Unless you’re some kind of fresh-faced-Monday-morning-boardroom-furniture-loving-Power-Point-wiz-kid, you’ve probably had just about enough of the useless meetings that punctuate your week. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that, on the whole, conventional team meetings are a big waste of time and money!
Unfortunately, however, there seems to be some kind of unspoken global law that keeps everyone trekking to the conference room to feign interest as they try their best not to nod off in the middle of another hour-long-meeting-that-should’ve-been-an-email. We’re addicted to them, and they’re ruining everyone’s flow.
But what if there was another way? What if, instead of clearing your schedule again to squeeze in the fifth meeting of the day, your meetings were ready and waiting for you when you have the time and mental energy? What if, there was a way to meet, without actually meeting.
Well, we’re here to tell you there is, and with virtual asynchronous meetings, you can get more done in less time, without the drudgery of the boardroom, the psychological anguish of another Monday morning, and without having to listen to Dave shout down everyone’s ideas—yet again!
What is an Asynchronous Meeting, and How Does it Encourage Collaboration?
Much like asynchronous communication, an asynchronous meeting works from the premise that not everyone needs to be in the same place at the same time in order to collaborate. At its core, an asynchronous meeting requires only a digital space, rather than a physical place AND specific time for conventional meetings. In other words, if your regular Monday morning meeting demands that the entire team be physically present in the conference room at 9am, a virtual asynchronous meeting only needs a digital space (that can be accessed at any time) for everyone to collaborate on a given topic or topics.
Hosting asynchronous meetings can be achieved in a variety of simple ways that you’re already familiar with. For instance, a simple group email thread might be considered an asynchronous meeting, so too a collaborative document with editable comments, even a team chat could be used—to a limit.
Asynchronous tools are already part of the digital tapestry, and as the concept becomes more popular, there’s plenty of scope to make the process more efficient, creative, and collaborative. Now, by combining communication tools and collaborative cloud features, your meetings are not only less of a drain on your valuable time but enhanced in numerous ways.
The Benefits of Meetings When You’re Not in the Same Room
Aside from saving you time, effort, and mental energy, asynchronous meetings have plenty of other benefits too. Whether you want to promote more balanced discussion, or you need a way to connect team members around the world, asynchronous meetings can help. Here, we take a look at some of the main benefits of this approach and how asynchronous meeting tools can help.
One of the truly liberating characteristics of the digital age is its potential to promote truly democratic collaboration. IRL, meetings have a tendency to revolve around the loudest and most forceful voice in the room, very often at the expense of quieter individuals and those who haven’t quite shaken off the night before. Not everyone excels in a competitive environment (or early in the morning), and for small businesses in particular, recognizing that fact is key to success.
To facilitate true collaboration between your employees, everyone needs to have a voice. Asynchronous meetings ensure each individual contributor has a platform from which to collaborate, giving even the most sheepish staff the chance to elucidate their thoughts and ideas without being drowned out.
Minutes are Moot
Keeping a note of meeting minutes, action plans, or to-dos usually falls to one person, and the quality of those notes can vary widely. With asynchronous meetings, however, all the information you need is stored in a single place, giving you, your team, and anyone not present at that meeting access to everything that was discussed whenever and wherever needed.
Whether you’re using email or a shared document on a cloud drive, all of the notes, discussions, links, images, slides, audio and video clips (and anything else you can think of) are stored within your meeting places. Additionally, you can also fall back on the logical progression of ideas and contributions over time to get a better understanding of how decisions were made.
Space to Think
Rather than just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, asynchronous meetings allow you space to think and the time to gather your thoughts to make a coherent point. If you feel something is wrong with the results, predictions, or stats presented in your meeting space, you can take a step back to research and gather evidence to back up your argument. You can also take a minute to breathe when somebody does their very best to undermine you!
Asynchronous meeting tools give you all the advantages of regular meetings, but with the added bonus of being able to refer to all of your resources without interrupting the flow. It also means team members can deliver insights and ideas with more authority, essentially making the whole meeting process more streamlined and efficient.
Ideas Without Borders
Last, but most definitely not least, asynchronous meetings have the ability to bring everyone together—wherever they are. Connecting freelancers, remote workers, and other staff from around the world is one of the biggest challenges in today’s workplace—particularly when it comes to dealing with different time zones.
However, a centralized space for asynchronous meetings means anyone can contribute at any time. Whether your sales manager is currently on a working holiday on the other side of the world, or you regularly collaborate with freelancers who work from home, everyone still has the opportunity to weigh in and contribute to the meeting at a time that works for them.
Setting Up an Alternative Meeting Space with Spike
Spike is your all-in-one tool for meetings without meeting, and whether it’s a quick and dirty asynchronous stand up meeting or something more detailed and in-depth, you’ll find all features you need within the app. What’s more, setting up is simple, and using our intuitive features, you’ll discover new ways to collaborate and communicate.
By combining instant chat and email, tasks and to dos, notes, and calendars, you can quickly and easily get started. Set up a Group and invite everyone who needs to part of the meeting, briefly discuss main points, deadlines, potential outcomes and results. Point everyone in the direction of your asynchronous meeting tools and start collaborating.
Next, use an online collaborative Note to add all of your resources such as links to cloud documents, tables, images, or whatever else you need. You can then combine these with tasks and to do lists that allow team members to address specific points using tick boxes, tables, or any of the integrated features provided.
One final note: it’s usually a good idea to give your asynchronous meeting a time limit. So, let’s say you need a particular action point resolved by next Friday. Simply set up your Calendar with the deadline, let everyone know using email or chat. Over the course of the week, your team can add comments, edit documents, and discuss the finer details over email or instant chat.
Depending on your particular workflow, there are many ways to use Spike as an asynchronous workplace, you just need to find the best combination of tools that works for you. If you’re exploring asynchronous meetings with Spike, then let us know @SpikeNowHQ and stay tuned to the blog for more information on everything asynchronous!
Alternative to Meetings FAQ
The meaning of the word “asynchronous”, according to Merriam Webster, is “not simultaneous or concurrent in time: not synchronous”. When applied to digital communication, this meaning expands to include tools and platforms that we already know well. For example, email is considered a form of asynchronous communication as it doesn’t require the individuals using it to be online or active at the same time.
Collaboration in meetings can also be achieved asynchronously using digital tools and platforms. Asynchronous in this sense means creating a collaborative space where people can share ideas and plans, effortlessly discussing and commenting on anything without the need to be in the same room, or even communicating at the same time.
With the rise of digital communication, we now have many alternatives to meetings that save time and encourage more efficient collaboration. Async meetings are one way to recreate the dynamics of a conventional face-to-face, allowing multiple individuals to collaborate and plan within an online hub designed to discuss and detail plans and ideas.
This type of alternative to meetings offers plenty of advantages. Not only can anyone participate at any time, and from anywhere, but you can also centralize access to all the information, documentation, files, and other resources so everyone can access them whenever required.
Asynchronous communication boasts a number of advantages over synchronous communication. Firstly, it doesn’t require both parties to be online at the same time, and just like email, you can write down your thoughts, ideas, and plans as they come to you and then ask your collaborators to get involved at a time suitable to them. The same is true to other way around, allowing you to develop flow without distractions.
Additionally, when using asynchronous communication, you can also take advantage of async meetings. In particular, when combining Spike Notes and Groups, you can quickly and easily set up a digital space to collaborate, create, and communicate—regardless of whether you work in the same office or different continents.