How to Make the Most of Your Online Meetings
Technology has changed the way that modern businesses run forever. At one time, meetings were scheduled weeks in advance, and preparations for hosting a meeting were very detailed. Today, with Skype and other video calling tools, meetings can be called more quickly as transportation doesn’t have to be arranged – they are held virtually from the comfort of wherever participants want to join in.
But just because a meeting can be arranged quickly when it is a virtual meeting, certain things can be done to make a video conference call run more efficiently. Following are tips to help your meeting proceed more efficiently and effectively.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Online Meetings
Today, many employees in a vast array of companies in nearly every industry work remotely, and the number of these workers will likely grow. With that growth, there will be continued growth in the online meeting phenomenon. Following are tips that will help make for fruitful meetings in the Ethernet.
Communicate the Final Agenda
All scheduled meeting participants should get a final copy of the agenda at least one full business day before the virtual meeting takes place. Make certain that the meeting agenda is clear, not vague. For a standing meeting of a committee or other group, solicit items the members want to discuss to help make the meeting agenda. For meetings with a specific purpose, make sure to state it in the agenda introduction that you have written.
Prepare Your System Before the Meeting Time
Preparation means making sure that camera and microphones are connected and working correctly. Be sure your software can handle a meeting with many participants. But, for one-on-one meetings, use a free video call service such as Skype. For large group meetings, consider programs such asCitrix’s GoToMeeting. If you suffer a preventable fail from your system, you will be embarrassed, waste your time and the time of others; plus, if it’s a sales meeting, your company could lose the order.
Whom to Invite?
When you set the meeting agenda, invite only those people necessary for discussions and/or decisions to the meeting. Having Joe Maintenance, Maintenance Director, attend a meeting on “How to Close a Sale” may be enjoyable and educational for Joe, but he has nothing to contribute – and any knowledge he gains is likely useless to him. On the other hand, if there is to be a discussion of next year’s budget, Joe’s attendance is vital since equipment and building maintenance are large cost items.
Minimize Meeting Distractions
Distractions cause online meeting miscommunication. The distraction can be a personal one, such as playing a game while the meeting goes on, or a system distraction such as poor audio quality from some participants. If the game player is on a solo assignment in Dubai, it is not possible to control his or her behavior – but a suggestion that meeting participants pay close attention to the meeting without distractions can go far to mitigate this kind of problem. When the problem is an audio system fail, have an assistant contact the service while the meeting is taking place; affected members should be asked to submit their questions and comments via email.
These four solutions make for meaningful meetings, but should there be a meeting at all?
When Not to Meet
Even online meeting can be a colossal time sink. It seems that the automatic response from any manager, regardless of rank, when asked a question, is to reply, “Let’s have a meeting.” So, if you want to hold a regular face-to-face meeting or a virtual meeting, only hold it if:
- The meeting is scheduled to make a decision;
- The meeting is scheduled for sharing and editorializing new information; and
- The meeting is scheduled for a brainstorming session.
If you hold a meeting for any other reason, don’t. Consider an email or text message instead.
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