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Effortlessly track your meeting performance

Simply install our Outlook add-in and feedback will be enabled for all your future meetings

Within seconds you will be able to see a detailed analysis of you calendar and how you spend your time.
Contact us today to understand how you can extend this approach across your whole organisation.

How it works

Simple step by step guide to using meetings@... ... more

Corporate overview

Linking accounts together for a complete picture ... more

Improvement steps

Your process for driving meeting improvement ... more

The curse of meetings

The harsh truth about meeting performance ... more

Meeting challenges

Blogs and articles to help you rethink the meetings process ... more

Integrated solution

Extending feedback to other forms of communication ... more

Learn more about how to use meetings@ to improve your meetings ...

How it works, simple step by simple step ...

Sharper meetings tool

The headline is simple - install our Outlook Add-in, and meeting feedback and analysis will all happen without you having to lift another finger.

When you install the add-in, it uses the information in each meeting invitation to work out what needs to happen, when, and with whom, and it gets on and does it - in the background, without you having to do anything else.

No sign up or set up required - it is all automatic ...

If you do not have an Inspirometer account, or a meeting Tag, it will create these for you using the information in the invite and automatically provide you with a 30 day free trial. It will use the scheduled finish time of the meeting to schedule the feedback requests, and it will read the email addresses of the other attendees to know where to send these requests. And if you change anything about the meeting, it will register those changes from the update and adjust things where necessary.

You can also gather feedback on things around the meeting ...

It will also send you a set of additional Tags for you to use around the meeting should you wish. For instance, you may want feedback on documentation and pre-reading, or on aspects of the facilities or presentations. If you do, simply copy and paste the Tags onto your documents and resources - use the faces for things that will be accessed electronically, and the QR codes for physical, printed or projected items.

People responding to your Tags or the feedback request at the end of the meeting only need to click a face to have their feedback registered - it could not be easier. Feedback is anonymous, and they can leave comments if they wish to.

Feedback is real-time and available immediately ...

You will immediately be able to access your results via the newly installed Inspirometer button on your Outlook ribbon - within minutes you will be able to see an analysis of your meetings over the last 30 days.

You can even link your account to your colleagues' accounts and work together to improve meeting performance in your organisation.

For more information, take a look at our extensive help pages.

Use the appropriate link below to install the add-in that is right for your version of Outlook ...
 

Meetings analysis page

For Outlook 2010 and all later versions, please click here.
For Outlook 2007, please click here.
 

These links will begin a process which, depending on your browser, will either start the installation directly, or will download a file for you to save and/or run. Follow the prompts to install the add-in. Then restart your Outlook and let things settle down, You should receive an email to tell you everything is okay. At that point we recommend that you close and reopen outlook a second time to ensure everything is in the right place, and you will be all ready to go.

Follow the instructions in the email to access your meeting analysis. You should immediately see something like the image on the right.

The plugin will also enable feedback by including meetings@inspirometer.com in the distribution of all future meetings that you set up. To enable this feature for meetings you have already set up in your diary, simply add meetings@inspirometer.com to the attendees and make sure that you send update to all (so that Inspirometer knows who to poll at the end of the meeting).

When your 30 day free trial completes, everything you have set up will continue as normal, but when access your account it will ask you to follow our payment process - which is very simple and inexpensive.

 

For more information contact us here.

We have some more tentative steps that you can take

If you are not quite ready for the whole add-in thing, you can test out the feedback part of the tool (without the meeting analysis component) simply by creating a test meeting with a friendly colleague and inviting meetings@inspirometer.com along as well. This will help you to understand how the feedback component works. Once feedback has been given you will receive an email explaining how you can access the results. You can continue using Inspirometer in this way free of charge for 30 days.

Your meeting data is securely held in Microsoft's Azure servers using 256 bit encryption, and only you and those who you directly invite to a meeting will be able to see your meeting titles. For more information on using meetings@inspirometer.com take a look at our helpful guide.

For more information contact us here.

Maintaining personal ownership for improvement

corporate-view

Personal accounts enable individual meeting organisers to take personal responsibility for improving their meetings. This is exactly as it should be. Improvement needs to be owned at the individual level for it to be effective and sustainable.

However, not everything can be achieved at the individual level. There may be systematic influences or investment and training needs which can be best seen by looking across the whole picture and seeing patterns in the results.

Linking accounts together to develop an organisation-wide picture of meeting effectiveness

Inspirometer provides for individual accounts to be linked together into teams, departments, and across the complete organisation, so that managers at different levels can better understand where they can best help facilitate improvement in their area - be that through investment of time or money, or through fixing organisational issues, or simply through dialogue and working together.

For more information contact us here.

The traditional meeting process goes back a long way...

thinking-about-working-together

The preface to the book 'Meeting by Design' is a story about a meeting. Most people guess that the meeting took place in the last decade or so, but the meeting actually took place 2000 years ago. The process by which meetings take place has not much evolved or developed since they were held around a 'board' on trestles in the medieval hall.

Thinking of meetings as a process raises a number of questions ...

Part of the problem is that we do not tend to think of meetings as a process - they are simply an accepted and repeated pattern of behaviour - a pattern so inherent that even its migration to the web has left it largely unchanged. But if we want to fix the inefficiency so prevalent in meetings, we need to think of them as a process - a process with a clear objective and deliverables; a process whose design needs to be creatively aligned to that objective.

Rethinking the meeting process provides huge potential ...

For many meetings, there is much to be gained by simply adopting the basic disciplines that so often slip when they are not attended to. However, once those gains are made, there are far greater gains to be had by reconsidering the process of meetings in the context of the modern workplace: our empowerment culture; out social media options; our technology etc.

Over time, we have written and collated a number of blog items and thought-provoking papers which we hope will act as a spur to your own thinking.

  1. Are meetings a waste of time? - results of Meetings Survey across 50 Organisations
  2. Why is management so busy? - looking at the implications of meetings for management workload
  3. The forgotten process - why is business’ most critical process neither measured nor improved?
  4. Taking a fresh look at meetings - how web-based meetings can transform physical meetings
  5. The process of leadership - how the meeting process empowers or frustrates leadership
  6. Is it progress if a meeting takes place over the web? - the perils of simply adopting tools as they are
  7. The wonder of web-based meetings - a new look at the potential of the web for meetings
  8. Telepresence - is it solving the wrong problem?
  9. Extending your Global grasp - the role of web-base meetings in creating a Global culture
  10. Does green have to be grey? - how do you get face-to-face clarity without stepping on a plane?
  11. The competitive edge of teamwork - using metrics to transform relationships
  12. Are today's leaders better than yesterday's - looking at the process of leadeship

For more information contact us here.

People's perception is that meetings are between 25% and 50% inefficient ...

The-curse-of-meetings

Meetings are less unpopular than they used to be. The development of managers with a more facilitative approach, and a more participative style to their meetings, and the 'retirement' of many of the more autocratic and directorial individuals, has made meetings more 'worthwhile' for people. Many of the more extreme figures about perceived meeting waste and dissatisfaction are now 15 years out of date - more recent figures talk in the 25-30% waste range rather than the 50% range - still an issue, but considerably better than it was.

... but are they being optimistic?

However, greater participation is not always an indicator of greater productivity - people may feel more productive when they participate, but that may mask a misunderstanding around the value of what they are participating in. While perceived meeting efficiency and satisfaction may have risen to around 75%, other questions indicate that meetings are being used to address issues that really should not need a meeting to address them. In a meeting survey conducted across 50 different organisations in 2010, questions were asked regarding the purpose of meeting activities, and yielded the following results:

  1. 40% of meeting time is consumed in addressing issues which were due to a 'failure' in a previous meeting
  2. 39% of meeting time is consumed for the purpose of chasing people up to complete their actions
  3. 17% of meeting time is consumed in covering material that people could have read in preparation

Meetings are often used to compensate for individual shortcomings

All of these things may feel productive to an individual attending the meeting, but they are actually all waste, and reflect a deeper, often unrecognised malaise. Meetings are often inappropriately utilised to effect things that would be more efficiently achieved by other mechanisms, because people cannot be relied upon to deliver what is expected of them.

That may sound harsh. But the problem exists, and what is worse, holding meetings to address the issue, simply compounds it. The figures quoted above inevitably have some overlap, but a conservative estimate would be that 50% of meeting time is wasted on these things - much of it in covering information that people could easily have read, chasing actions that people should have already completed, or making decisions that should have been concluded in earlier meetings.

Re-establishing personal responsibility

The fact is, meetings are essentially inefficient because people do not have the time to properly prepare for them, and, in many cases, they do not have the time to prepare because a lot of their time is taken up in inefficient meetings. It is a vicious circle - but it is one we have lived with for so long we hardly recognise it.

The point here is that meeting efficiency is not simply the responsibility of the meeting organiser, it is the responsibility of everybody in the meeting. And for this reason, meetings@inspirometer.com also has the facility to assign contributor feedback to meeting attendees, enabling accountability and transparency for these aspects of meeting efficiency.

For more information contact us here.

How should you start to improve your meetings without making an industry out of it?

Improvement-process

Part of the reason we want to improve meetings is because we are busy. And part of the reason we struggle to improve meetings is because we are busy.

We are 'where we are', and we need an approach which enables us to make gradual changes to our meetings that provide improvements and time-savings but are not an additional burden on what we are already doing.

With this in mind, we propose the following softly-softly approach to improvement.

1 Introduce meetings@inspirometer.com into your meetings, but keep it low key. Start by asking people to ensure they give feedback, and to ensure that it is honest - concentrate on ensuring simple end-of meeting feedback and track your progress
2 Use the feedback to start a dialogue with meeting attendees, Engage them in putting forward their ideas for improvement, and discussing what they believe would be most likely to make the biggest step in satisfaction with the meeting efficiency. This will help build a collective sense of responsibility for the outcomes.
3 Pick on a few easy improvements to begin with. If you are lacking any of the basic meeting disciplines, now is the time to ensure that they are in place. Track the improvement in people's feedback. Perhaps use the additional Tags that are available to gather feedback on specific aspects of the meeting.
4 Keep the dialogue going, perhaps for 5 or 10 minutes at the end of each meeting, and identify the next range of improvements to work on. Ensure that as the meeting becomes more efficient that you reduce the time of the meeting.
5 Introduce 'contribution' Tags for people to provide them feedback on their own role in the efficiency of the meeting. Work on ensuring that everybody is getting some feedback, and work with them to understand how they can improve their role in meeting efficiency.
6 As individual responsibility grows, divest some of the meeting activity to other mechanisms such as the company's social network, SharePoint, etc. Ensure that the efficiency gains are further realised in shortening the time spent in the meeting (or where appropriate reducing the frequency of the meeting).
7 Keep tracking the meeting performance to ensure it does not drift off track, and extend the feedback Tags into the other mechanisms that are now used to ensure that they remain efficient also. Begin to look into how you can be more creative in the design of the meeting to encompass more creativity within the meeting.

For more information contact us here.

Widening the perception of meetings to encompass other forms of communication

Integration

As technology develops, and our range of communication options grow, traditional definitions and boundaries of what is a 'meeting' begin to lose their relevance. Equally, the idea of it being 'one thing' could constrain our creativity in finding the most productive and efficient process(es) to deliver our objectives.

However, whatever 'meeting' becomes, it is clear that its process(es) will require measurement if it is not to drift into the levels of inefficiency that we currently experience. Fortunately, the Inspirometer system is designed to facilitate feedback on all forms of interaction, and to bring the results together in one place where patterns in the overall picture can be seen clearly. To understand more about this, take a look at our page on Smart Communication.

For more information contact us here.

    productivity | culture | customers
 

 

Understand how Inspirometers ...

    promote self-motivated improvement | enable collective management of performance
 

 

Who uses Inspirometer? The following is a selection of the organisations that are currently utilising Inspirometers in their work: