As millions of workers around the world are now working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, countless firms and businesses are having to look to digital methods to carry out their daily schedules. As we all know, meetings are a big part of that schedule, so that includes having to run remote meetings virtually. Running an efficient online meeting isn’t much different to a face-to-face meeting. But many small businesses are now discovering that the way they run their online meetings, with many team members in many different locations could be tightened up.
To help your team run effective and efficient online meetings, here is an essential tips sheet for running online meetings effectively.
Tips for Before
- Make sure everything works
Nothing kills momentum like technical difficulties so get everyone to check if their video and microphones are working at least 5 minutes before the meeting starts.
- Set a clear agenda
Create an agenda for the meeting including key issues that will be discussed and who will lead the discussion for each agenda item if applicable. This will create a clear flow which will keep participants focused. A great way to create the agenda is to use a document which everyone can access and add to for the meeting, such as a google document.
- Time-cap your meeting
Setting a time limit to the meeting as a whole and for each agenda point will boost productivity. When you are running an online meeting it should not be for longer than 1 hour, or have a break after an hour.
- Prepare your space to minimise distractions
Find a quiet environment at home with a plain background where you won’t be disturbed. If this isn’t always possible, work out how to bribe the kids to be quiet while you take the meeting.
Tips for During
- Make the use of video a necessity
Body language makes up a massive portion when it comes to how we communicate and therefore, how much we understand. Try to have everyone on video if possible, to minimise miscommunication.
- Designate an individual as moderator
A moderator will manage the meeting ensuring that everyone stays on track. Their job is to keep everyone focused on the main priorities and to ensure that everyone gets their turn to speak and has their questions resolved.
- Talk slowly and clearly
You’ll need to talk at a slower pace to account for any lags in technology. Speaking clearly will also ensure that everyone understands so that you won’t have to repeat yourself.
- Give everyone time on the agenda
It’s a challenge to get everyone to participate without talking over each other so make sure your moderator periodically calls on individuals to give them time to speak and voice their ideas or concerns.
- Enforce a firm policy against multitasking
You want everyone focused on the task at hand, not checking their emails or doodling at the same time, so encourage their full attention. Using video and calling on people randomly to contribute should help with this.
- Take and encourage note-taking
Encourage note-taking during the meeting to keep people focused and engaged and so that you don’t lose any potential great ideas! A great way to keep everyone engaged is to use a google document where everyone can contribute to it during the meeting, without any danger of document conflicts.
- Conclude with clear action items and deadlines
Before the meeting ends, recap the main points. Everyone needs to leave knowing what their deliverables are and when they need to deliver them by. Schedule the next meeting now to ensure accountability.
- Allocate time at the end for questions/concerns
Make sure that participants voice their concerns or disagreements within the meeting, otherwise this can result in resentment towards other team members or a reduction in productivity later.