If you've been a faithful reader of Effective Meetings.com, you've probably received many tips on how to improve your meetings. Somewhere in all this advice, you may have heard of the latest and greatest software products that implement effective-meeting processes electronically.

What Is an Electronic Meeting Process?
An electronic meeting process guides you through the various meeting stages using meeting productivity software. This software is designed to assist with the preparation and follow-up stages of your meeting as well as the meeting itself. 

How Can It Help Me?
You're probably already writing an agenda and distributing it to your team. Most meeting productivity software take this process one step further and allow you to store meeting goals, agenda items and relevant files in an electronic workspace. This workspace can then be sent to participants via e-mail to review prior to the meeting. 

During an electronic meeting, you can access the meeting workspace to go through agenda items, goals and attached files. Some meeting productivity software also has timers that help guide you through your agenda items, ensuring that the meeting stays focused and on schedule.

For those of you who've been in meetings where decisions are made yet no one is held accountable, electronic meetings offer a solution. Typically an area is reserved within the meeting workspace to record all of the decisions being made, the tasks assigned and their deadlines. Some meeting productivity software even allows for the assigned tasks to be integrated into the task feature of your e-mail system. At the end of your meeting, the electronic workspace with a complete record of decisions tasks can be e-mailed to participants, eliminating the need to take and distribute minutes.

Benefits of Electronic Meetings
By implementing an electronic meeting process, actual meeting time can be reduced by approximately 50%. If productivity improvements weren't enough, consider the other benefits of covering an electronic meeting using meeting productivity software:

all meeting materials are housed in one location 
decisions and tasks are recorded, ensuring accountability
permanent records of meeting files are kept
past meeting files are easily accessible
all meeting workspaces can be kept private and secure

Could It Work for Us?
If you and your team meet on a regular basis, you're candidates for meeting productivity software. For teams that generate and share information, need to easily follow-up on tasks and strive to make more efficient use of their time, electronic meeting processes offer another great way to make meetings more effective.

1. Meeting and Convention 2000 Meeting Market Report

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