Whether it’s the AGM or a quarterly review, co-ordinating major meetings can be among the most stressful parts of a PA’s role – Alister Esam, an expert in making meetings smarter, suggests some time-saving and tech-embracing ideas to try in your own office…
- Share: Make materials accessible via smartphones and tablets so people can read easily in advance and save At its most simple, this can be done by saving PDFs and sharing via email, whilst file sharing services like Dropbox, or digital collaboration tools, like Huddle, mean documents can be shared via links.
- Stay secure: Many data breaches come from human error and documents left where they shouldn’t have been. With paper this is potentially catastrophic but devices can be locked and protected almost immediately if required.
- Early collaboration: The ultimate in digitising the meeting process is online board portals. Examples include Boardvantage and BoardPacks and come packed with clever features – an app for instance, so attendees can read content at their convenience and make Annotations show on everyone’s version, encouraging discussion before the meeting has even started. And, online board portals allow late edits to be made swiftly, rather than requiring a whole new print run – a potential PA lifesaver.
- In the meeting: Tools like me allow everyone to see the organiser’s screen; great for encouraging collaboration and saving EA note-taking time. Keeping the agenda on a (digital) white board can help keep focus, too, and further reduces the need for printed materials.
Seema Shah, EA to the CEO at Sportech PLC, tried out an app-based system:
“There’s no need to print out packs of papers anymore – plus if someone decides to change or add a paper last minute, I can just go into the system online and do this myself, as long as I have a laptop and WiFi. I don’t even need to be in the office. For our board, the system is readily available on their iPads and they can make annotations straight onto the document pre-meeting. And, once they’ve downloaded a particular month, it’s always available if they need to look back.”