We have an important message for everyone working in our supersized, overblown, tech-centric world: Bigger is not always better. This sentiment specifically applies to one of the tried-and-true staples of business growth—the company meeting—and everything it represents.
Collaboration Is Necessary
Don’t get confused—we believe that meetings are absolutely essential for growth, particularly for young industries like digital signage. Meetings allow great minds to come together to discuss trends and goals and formulate strategies for reaching those goals. No enterprise will last long without regular check-ins among executives to make sure the ship is on the right course.
But not just any meeting will produce the efficient results that executives crave.
We’ve all had the displeasure of sitting through long, dull meetings where too many topics are discussed. Whether too many subjects are tackled in one sitting, the meeting runs too long, or too many irrelevant staff members are invited, the end result is the same: Eyes glaze over. Attention spans falter. We lose focus—and with it, productivity.
According to Nancy Koehn who teaches at the Harvard Business School, a majority of executives feel that half the meetings they attend are unproductive in some way.
Further research from the London School of Economics showed that CEOs, on average, spend about 18 hours a week on meetings. That’s over two full workdays spent each week in discussions that likely produce little in the way of meaningful results.
Meetings are indeed necessary, but they need to be structured correctly.
The Value of Micro-Meetings
Executives attempting digital signage through meetings have likely seen Parkinson’s Law in action: Work will expand to fill the time allotted for it.
This means that if you schedule a 30-minute meeting, the meeting will surely fill that entire 30-minute block—even if there are only 10 minutes’ worth of insights to share.
This is where the concept of “micro-meetings” comes into play. Rather than a weekly meeting that lasts an hour, why not schedule four meetings throughout the week, each lasting 15 minutes?
That might look less productive at first glance, but plenty of tech visionaries (including former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk, and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer) all swear by the micro-meeting.
There are several key characteristics to micro-meetings that make them productive:
They keep members focused: Shorter meetings means there’s less time for chitchat and wasteful off-topic discussion. Plus, our limited attention spans won’t be taxed by overly long discussions.
They keep the discussion relevant: Efficient timeframes help keep conversations focused on mission-critical issues, often limiting the meeting to the discussion of a single goal.
They contribute to team success: A key part of meetings is updating team members on progress, a process which should be done as often as possible. According to Steve Jobs “Keeping your team in sync is not something you do once a week. It’s something you do every day.”
The value of brief, efficient meetings can’t be overstated, and most CEOs these days are jumping on board. Jobs famously declined a meeting invitation from President Obama himself because the tech icon felt the guest list had grown too large. That’s a commitment to efficiency that’s hard to match.
Digital Signage Micro-Meetings
With the value of micro-meetings established, let’s move on to how digital signage champions can leverage their usefulness in achieving their business goals.
As we know, digital signage is expanding fast. Across the healthcare, retail, advertising, and hospitality industries, digital signage is being deployed in a variety of unique ways.
But as stated earlier, the digital signage field is young. Most of these strategies will require coordinated thought and teamwork to bring to life. And the best way to accomplish this? You guessed it—micro-meetings.
Retail and Advertising
Digital signage in retail is fast becoming a cornerstone of brand visibility, sales growth, and seasonal marketing. However, knowing how to position digital retail signage for marketing growth isn’t easy. Rather than developing a signage strategy for in-store displays and kiosks that are deployed and forgotten, micro-meetings let digital signage champions and their clients discuss advertising results in real-time.
From day to day, the performance of retail signage can be assessed to determine how many customers interact with it, how changing digital displays affect sales and promotions, and which advertising campaigns offer the best combination of brand visibility and consumer information.
Consumer preferences are fickle. A key advantage of digital signage is that it can be as flexible as consumers demand. Regular micro-meetings monitor performance closely to ensure that each advertising strategy delivers the ROI a business needs.
From hotels to nightclubs to the local diner down the street, hospitality is one of the biggest industries employing digital signage. And just like retail signage placed in retail stores, hospitality digital signage can benefit from regular micro-meetings.
More than most industries, hospitality features non-stop customer churn and a never-ending sea of new faces that are coming and going. As such, digital signage strategies will need to be updated and reviewed with the same urgency.
In foodservice businesses, the needs of the consumer change on a day-to-day basis. Food vendors will likely promote different options during the week than they do on the weekend, in the interest of convenience and working around the 9-5 grind. In businesses like bars and nightclubs, the opposite is true—special deals and offers should be pushed during the weekend when more patrons are out and about.
Micro-meetings let digital signage champions discuss these matters in detail and more intimately, allowing for customized signage strategies across each day of the week. Meeting once a month—or even once a week—won’t cut it in these fast-moving businesses.
There are few industries that can benefit as much from digital signage micro-meetings as healthcare. Particularly in settings like hospitals and health clinics, time is of the essence. Healthcare providers need real-time communication strategies across a diverse hospital network to ensure that patient needs are met.
Because efficient communication has a direct impact on patient outcomes and hospital profitability, regular assessment of digital signage strategies is required in order to make sure the technology is supporting hospital goals and outcomes.
At its core, digital signage micro-meetings should focus on three simple concepts: prioritizing efficiency, flexible communication, and forward-thinking ideas that disrupt the traditional business environment.