A Introductory Guide to Running an Asynchronous Meeting
Remote working is a powerful tool for any business. With the availability of video conferencing platforms, it’s become possible for people to work together wherever they’re based—whether that’s in the office, working from home, or halfway around the world. However, when everyone has busy schedules and some are in completely different time zones, it can be tricky to get everyone together at the same time. That’s where asynchronous meetings come in!
The idea of an asynchronous meeting can seem a little alien at first. But the concept is relatively simple—and it comes with several important benefits.
What is an asynchronous meeting?
Put simply, an asynchronous meeting involves communication between team members which doesn’t take place in real-time.
Rather than all of you gathering together at—say—9am Eastern for your weekly meeting, one of you will kick the meeting off by recording a video message and distributing it among your team members. You’ll each then be able to respond to that message in your own time and provide feedback, usually by a certain deadline.
Such asynchronous communication is made simple by cutting-edge tools like Covideo. Covideo makes it quick and simple to record high-impact, short videos and disseminate them by email or text. Just perfect for an asynchronous meeting with your team.
Advantages of asynchronous communication
So why are asynchronous meetings a good idea? How can they help you and your team work together more efficiently? Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits:
Great for teams in different time zones
Syncing everyone’s calendars is usually hard enough without the added trouble of different time zones. If you’ve ever worked with team members in other parts of the world, you’ll understand the struggle well!
With asynchronous meetings, you’ll no longer need to get up super early or work through your evenings to check in to the latest meeting. You’ll simply be able to follow along and respond at a time that works for you and your schedule.
By using Covideo, too, your colleagues will be able to see when you’ve seen their videos, with real-time notifications.
Bonus tip: Setting up a business VoIP system with a SIP trunk is a good way to keep your staff connected across long distances without the risk of exorbitant call charges.
As well as being far easier to arrange and schedule, asynchronous meetings can also be far more focused than standard synchronous meetings.
No more hanging around in an empty lobby, waiting for late team members to dial in. No more awkward silences while someone roots around for an all-important document. As everyone can take part in their own time, they can be more prepared and ready to focus on the matters at hand.
Meetings are documented
It’s not always possible to maintain accurate documentation for synchronous meetings, especially not if they’re arranged at the last minute or the person who’s usually responsible for updating the agenda is out sick.
With asynchronous meetings, you’re guaranteed to have reliable documentation of what’s been discussed. Due to the nature of asynchronous meetings, you’ll have all of the assets available—any video messages which have been recorded as well as any notes or files shared afterward.
With a solution like Covideo, what’s more, you also get detailed analytics and reporting as part of the package. That means you can track views, clicks, and other engagement metrics.
Disadvantages of asynchronous meetings
It’s important to bear in mind that asynchronous meetings might not always be the right option. So when might plain, old-fashioned synchronous meetings be a better idea? Let’s take a look at some of the main disadvantages to asynchronous meetings:
No good if you need an immediate response
What if you need an immediate response from your team members? Sure, you can set tight deadlines for feedback to be submitted for an asynchronous meeting. But that would eliminate one of the main benefits for holding them—namely their flexibility!
Therefore, in some cases, it’ll be better to arrange a traditional synchronous meeting. That way you can share what you need to share and get the answers you need there and then, without any need for follow-ups.
Fewer back-and-forth interactions amongst team
Being able to work remotely is a huge benefit to organizations and the people who work for them, particularly when it comes to improving work-life balance. However, it can also feel a little isolating sometimes.
Asynchronous meetings don’t give your team the chance to chat and interact in the natural way that human beings do in social settings—there can’t be any free-flowing, real-time dialog.
Bearing that in mind, it’s a good idea to make sure your team stays in regular, synchronous contact with one another. Think about arranging a weekly or monthly catchup where you can all get together at the same time.
How to run an effective asynchronous meeting
Now we’ve taken a look at the pros and cons of asynchronous meetings, let’s take a look at some top tips for making sure you run them as effectively as possible:
Make sure you have the right video technology
It’s no good asking your team to join and participate in asynchronous meetings if you don’t have the right technology to make that possible.
You can use free platforms like Google Docs to quickly share files and collaborate in the cloud. Then the only other tool you need is Covideo, which will allow you to record and send quick video messages to your team. In these videos you can share your webcam, screen or, both – so you can walk through a meeting agenda, slide deck, or whatever document might help to show as you talk. Once you’re finished recording your video – add any relevant CTA buttons to your landing page and it’s ready to be sent!
Covideo is designed specifically to streamline asynchronous communications, and so is perfect for such meetings. Take a look and see all of the additional features that come with Covideo’s video messaging platform.
Educate and inform your team of the benefits
It’s vital that your team understand why you’re using asynchronous meetings, and how they work. Hopefully, most of the benefits should be immediately apparent to them—especially when you tell your European teammates that they won’t need to sacrifice their evenings for late meetings anymore!
It’s a great idea to include information about asynchronous meetings in your new employee onboarding videos. That way, new staff members know exactly what to expect when they’re invited to their first one.
Set an agenda
Make sure your meetings run as smoothly as possible by defining a clear objective and drawing up a well-structured agenda beforehand. Think of the agenda as the scaffolding which will hold the meeting together and prevent it from falling apart.
If everyone knows what’s going to be discussed, and what information they will need to provide, it’ll be far easier to reach the goal of the meeting.
Set deadlines for feedback
Asynchronous meetings rely on your team members giving their feedback as promptly as possible. Don’t let them forget to do so by setting clear and, most importantly, achievable deadlines. Make sure they add these to an appointment reminder app so they don’t forget!
Be careful not to make your deadlines too tight otherwise you may as well just hold a synchronous meeting! Give your team members enough breathing space so that they have time to catch up on what’s been discussed so far and gather their thoughts.
Hopefully, this one will be easy to achieve due to the nature of asynchronous meetings, as they generally run on electronic communications which are distributed among the attendees.
But don’t stop there. It’s a good idea to create some kind of shared document that can serve as the agenda as well as a central repository for your team members to add their feedback and any additional thoughts. It can be really helpful to have one document that everyone can go to if they need guidance.
Bonus tip: Speech recognition software can be super helpful for taking searchable notes from a video on the fly.
As you can see, asynchronous meetings have many important advantages over synchronous meetings. In particular, they’re great for people with busy calendars or international teams working in different time zones.
Just remember not to think of them as a complete replacement—there will still be times when getting your co-workers together at the same time is the best option.
Guest Writer Severine Hierso Bio:
Severine Hierso is EMEA Senior Product Marketing Manager for RingCentral Office, a leading cloud communications company that provides automatic call distribution and video conferencing services. She’s passionate about creating value, differentiation and messaging, ensuring a better experience for customers and partners.
She has gained extensive international Product Marketing, Market Research, Sales Enablement and Business development experience across SaaS, Telecommunications, Video Conferencing and Technology sectors within companies such as Sony, Cisco, Cogeco Peer 1 and Dimension Data/NTT.