Best Practices for Successful Online Meetings
Online meetings are essential for communication, collaboration, and productivity. When utilized and managed properly, your meetings will be efficient, constructive and solution-oriented. Use this handy infographic, 5 Tips For Running Better Online Meetings for on-boarding, training or hang it in your meeting room to ensure your team is running better online meetings today.
1. Enhance your online meetings with video conferencing
Professional meetings can have a big impact on both productivity and brand perception. While voice conferencing can be greatly effective, video conferencing encourages team members to prepare in ways that audio-only conferencing can sometimes fall short. Video holds people accountable for paying attention and interacting with the meeting. It can be tempting to hide behind non-visual technology, multitask or even zone out while on a call. Sometimes a call feels more like a lecture if you can’t engage your audience, so use video conferencing to encourage focus, engagement, and participation.
2. Collaborate with screen sharing
Present, demonstrate and collaborate with meeting participants using screen sharing to ensure complete understanding of your message. Distractions and avoidance can occur when there is no visual stimulus to match the audio. The last thing you want is to wrap up a meeting without each participant having a clear and concise understanding of your presentation. With screen sharing technology pitching new concepts, showcasing products or managing live training sessions can be done in a way that captivates your audience.
Screen sharing capabilities are diverse and dynamic, allowing anyone in the meeting to present their point of view and help the team solve problems collaboratively. With online meeting tools, you can hand off the screen sharing privileges to other meeting members and take turns showcasing work.
3. Schedule online meetings in advance
It isn’t a party if no one shows up. One of the most time consuming and frustrating aspects of meetings and collaboration sessions can be the time it takes to organize. Preparing in advance of the meeting helps things run smoothly. Take advantage of calendar integrations from Outlook, Google or Office 365 to create and send templated meeting invites.
Set up all meeting attendees for success by including the meeting agenda your online invite so they can review and prepare in advance. Take a look at a few meeting agenda templates to find the ideal format for your meeting.
Though your meeting is important to you, don’t be overzealous and invite the whole company. Productive meetings make the best use of everyone’s time. Therefore, only invite essential participants and send out a recording or meeting notes to those who did not need to attend in person.
4. Record the meeting for successful follow through
If a tree falls in the forest…If you have no record of your meeting and your participants don’t execute their next steps, was it worth having? Effective meetings result from productivity after the meeting. If your meeting lacks follow-through it can be a waste of everyone’s time.
To guarantee that participants understand the next steps and have the resources to complete their tasks, be sure to record your meetings. Your online conferencing software should have the capability of recording conference calls and online meetings and saving them to the cloud. This feature helps you organize name, and store recordings for reference
Share recordings with additional team members who were not in attendance and clients who request transcripts. Beyond that, recorded conference calls, presentations, and interviews are great resources for marketing. Repurpose the content into tutorials and knowledge-based articles for your website.
5. Be involved!
If you aren’t sticking to your agenda, things can quickly get out of hand on conference calls. While it’s great to share personal stories and have fun, a few minutes of chit chat can turn into thirty minutes of wasted time. Next thing you know, you’ve missed deadlines and work productivity comes to a grinding halt.
While not all meetings need to be buttoned up most should have structure and guidelines. Have a meeting moderator oversee your meeting for:
- Staying on topic
- Taking notes
- Ensuring everyone gets involved and no one is tuning out
- Moderating question and answer sessions
Even though everyone has a tight schedule, don’t end your meeting until the next steps are agreed upon. You may also want to schedule a follow-up meeting to assess the progress of each attendee’s action items. If holding another meeting is too time prohibitive, you can always spontaneously jump on an instant conference call for a quick check-in.
Always introduce each member of your meeting
How many times have you walked away from having a conversation only to realize that you have no idea who you were talking to? Just like in-person meetings, conference calls and online meetings should always start with introductions of names, roles, and responsibilities. Nothing is more awkward than a meeting attendee having to ask who they are speaking with. A round of introductions assures that everyone is familiar, warmed up, ready to go.