Tick. Tock. You wonder, “How much longer until this meeting is over?”

We’ve all been there: stuck in a three-hour meeting, when half the meeting’s content isn’t even relevant to our direct responsibilities (but we’re expected to attend the full meeting, anyway).

Chances are, your team members can relate to this exact situation. As a result, employee morale and focus may dip — meaning that not only is it harder to accomplish your goals for the meeting, but you’re also left with disillusioned, disengaged employees.

Enter the solution: video. By incorporating video in your team meetings, you can keep everyone focused and on task, maximizing productivity as well as engagement.

A Little Less Talk, a Lot More Action

Too often, we think of meetings only as opportunities to present. However, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the opportunity they provide to also gather information. When a meeting becomes one-way, it fast-tracks toward a dark, unproductive place.

Instead, employ a social enterprise strategy — one that focuses on maximizing human and environmental well-being — to foster collaboration and an exchange of ideas. There has been much dialogue around this approach over the past few years; I suppose we can thank salesforce.com for that, but there’s true value in it. Internal videos can help keep a company on the same page by sharing information interdepartmentally and ensuring all moving parts of the company are engaged and not isolated in silos.

Use Your Noodle

People need time to absorb and digest information. By sharing big-picture ideas first in video, you’ll allow your team to muse over the content and provide their thoughts later through comment boards.

In general, there are two types of information that make video the ideal vehicle for communication:

1)    High-level concepts: This includes company vision (so people can watch it multiple times and in different contexts), as well as simple training or Q&As. It’s the content in the middle that requires conversation — the things you should discuss in meetings.

2)    Growth-related conversation: When growing your company into new areas, video can help a company maintain consistent culture, encourage exclusivity, and report from abroad more easily. For instance, when our company was considering opening a new sales office in San Francisco, we knew we needed the team to be behind the idea. During our exploratory phase, we’d send regular video updates after good sales meetings — and from conferences and events — to add a human element to our company’s efforts. In addition, it fostered a sense of camaraderie with the team at home and allowed them to see the benefits of our efforts and learn about the business culture in San Francisco.

Keep the Ball Rolling

Use meetings for accomplishing work, not just gathering people. For example, our company recently produced a video for a large cable company announcing a merger. The piece shared the benefits of the merger, the company’s vision moving forward, and immediate next steps. Video was the perfect medium for this, because it boiled down in-the-weeds content into something small and digestible, while clarifying next steps and expectations. This allowed employees to focus their questions and continue working — avoiding wasted time and proactively managing responses.

Don’t Be Shy

Video can also be great for people who don’t like speaking in crowds, as they may feel more comfortable making a comment or sharing an update on video. It’s also an opportunity for team members to help train their peers and contribute their skills. I had one employee who was extremely shy at status meetings and company functions, but she didn’t hold back when it came time to offer video updates or comment on threads related to shared videos. She continues to be a great addition to our team.

Another great tool for the crowd-averse is Bloomfire, which companies can use to leverage institutional knowledge. Employees can create simple videos and screencasts to share tips and tricks with other employees to encourage membership, self-reliance, and engagement, whether for sales teams, HR support, or customer service. In my experience, the tool is helpful in teaching current and new hires how to navigate apps and tools we use, and it communicates new policies effectively.

On the Clock

Keeping timing in mind is also a key component of any video-in-meeting strategy. Like any in-person meeting, team members have a finite attention span — not to mention that it’s rarely necessary for any meeting to last more than an hour.

Our organization has a meeting policy that specifically outlines which parts of meetings make sense for individual members to attend. In addition, we institute time limits on every meeting set. All internal meetings are no longer than 45 minutes — and we apply this to client meetings as well. (Of course, if the client or situation warrants longer talks, we’ll oblige. But we always aim for shorter, more focused meetings.)

By employing these strategies in your meetings, you can ensure that the next time your team members are listening to the tick-tock of the clock, it’s not to measure the remaining minutes in a meeting — but counting down the seconds until their next one. And an engaged team like that will always be a more effective one.