CNN asked 15 top CEOs what they think the future of work will look like. Here are five insights I gleaned from their answers that relate to the future of meetings.
Hybrid will be the norm
Almost every CEO shared that they expect hybrid work, where some employees are in the office and some are remote each day will be the way their company works in the future. Employees are looking for and expecting more flexibility in their work lives. This means that meetings will be held using a hybrid approach because not everyone will be in one location. Hybrid meetings have some key differences with in-person and virtual-only meetings. I have a page on my website that lists some of the differences and ideas of what leaders can do to make hybrid meetings effective.
Professionals will need to get more comfortable with different technology
If you are spending some of your time in a home-based work setup and some time in an office that is changing to accommodate new needs and requirements, expect that the technology setups you will use to be more complex. It won’t just be a docking station at your desk or your laptop in a meeting room. You may not have a permanent desk, your organization may have multiple locations in your area to work from, including outsourced sites, and the meeting rooms will be upgraded with new technology that supports hybrid meetings. Business professionals will have to upgrade their skills at connecting different equipment and making it all work together.
Collaboration will be an ongoing challenge
Many CEOs said that collaboration is key to their success and how this happens in the future will be a challenge. The old way of getting everyone in the same room likely won’t be possible for quite a while. So effective online collaboration will be needed. While there are specific tools you can invest in to enable collaboration online, I suggest you look at leveraging a tool you already have and use. I wrote an article and video on how you can use PowerPoint to collaborate using group creation or editing on a shared page.
Running a hybrid meeting is a new skill professionals need to learn
Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi, specifically identified an issue that I think will be common in many organizations. She said, “How do we balance conversations in which some participants are in person and others are on Zoom?” This will be a skill that leaders need to develop and model for others. I wrote an article sharing three ways leaders can make sure remote meeting attendees feel included.
The changes in the way we work are far from over
The CEOs agreed that the changes we saw in 2020 and the ones we are anticipating for the future are just the start of significant changes that will come. Many of those changes aren’t even on our radar and some haven’t even been imagined yet. Flexibility will be a key skill in the future. I would add that a willingness to learn new technologies and adapt to them will also be key. The basic skills for virtual meetings everyone learned in 2020 won’t be good enough in the future and being willing to constantly learn will be critical for business professionals.
Hybrid meetings aren’t in the future, they are happening now. I have more articles on how to make hybrid meetings and presentations effective at http://www.EffectiveHybridPresentations.com.
Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don’t overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 3.5 million times and liked over 14,000 times on YouTube.