What To Look For in a Meeting Partner: Advances in Automation and Efficiency


Crisis often leads to innovation. And in the last three years, governments have found that old saying to be true. Growing demand for information and services from a technologically-savvy public combined with the impact of pandemic-related restrictions placed government workers in a difficult position to meet the needs of the residents they serve.

Digital tools helped keep governments moving during that time. Public meetings was perhaps one of the areas where the impact of technology was felt the strongest. As many councils and boards had to create solutions that allowed both remote video and maintained access for all communities, technology, like that found in Granicus’ govMeetings solution, stepped up to make sure that these meetings could not only function but succeed.

The transition from that crisis has shown the long-lasting effects that innovation brings. There will undoubtedly be no return to “business as usual.” But for boards and councils, the adaptation proves to be a positive one. For as the public’s now-expected need for video streaming and increased demand for transparency increases, tools such as Granicus’ govMeetings makes it easy for staff to provide uninterrupted access to information. This not only helps meet the needs of shifting resident expectations, but also addresses new privacy and access regulations, such as those that are part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What Makes a Good Meeting Partner

Automated, secure, and reliable tools give a complete solution of modern capabilities to provide civic records quickly with less demand on staff to serve as a go-between or gatekeeper. These innovations not only increase access and transparency in ways that help to increase participation in meetings and build trust in government, they save governments time, resources and, importantly, money from staffs struggling to achieve more with dwindling budgets.

The need for a public meeting solution is clear. But what goes into determining the correct partner for a staff when it comes to implementing that solution? Some of the common benefits governments should look for in a public meeting partner, as well as some of the pitfalls of which staff should be aware before starting a partnership, include:

  • Automation and Efficiency
  • Compliance and Transparency
  • Security and Reliability

Finding strengths in all of these areas will help create long-term positive relationship with a public meetings software partner.

Automation and Efficiency

Public meeting tools offer a variety of automation processes that alleviate staff of time-intensive tasks. Every step of the public meeting process can be beneficially impacted by modern digital automations.

Preparing and distributing agendas digitally can realize significant resource savings for a staff, due to the reduction of staff hours spent on collation and distribution, as well as printing. At the same time, a digital approach makes it easier to track agendas, manage approvals, and provide easier public transparency before meetings.

During meetings, common automations in tools such as Granicus’ govMeetings solution help track meeting votes, record and publish minutes, and email subscribers meeting minutes to again help maintain a positive and transparent relationship with residents, while making it easier for council and board members to find relevant information.

Live streaming is a significant area of interest for residents engaging with public meetings both during and after pandemic-related restrictions. Easily accessible video of meetings either live-streamed or on-demand continue to be popular with the public. Automation processes in govMeetings allows staff to easily index relevant materials to the minutes of a meeting so that when viewers engage with a topic, they can easily access the portion of the meeting related to that topic, access supplemental information, and be better informed.

Automation also provides staff a way to make sure that common information related to boards and commissions is effectively maintained and always up to date. For example, govMeetings’ “Boards and Commissions” tool can provide automated maintenance of backend spreadsheets that track board appointments, term expirations, and other tasks that would otherwise demand the use of staff hours. This not only helps reduce strain on staff resources, but also provides a reliable digital process that helps ensure that information is accurate at all times.

How Automation Helps All Phases of Public Meetings

A public meeting partner should provide automation and efficiency solutions that:

Before the meeting

  • Easily generate professional-looking agendas in seconds
  • Send meeting materials to stakeholders with the click of a button
  • Gather agenda approvals and changes quickly
  • Collect online citizen feedback
  • Allow board or council members to review & approve agendas from their mobile device or tablet
  • Receive instant updates when agendas are published or modified

During the meeting

  • Automatically capture in-meeting actions, motions, and votes in real time
  • Live stream and record comprehensive public meeting records in hybrid or virtual settings in one complete solution not requiring third-party plug-ins or integrations
  • Streaming to multiple channels and social platforms to reach residents and stakeholders where they are
  • Easily provide connections with contextual support tied to relevant information on agenda items

After the meeting

  • Finalize meetings minutes quickly
  • Publish agendas & minutes to a web page
  • Send meeting materials to specific distribution lists

Impactful Results

Automating common processes for public meetings realizes significant savings for cities and organizations around the country, regardless of size. Two such cities that have seen this impact are:

Columbus, OH (Pop. 860,000)

  • Tripled efficiency in pre- and post-meeting processes
  • Recovered $300,000 by digitizing the agenda and meeting process
  • Regained 450 hour of staff time for the year

Snowmass Village, CO (Pop. 2,773)

  • Increased efficiency by 16x for end-to-end meeting processes
  • Recovered $7,000 annually
  • Regained 24 days of staff time for the year’

Find out how the right meeting partner can change your community engagement around public meetings for the better.

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