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Peak Meetings HD, can it make your meeting more efficient?

PROS

  1. Solid meeting structure
  2. Intuitive interface
  3. Excellent output capabilities, meeting minutes are well laid out and emailed to attendees
  4. Calendar integration; input meeting name and attendees directly into a meeting template
  5. Action Items section integrated with attendee list, assign action items to attendees
  6. Excellent Organization

CONS

  1. No linkage between categories; can not have an item flagged in the Situation Category linked to an item in the Solution Category
  2. Difficult to move between categories when taking minutes
  3. Expensive

I can’t think of one person I work with who says they love meetings. But yet, we are all guilty of scheduling them…and accepting them when invited. But why? Well, we all have work to do and often we need others help to get this work done. And, we all know that to be a valuable co-worker we have to help those around us complete their work as well. At my place of work, a 230+ bed community hospital with more than 1500 employees; we had over 6,000 meetings last year! This is an a amazing number, and yes lots of these meetings are for of community events and new-parent trainings; but the majority are simply committee meetings or project meetings directed at solving problems and improving care. So, how is it possible to improve the efficiency of some of these meetings?

Peak Meetings claims to be the tool to help make your meetings more productive. In fact, here is how they bill themselves on their web site;

“Better, faster meetings made easy” according to Peak Meetings, is this possible? Well, I spent a week using this app trying to find out. Before I get into the details, the central idea behind Peak Meetings is that meetings are often useless because they lack structure; I.e. no goal, agenda, no guiding structure, etc. Peak Meetings on the iPad seeks to provide a meeting structure around which a meeting organizer can keep a meeting on track and therefor provide more value for the attendees and the organization.

First, the app is organized into 7 different meeting categories. When I first tried the app, I attempted to understand the difference between each of these categories. The reality is that Peak simply adds or subtracts meeting template sections depending on which category you choose. For instance, I am presented with the following columns to capture information:

  1. Current Situation
  2. Options
  3. Solution
  4. Actions

Whereas, the following categories appear for the Brainstorming meeting type. Useful, although it depends on how you like to structure your meetings. For me, I simply like to have an agenda, action items and notes. If I can prepare an appropriate agenda in advance I generally have enough structure to keep a meeting on track.

  1. Background
  2. Ideas
  3. Analysis
  4. Actions

Peak attempts to provide a logical framework to organize and run different meeting types. This make sense if these categories were linked together in some way. The reality though is that these categories are simply just lists with different titles. For instance, in the Basic meeting type the first category is Background which allows me enter one or multiple “items”. What’s an item, well it is anything related to the topic of the meeting. You also have Ideas and the Analysis sections to further slice and dice the topic you are meeting with. For me, these categories were a bit too prescriptive. I would prefer the Basic Meeting to have an Agenda Category, a Notes Category and Action Items…but, that’s just me.

If I did want to use the categories I would expect the ability to link “Items” between the categories. This way my team could identify and discuss a particular item and then work on resolving each item with either an Idea or an Action Item. Now each of the categories is an island, you have to make the connections yourself later with the meeting minutes (more on this later).

I used this app in three different, non-critical meetings. I took the time to prepare by creating a defined agendas for each and then simply used the app to capture the minutes for each of the the meetings. As I mentioned above, Peak does a great job helping you to organize your thoughts in preparation for a meeting. And, Peak provides nice structure to capture all action items and discussion points throughout meeting. What Peak does not do is truly link your items across each of its categories. The effect of this shortcoming is that you have to make these linkages yourself once the minutes are generated. Peak does provide a nice Notes and Agenda section, but either of these items are linked together in any way.

Would I recommend this app? For $14.99 I may say wait to see if the app improves or I would say check one of the other meetings apps on the market like Meeting Mngr Pro or MyMeeting Pro HD. In fact I may give one of these other apps a try as well. I the meantime I will work with Peak to see if I can get more efficient using it to plan for and run my meetings.

In the spirit of helping you improve the efficiency of your meetings check out the manifesto our Director of Education came up with. It looks like my hospital will be moving to 45 minutes meetings next year and mandating Agendas to help improve the efficiency of our meetings. I love the concept and can’t wait to see if we see improvements!

Even Google is trying to change meetings a bit. Check out this comment on the NY Times by Google’s young CEO.

Happy meetings!

About the author

    Chris Lee

    I am a healthcare administrator interested in being productive. I believe that the combination of a tablet (iPad Air 32GB) and a smartphone (iPhone 5 in my case) can drastically improve how we do work without adding too much complexity. The “how” of accomplishing this productivity is the focus of this blog. Here are just a few of the topics I hope to cover.Even though I use iOS devices currently I am in no way totally tied to Apple. I have used a Surface 2 for an extended time and am currently considering replacing my HP laptop with a Surface at some point, so keep reading to find out when this happens. Heck, I may even write a post some day on getting efficient with a Kindle Fire HD given that my daughter just got one for her birthday awhile back.

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