As much as I’d like to say that my ideal work environment is a chair on the beach or the patio of my local watering hole, really I do my best work in a quiet space, alone, and in an environment my brain associates with work and not play.
That means that my desks — one in my cube at the office and one at home — are where I get the majority of my work done.
In an ideal world, then, I’d get all of my work done there, right?
Try as I might to get all my work done at my desks, you might remember that we live in a world where work is online, mobile and, therefore, 24/7 accessible.
Thus, sometimes I write work emails on the bus home, text my coworkers in different time zones for quick answers and take some of my meetings on the go — mostly the ones that happen with our teams in Europe in the wee hours of the morning.
And I’m not alone.
Everyone’s doing it
In a recent Citrix survey of GoToMeeting customers, sixty-nine percent of users said they attend online meetings on mobile devices.
Fifty-four percent of users report switching to a different device during a meeting because of their location and network connection — so I’m not the only one that listens in on meetings on my commute to the office and then switches to my laptop once I get there.
See, mobile meetings are not just possible these days — they’re downright probable. So I’ve compiled my advice for optimizing the mobile meeting experience.
Tips for mobile meetings
Determine your participation level.
The first necessary step of a successful mobile meeting experience is figuring out the format and agenda of the meeting you’re attending and your role in it. Will you be speaking a lot on the meeting or mostly listening? It’s vital to determine your participation level so you can match your mobile environment to it.
If you need to speak a lot on the meeting, the bus or busy cafe might not be a great place to join from, since there will be background noise and since cell phone use and loud talking in public places generally makes steam come out of people’s ears.
Hotels, cafes, and parks often give you the space you need to participate fully in mobile meetings. Sometimes I listen in on meetings while I walk around the block. I recommend it.
Will there be visuals?
Another important consideration is whether the meeting will have slides or other presentation materials that you need to view to follow along. This also determines from where you should and can attend the meeting on the go. No meeting visuals? That’s the go ahead to listen in via Bluetooth in your car or on your headset at home.
If there are visuals, plan to dedicate your eyeballs to them. Cafes, parks, hotels and public transportation make fine places to watch presentations on mobile devices.
Wear a headset.
Don’t even think about speakerphone. A headset is a must. It puts a microphone near your mouth and limits the meeting audio to just you. Your café buddies will thank you, and so will your meeting colleagues who don’t have to listen to the milk steamer scream. You don’t need anything fancy in the headset department. Just your ear buds with built-in microphone will do. I use the ones that came with my iPhone.
Install the latest version of the GoToMeeting app.
Like most technology, you often get the best experience and additional features when you’re using the latest version. That’s the case with our latest versions of GoToMeeting for iPhone and Android phones, which let you join GoToMeeting sessions from those apps with one touch. No more dialing a phone number or finding your access code. The apps display your upcoming meetings from your device’s calendar, so all you have to do is open the app and click on the meeting to start it. Voilà!
The updated apps also have built-in email notifications for “I’ll be late” and “I’m unable to attend” that you can send to the meeting organizer, which makes dealing with last-minute changes convenient when you’re on the go.
Be a good mobile meeting participant.
Being a mobile meeting participant means paying closer attention to the things going on around you. If an announcement comes on at the airport while you’re taking a meeting at your gate, apologize and mute your line (or just mute and apologize later) so your environment doesn’t disrupt the rest of the meeting. Avoid staying on mute the entire meeting if you don’t have to. Group collaboration depends on everybody’s participation, so participate where you should.
I also like to say hello at the start of the meeting and let my colleagues know where I am, especially since my meeting participants are likely sharing webcams. A verbal hello alerts them to my presence on my mobile device.
Do these things and you can successfully attend your meetings from anywhere, though I stick mostly to cafés, the bus and my car. Just because I can take a meeting at the beach doesn’t mean I want to. Some places are just for fun.
GoToMeeting mobile apps are free. Meet with anyone, anywhere free for 30 days when you start your free trial of GoToMeeting.