|Dear Meeting Guru,
"Our CEO is in the office only two to
three days a week and his schedule varies. He's called a management
meeting every Monday at 2 p.m., which he always joins from a remote
site through a conference call. Without seeing his expressions,
it's very hard to read him. Because of this, the meeting participants
aren't responsive and our CEO ends up feeling frustrated. Help!"
I have two suggestions to help solve this problem, depending on your CEO's
comfort level with technology products. Try the first one if he's fairly technologically-savvy
and your company has the required equipment. Try the second if he prefers not
to use technology. Both options require that you approach him to help solve
Suggest to your CEO that he take a conferencing camera with him to remote sites.
If he can use a laptop to connect to the Internet from a remote location, he
can simply use the camera during a call made with Microsoft NetMeeting software
– no fancy videoconferencing equipment required. Back at the office, the
meeting participants can gather in a conference room where the CEO's real-time
image is projected onto a screen for all to see.
To learn more about videoconferencing, read Effective
Meetings via Videoconferencing.
Ask your CEO if this meeting could be scheduled on a rotating basis –
in other words, when he's in the office. In this case, all participants, including
the CEO, must understand that this meeting takes priority over other scheduled
meetings, since there are only two or three days during which it can be held.
If neither of these options will work, you could suggest a brainstorming meeting
in which participants can work out a solution to present to your CEO.
As the wise philosopher Confucius once said, "To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle." In other words, it may be difficult to approach your CEO about why participants aren't responsive for fear of offending him, but if you don't, you're only hurting yourself and the rest of the team.
may good meeting karma always be with you.