Features to meet your needs
Now that your organization has decided to look for an online meeting management solution, do you know where to start? There are many available solutions, with varying levels of features, ecosystems, and associated costs.
Before you begin your search, it’s most important for you to assess exactly what your organization needs. Some solutions come with all the bells and whistles — and the price tag that comes with it. The goal is to find the best alternative that will suit your needs. What do you need to accomplish? What is essential? What is nice to have? What is completely unnecessary?
Today, we’re focusing on the features that are essential to a meeting management solution for the average organization. This will not cover every single possible feature, and it will not cover every single organization. However, my goal is to give a reasonable idea of what other organizations find important, and why. My hope is that this will help as you begin the journey to finding an online meeting management solution that will be a good fit for your organization.
Let’s start with the essentials for clients looking to hold re-occurring meetings, such as board meetings. This kind of meeting usually has several important requirements:
1. Easy-to-use meeting set-up for the meeting administrator
2. Easy-to-use for meeting attendees
3. Voting functionality
Each of these requirements has their own detailed set of specifications, but if you’re looking for a new way to run your board meetings, allowing members to participate in-person or remotely, then each of these needs is probably on the top of your requirements list. Let’s explore these must-have features more in-depth.
Easy-to-use meeting set-up for the meeting administrator
In most cases, the person responsible for setting up and running the meeting has other responsibilities. It’s important that there is a low learning curve to setting up and making changes to a meeting. A few features for the easy-to-use category include:
- Clone previous meetings. Most likely, re-occurring meetings have a very similar format. If the meeting administrator can simply clone a previous meeting, this will save a lot of time and effort.
- Add or change motions quickly during the meeting. As we all know, a meeting can change by the minute. It’s important to be able to adjust on the fly, and for the agenda in the meeting management solution to be flexible and easy to change as well.
- Easily import the participant list and create the login information. You can’t run a meeting without participants! But no one wants to manually enter each person for each meeting. You’ll want to look for a few different features — mass participant upload ability, the ability to add individual participants on the fly, and the ability for participants to sign up on their own, with the meeting administrator being able to review and approve participants.
- Establish a quorum. Some organizations are required to establish a minimum number of members attending each meeting, or voting on an agenda item. If this is important for your organization, you will want to ensure you can easily establish a quorum through the meeting management solution.
- Meeting notes export. It’s pretty common to send post-meeting notes to attendees. You will want to make sure the meeting administrator is able to easily export meeting notes from the meeting management solution — even if it is simply the agenda item, who attended, the documents attached to it, and the vote results.
- Streaming video. Even if you are meeting remotely, it’s important to keep meetings relational. Including all participants on a video stream, as well as being able to display a presentation or document, is a big step in that direction. Look at how easy it is to integrate your video meeting software with the meeting management software as you review solution providers.
Easy-to-use for meeting attendees
It’s equally important for your meeting management solution to be user-friendly for meeting attendees. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, everyone has had new programs, systems, and routines — few people will get excited about learning to use a new tool. Some essential features that make a meeting management solution user-friendly for attendees are:
- Easy login and authentication. It is a careful balance to ensure the person logging into a meeting is the actual, approved person. But if your meeting participants find the login process difficult, they will not want to use the new tool. You’ll want to look for a tool that allows for several different login and authentication options so you can choose what is right for your attendees’ level of comfort with technology.
- Compatibility with all device-types. It goes without saying that today’s technology is evolving more every day. To make meeting attendance as easy as possible, you will want to make sure that your attendees can fully participate whether they are on their phone, tablet, or computer.
- Document library. One area people struggle with is having access to the same documents you might have in an in-person meeting. Your meeting management solution should allow you to upload relevant documents and attach them to the relevant agenda items. This ensures your participants will have full access to the information they need in order to debate and vote.