will #BetterMeetings mean?

To put this into context executives, when surveyed, think that roughly 70% of their meetings are unproductive, read a waste of time. They also suggest that they spend anywhere up to 50% of their time in meetings. So a bit of simple maths that roughly a third of the time they spend at work is a waste of time and unproductive and meetings are the main culprit.

Rather than write a nice list of things you could do with that time. Just ponder that for a minute. What would you do if you suddenly had a third of your working week back?

Are #BetterMeetings realistic?

We think so. That’s why we created Amazemeet and we’ve got 10,000 plus users who agree. But, to really change a culture something big has to happen. Much like the world is now coming to terms with flexible working and major corporations are starting to question the need for expensive office, that currently remain empty, we think a big change is on the horizon. Like most things is nearly always about the money. Smart organisations are starting to realise that this is a key area to boost productivity and stop wasting huge piles of cash. That’s the kind of motivation that really affects change.

The road to better meetings is simple, click below.

Best and worst of working from home

When I first started thinking about a best and worst of working from home post I thought about a roundup of what’s good and a name and shame. So i’ve written the exact opposite!

Let’s face it a guide on best and worst of working from home isn’t really an Amazemeet blog, we can do better than that so I thought I’d share my personal experience of working from home on Amazemeet during lockdown.

The background.

Ok so confession time. I work from home 4 days a week and have done for some time. Amazemeet are a distributed company with team members all over the world helping people have better meetings. so we are used to it. But this time has been very different. Like most humans we invariably don’t like to be forced to do things and I am certainly no exception. And of course we do have Amazemeet for meetings and communication, in fact we’ve used real meetings for our internal testing of v3 for sometime, more on that later.

The best.

Like most people working from home presents an opportunity for a much better work-life balance but to get that you need to be organised. A desk space, away from distractions, coffee, technology are all important factors as is keeping a schedule. It’s been amazing to spend more time with family, my daughters been off school, and connecting with so many people. As a team I think we’ve come much closer together and really aligned around our goals, not that we weren’t before. As you’ll have read previously though in our blog launching a new product in lockdown we haven’t had the luxury of sitting back and having some nice conversations with long lost friends. Although the odd one has taken place! The focus we’ve had though will be coming to life for everyone in the next few weeks as we launch v3.

Like a lot of people I’ve embarked on a few things I wouldn’t normally do. I now have a love of constructing cardboard structures and my daughter and I are seriously thinking about turning pro when it comes to lego builds. That’s been awesome.

The worst.

Where to start. Virgin media’s intermittent internet has been a real pain, Vodafone haven’t been great either, minor inconveniences I know but especially painful when you’re trying to work. Above the practical side not having the freedoms we take for granted has been a real grind. It’s very true that you don’t miss something until it’s gone but I count my self lucky to be able to go where I want and do pretty much what I want and when. Lockdown took that all away and whilst I was 100% supportive it still pains that these things aren’t available.

I’ve also had to see many businesses and people I know really struggle. Myself and the team are lucky in that respect as we’ve found ourselves in a business and sector that somewhat thrived with the world working from the kitchen table. Others haven’t faired so well. Many friends in the entertainment sector have had businesses close and dreams evaporate over the last three months. That’s hard to watch, especially when you can’t do much to help.

What I’ll take from this.

I think number one is never to take anything for granted. Six months ago we all merrily went along in our world we felt so secure. Fast forward to now and a construct that once seemed solid fell apart with alarming speed. Companies supposedly making healthy profits went bust in weeks, panic buying, food shortages. It’s funny how it all fell apart, perhaps that fragility is telling us something? I’ve also learnt more about my colleagues, we all get each other better. That’s been a happy byproduct of the lines between work and personal life blurring. If I had one wish it would be for company to continue to be accommodating and embrace this even when things are back to normal.

Amazemeet v3 is nearly here, sign-up now for launch offers.

Launching a new product during lockdown.

launching a new product during lockdown

Launching a new product during lockdown wasn’t in our original plan, but hey sh*t happens.

As you probably expect launching a new product during lockdown wasn’t a milestone we figured at the end of last year. Funny how things can change, not just for us but for the whole world. Back in January the picture looked pretty different, we were well on our way to launching version three of Amazemeet, we’d rolled out some updates to v2 and were happy with the uptake and response so it was full steam ahead for better meetings.

Amazemeet v3 was so radically different we were effectively viewing it as a whole new product. Functionality in v3 was all about actually helping you to have a better meeting and centred on the virtual meeting assistant. If you’ve read any of our blogs about this you’ll know how important that is, more here. It was and is a true game changer for meetings and more importanly it’s something we need.

It would not be an exaggeration to say crappy meetings are one of the biggest challenges facing the corporate world right now. Literally billions of dollars are wasted on these meetings every year and it’s getting worse very quickly. So we had our product, a great value proposition, some awesome marketing lined up (even if I do say so myself) and the dev team were on it.

It would not be an exaggeration to say crappy meetings are one of the biggest challenges facing the corporate world right now.

Then coronavirus struck

Out of the blue things quickly started to get serious. Things were bad in China, Italy was starting on its terrible journey, Spain, Germany, the USA nobody seemed immune to this. We went from worried to not being allowed out of the house in the space of a few short weeks. Bigger things were happening than v3. Mike decided we could help so we put half the teams time onto Corotrac a simple app to track symptoms and cases. This went way beyond just the Amazemeet team, people from all over the world got involved in the project. People just wanted to help.

it also made us re-evaluate some of the features of Amazemeet. Now people were working from home video calling functionality took on a new dimension. We surmised that this wasn’t going to be a short-lived change so we added a bunch of features to Amazemeet to ensure connectivity was as good as the meeting management and we didn’t stop there. We condensed an entire feature roll-out into the 2 months that we had earmarked for testing and bug fixes before launch. We’ll still be doing that and a big thanks to you guys who’ve signed up to test.

What have we learnt

We knew we had a pretty successful product with over 13,000 users globally. I think the leasons we have really learnt boil down to two.

Firstly how fragile the world is. Coronavirus has upended the entire world, economies are nosediving the path back seems unclear. Businesses, who had enjoyed a sustained period of growth, were suddenly in trouble after 8 weeks of lockdown. Panic buying was rife, people were lost and worse still huge numbers of people were dying. This transcends business and I believe it has caused us all to revaluate what’s important, and that’s a good thing.

Secondly, despite how well you plan, things happen. Ok, this was a biggy, but it just goes to show that you can never be certain about the future. It’s how you react that’s important. I remember the first meeting we had as things started to look bad. Nobody panicked, we simple brainstormed outcomes and how we would deal with them.

Amazemeet will be better for it

Finding a silver lining is hard right now. What we do know is that Amazemeet will be better as a result of what we’ve gone through. Not because it will have one extra feature but because as a team we’ll be better. We’ve been through some tough tests over the last few months and come out of it. That’s invaluable and something that will live with us for a long while to come.

Amazemeet’s a great tool for running effective meetings lockdown or not

Try it Free.

What will matter in the new world of work?

new world of work

The new world of work has somewhat been thrust on us. Will it change our values and how we define successful working?

As we’ve been forced into a new world of work we’ve been reflecting on how our entire working ecosystem will change and the values that we cling to will be reshaped, oh and having some better meetings. Covid-19 struck the world hard and extremely fast. It pushed the vast majoirty of us into enforced home working, overnight companies became distributed businesses whether they wanted to or not.

It forced organisations to quickly re-evaluate their employer, employee relationships in the context of remote working, Did employees have the right technology, how would work fit in with homeschooling and childcare? Employers instantly had to be accommodating, the lines between business and personal have become blurred. But, most of us have made it work and not suffered too much as a result. In fact issues that once were the preserve of personal and family life are now a part of company life too. It feels like business has got emotional. Why? Because companies can’t function without people, businesses had a choice to make, either shut up shop, take some government money and hope to weather the storm or adapt.

It seems like those that have adapted have done it quickly and generally the experience has not been as unpalatable as the press makes out.

Can we go back?

I’m not sure we can. What seems abnormal now will quickly become the new normal. Companies may well be judged on how they dealt with employees during this unprecedented period. Will we see a new kind of business emerge that is happier to integrate around it’s employees lives rather than the other way round? It’s certainly true that the kind of perks we used to think were great no longer matter. I for one would much rather have a balanced working life and time with family than regular trips to a bar.

There’s also so the obvious cost saving that will come from lockdown and the anticipated economic downturn. Do we really need 5 floors of central London office space? Twitter has announced regardless the outcome of the next few months that staff can work from home permanently. I doubt this is a PR stunt, they probably realised quickly that it’s made little difference to their operating model so why not.

Where’s the future?

6 months ago distributed business were real outliers. That’s clearly changed, will we now see a wave of people looking for roles only with businesses who offer mainly work from home? I expect so. Once we can get out and do things again working from home is awesome. The technology is here, the infrastructure exists we just needed a push and we got kind of a big one.

Values that matter.

Productivity is linked to the amount of time spent in the office, said no study ever. Clearly it will be hard for people to argue that anymore, if they still were. I think values will be shaped around balance and understanding in this new world of work. Organisations that can positively blur the line between personal and professional, being mindful of each and giving equal importance to each. I think that’s the kind of place people will actually be happy working in and as we know happy, engaged employees are the root to success.

Tools to make it easier

If we we want to embrace this new world of work, and we should, we’re going to need the right tools to thrive. That’s why we’re levelling up Amazemeet with some amazing new features like the Ai meeting facilitator. It’s like having a PA, secretary and meeting coach rolled into one, designed to make your meeting efficient and effective whether you’re in a bedroom or the boardroom.

Amazemeet’s a great tool for running effective meetings in the new normal

Try it Free.