With so many people working from home, holding meetings online has become a daily thing. Many organizations have daily online briefs that are done using video conferencing and screen sharing. With this, it is thus important to know the best tips for effectively holding a meeting online.
We have to first agree that holding meetings online can be a daunting task, imagine the noise that can be around you; children crying, dogs barking and many more distractions in the background. However, it has become resoundingly clear that online meetings can be more effective than in-person meetings.
This article seeks to answer the following questions, what do you do? How do you set up and lastly why it is important to effectively set up? With that in mind, here are some general tips for organizing online meetings:
Keep the meetings structured
Before you start any meeting ensure that you have an agenda for it be it in the mind or drafted on paper. Make sure that you have everything prepared. Imagine being in a meeting with someone who disappears from the screens they are looking for documents all over. Such behavior is a sign of a lack of preparation. Spend time preparing and getting the right tools ready for the virtual meeting.
Have a clear set of instructions, topics of discussion, and action points that will be a guiding principle in your discussion. You can as well allocate time for each section if you don't want to miss anything.
Have a distraction-free background.
When setting up online meetings be sure to have a distraction-free background. Some of the most common distractions while working from home are children, people walking behind you, and your favorite pet dog. Keep them in a separate room when you are getting into a meeting.
These distractions can not only be embarrassing but also unprofessional in many ways.
Use the right technology
When you are setting an online meeting be sure to choose the right technology. In fact, a better idea would be to get as many options as you can on standby. Some of the options you can choose include Zoom, Slack, Zoho or Cubo. This is just in case something doesn't work. Be sure to connect 10-15 minutes before time, this allows you to test for the sound, and check your internet connection to ensure that it works properly, if not set up an alternative internet source of connectivity.
Check your power source and ensure that it is on, shut down other programs that you don't need during the meeting. This ensures your computer is fast and reduces the chance of your computer crashing and hindering you from completing your meeting on time.
Many people tend to be distracted easily when in online meetings but you shouldn't be one of them. If you are in a video meeting avoid distractions. You have to be attentive and focused throughout the meeting.
Your presence in a meeting is a valuable asset, stick to the time limit and don't go beyond the allocated time limit. Invite the right people to the meeting only those who are supposed to be in the meeting.
Don’t get into a virtual meeting casually dressed, if it is a formal meeting dress neatly; appear fully on the screen if it is a video conference. Set up the microphone properly too if you are on headphones ensure there is no echo when you speak.
Assign roles that get everyone involved
Every meeting needs a leader. To effectively set up an online meeting make sure that you assign roles. You can have a moderator who is in charge of allocating time and run the conversation. The person in charge can also see through the agenda of the meeting.
When scheduling virtual meetings online, it is important to ensure that you consider everyone’s time zone. Ensure that whatever time you choose falls within an individual’s work day or working hours to ensure that they show up.
You can call early enough to ask about their availability before you set the meeting. Get everyone involved and ready a few days beforehand. This will ensure that everything flows through and the goal of the meeting is achieved.
Follow-up with a summary email
In a real meeting, some of the most important activities take place after the meeting has ended. People discuss their plans, make clear their commitments, and do other things. If you are able, try to duplicate this. Making sure there are no misunderstandings and establishing a record that everyone can use will be made easier by sending out an email summary of the decisions made and who has agreed to what. Always update the rest of the team so they can remember what you agreed on and get work delivered as agreed upon. With this, you will realize if you are the manager or director in charge that no stone is left unturned once you agree on deliverables.
As working from home becomes more common, virtual meetings are also becoming a common phenomenon. However, it requires different communication and preparation strategies than face-to-face meetings.
Spend extra time getting ready in your digital meeting. Get yourself up to speed with the platform earlier and broaden a contingency plan to deal with not unusual disruptions. You could also assign a person to handle technical problems as they come up so that you can focus on leading the meeting. Communicate with the digital environment in mind. Do not ask open-ended questions to the entire group. Instead, invite them to participate by calling their name.
Virtual meetings have taken off as a desirable and worthwhile pursuit. Don’t be left out, you can hold your virtual meetings too using Cubo which is a client engagement platform that helps staff and employees communicate and interact fluidly without needing to email or use various links to perform routine tasks. Interactions happen instantly through one URL, which becomes your online office.
Ready to try Cubo out, click here.
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