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Differentiating Between Team Huddles and Conference Calls

Team Huddles

There’s no doubt about it – most businesses in the IT sector and general service sectors of the world could use an update to the way they conduct meetings. The daily meetings as we have them are flawed, and easily replaced with short-paced, more relevant team huddles designed to cut out the issues with meetings and bring them into the 21st century.

Why the Meeting is So Often Useless

It’s no surprise that most meetings end up being a time sink, for small and large businesses alike here in America. We’ve all been on a little bit of a crusade against the meeting, lamenting the fact that it drones on for too long, addresses the wrong topics or slips off topic, doesn’t engage everyone who needs to be present causing people to let their minds wander, do other work or worse yet, just fall asleep.

We waste $37 billion a year on meetings as per Meeting King, and that’s a conservative estimate. The truth could be much more painful. The worst part? Our employees and co-workers know it – it is them, complaining about being unable to get any work done, angry about the needless distraction that the daily meeting has proven to be, who are the most staunch enemies of continuing what they consider a useless practice.

Instead, they and many others recommend that project managers, department heads and general executives drastically cut the amount of meetings they hold, down to perhaps once a week. They demand a better schedule for the meeting, with timed pressure. They demand a meeting plan, flexible so as to allow explanations and clarifications, but strict in its sense of purpose and “sticking to the point.” If you’re even remotely familiar or in agreement with any of these, then you’ll also agree that while there is a lot of value in completely scrapping superfluous meetings, making announcements part of some optional memo system and larger happenings as part of a weekly meeting to help decide things for the next few days and clear up questions.

But for businesses and teams that require higher levels of coordination, where the ability to communicate instantly and work at a much faster, higher pace is richly rewarded, the daily meeting may still have its place – but as the huddle.

Huddles are built on technology. As tech evolves, so too must the way a company conducts its meetings. Communication is an ever-growing topic in tech, and we’re getting better and better at communicating with one another in increasingly efficient ways over increasingly larger distances. And while that’s a great thing, as it allows multinational teams and smaller businesses working together by outsourcing their craft get a chance to meet in a single room together ignoring the constraints of time zones and borders, there has to be a clear difference between a huddle meeting and what’s basically another conference call.

Differentiating the Huddle from a Call

We’ve established that a huddle meeting is an attempt to modernize daily meetings, by differentiating between a long-form meeting and a much shorter, sweeter, well-designed daily update. But it’s also relatively easy to mistake a call between teams as a huddle meeting. While utilizing the huddle video feature through platforms like BlueJeans is a great way to facilitate a modern huddle meeting across borders, the technology isn’t what defines the huddle — and video conferencing can be used for much more than just daily meetings or project updates.

Huddles and Time

The defining feature for a thought-out team huddle is time. Time is of the essence in business, and huddle meetings are supposed to: 1.) make the most of their time, and 2.) clarify that time is limited, and a very valuable commodity.

Meetings often waste time and make people forget that it’s a huge luxury in most cases. The huddle is a way of motivating everyone to get up and get going – and that concept isn’t exclusive to video calling. Any huddle can convey the same message, in business or sports.

The Versatility of Video

Modern-day video conferencing technology comes with a number of extremely exciting boons for companies and businesses looking to build a sort of cloud-based dashboard from which they can work together with remote and distant partners to achieve greater goals. As per Serious Startups, video calling has changed massively. From encrypted and secure file sharing to file streaming, editing and much more, the ability for calling software to act as a tool for cooperation has grown immensely since it first hit the commercial market – especially now that this software can be used by basically any laptop, common office PC or tablet.

A video conference call, thus, has potential as a communications pathway between businesses and clients, between businesses looking to work together, and between businesses already working together. It has the ability to be used as meeting tech, but it isn’t necessarily meeting tech.

Video conferencing may one day radically change again, or evolve into something like virtual reality conferencing, or a hybridized communications system that incorporates video and shared workspaces altogether. But the huddle meeting will stay, taking on new forms in business while sharing the same inherent meaning – a fast-paced, motivational meeting to get everyone up to speed and up to their tasks.

Photo: unsplash/@marg_cs

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