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How to start working with your team in Switchboard

This short guide will help you understand how Switchboard enables moving faster with fewer meetings, and then how to get your team onboard.

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Switchboard can help you move from a meeting-first culture to one that embraces sharing ideas, giving feedback, and even decision making outside of meetings. When you make this simple switch, you and your team will have fewer meetings—and the meetings you do have will be better.

This short guide will help you understand how to get your team onboard.

👉 First: Get the Ultimate guide to your first week in Switchboard

What does collaboration outside of meetings look like?

Right now, most people live in a meeting-first world, which means:

  • Slower progress—you have to wait until the next meeting to make decisions
  • Wasted time—it could have been an email…
  • Limited contribution—only people available at that time can contribute

Contrast that with async work, meaning team members can work at their own pace without needing to immediately respond to pings and requests. In practice, that allows teams to emphasize output—i.e. are you hitting goals?—rather than facetime.

Holding more conversations through comment threads, video recordings, and non-urgent messages allows teams to have fewer meetings. And, when you have fewer meetings, your team can:

  • Consume information as they have time
  • Give deep thought and feedback
  • Block out more time for work when they are most productive

However, not all meetings are bad! The benefit of having fewer meetings is that, when you do need to gather as a team, those times can be shorter and more productive.

How do you actually incorporate fewer meetings into your team’s culture?

🔓Switchboard rooms are the key.

Each Switchboard room has a huge interactive canvas where you can add content and share ideas. This lets you visually organize all of the browser-based apps, documents, and files you and your team need. Your room then keeps everything open and ready for feedback, annotation, and conversations—either async or live.

You can create rooms for all types of work—like cross-functional projects, weekly team meetings, and more—to start reducing the number of meetings on your team's calendars.

Need room inspo? Check out all the ways you and your team can use Switchboard to cut meetings.

Ready for fewer meetings?

The rest of this guide will be hands-on and show you how to create rooms and get your team onboard.

First, set up a rooms for a project or in place of an existing meeting

Feel free to skip this step if you’ve already set up a room.

Setting up rooms in Switchboard is really easy. Just go to the upper left corner of your workspace, click on that gray + button, and select “Create room.”

Click on the gray button to make a new room.

Now the question is, what rooms should you create first? Pick a few things that you and your team are working on—like a project, a launch, or a team meeting—and make rooms for those initiatives.

For example, let’s say the first room you make is for a big project. Add the brief, your project management tool, and any other documents you normally review as a team. To make the room async-ready, you can add the Open Questions app to start conversations, the Vote app to make decisions, and sections to keep everything organized. Now, when you introduce Switchboard to your team, they’ll be able to see everything related to the project in one place.

Next, introduce Switchboard and how you’ll have fewer meetings

Now it’s time to share Switchboard with your team!

You can either invite them to the entire workspace—meaning they can access public rooms and create their own—or you can invite them to one room at a time.

We recommend inviting your internal team to the entire workspace and inviting clients or external partners to specific rooms. When your team is in the workspace, they can access anything they need and create additional rooms. On the other hand, inviting people to individual rooms lets you collaborate with clients or external partners asynchronously without giving them access to everything.

Invite other people to your room.
Use the Share button in the upper righthand corner to invite people as members or call guests.

A great way to introduce your team to Switchboard is, ironically, to host a meeting in a room. Pick one of the rooms you created—like the project room—and gather your team so you can show them around.

When you’re together in the room, introduce your team to the features they can use outside of meetings:

  • Open questions: Add the Open Questions app to your room so people add questions throughout the week. People can either answer questions on their own time or you can save them for later when you do meet.
  • Vote: The Vote app lets your team make decisions and keep moving throughout the week without having to meet.
  • Threads: Anyone can start a comment thread anywhere on the canvas. When you @ mention someone in the thread, they get a notification and can follow up in the room.
  • Switchboard AI: Want to quickly get caught up on the status of a project? Instead of Slacking or emailing the team, use Switchboard AI to summarize the room.

Use the Vote app to make decisions
Use one of the built-in apps, like the Voting app, to do more asynchronously.

Don’t forget to tell your team why you’ve introduced this new tool to their work. Be sure to connect a pain point to the solution. For example, the pain is too many unproductive meetings that eat into the day. The solution? A tool that enables efficient work.

Once you’ve hosted your first meeting in Switchboard, give your team an assignment: before the next meeting, everyone needs to post their updates in the room with stickies. Create a section for those updates and add the Open Questions app so people can also ask questions. That will bring people back to the room on their own time to explore and will cut the meeting’s time.

Finally, start cutting meetings

Remember: Although the ultimate goal is to reduce meetings—and shorten the ones you still have—you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Instead, start small, with the goal of condensing one or two meetings at first, and then looking at which meetings could be done async when your team understands the concept and the platform.

Here are some great meetings that you can experiment with shortening or cutting:

  • Regular status updates
  • Metrics reviews
  • Creative and design reviews

We’d love to hear how your team’s first week in Switchboard went. How can we help you and your team collaborate better? Schedule a 1:1 with us and we can walk through your rooms, give you pointers, and show examples of how we’ve staged certain rooms.

Stop, collaborate, and listen

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