During this unprecedented demand for workers and consumers to stay home, it has become more and more necessary for meetings to move online and towards reliable video platforms. There has been an increasing demand for services like Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts, especially for workplace environments. Since we can’t all meet face-to-face for business meetings, it’s important that your meeting time is managed properly and facilitated by the proper tools.
Choose the Right Tools
Before scheduling your first meeting, consider what platform will suit your needs best. How many employees or team members will need to be present? Does everyone need to be able to send video to the live feed? Will you need to share slides, notes, or mirror your screen for everyone to see? If necessary, reach out to your IT department for their opinion on what platform you should ask everyone to use; otherwise, do a little digging to see what will best serve you and your team.
Have an Agenda
One of the biggest tips that can make or break your online meeting is whether or not everyone is aware of the meeting’s topic. Everyone should be briefed ahead of time on what will be discussed; this way they can prepare their segments or questions prior to the start of the meeting. There’s nothing more confusing than logging into a private video space and wondering who is supposed to be doing what; give everyone a job for the meeting (taking notes, coming up with questions, etc.) to help your employees stay engaged.
Allow Time for Chit-Chat
Carving out time for ice-breaking is the perfect way to start a remote meeting. Ask everyone to get warmed up by running through a test sequence; have everyone state their name, talk about what they were working on prior to the meeting, and ask everyone if they can hear and see the feed properly. As the meeting leader, let everyone know what time you’ll regroup and begin discussing the agenda.
Decide on Meeting Etiquette
Depending on the type of meeting you will be hosting, you may want to ask members to hold their questions until the end of your presentation. If your style is more loose and informal, let them know in advance; most people will assume that they are receiving a lecture-type meeting unless otherwise specified. If you want interaction, say so!
Keep an Eye on the Introverts
Everyone on the team is valuable – they were hired or promoted for a reason, and their shyness shouldn’t hold them back from contributing. While you don’t want to call out the introverts specifically, try to think of a way to encourage everyone to contribute. Perhaps you may wish to ask team members to take turns providing input (or building upon previous information); this will push the less talkative members out of their shells and encourage them to share what they are thinking.
Above all, be prepared for everyone to connect and work together; if you bring the right tools, the conversation will follow. Right now, the biggest hurdle for offices seems to be getting the technology right. Ask your team members to test call you in advance, or set up a mock meeting with your employees so that things go smoothly on the day of the big meeting. Upload any documents necessary ahead of time and run through your slides to make sure they will be legible through screen sharing. Take the time to plan now so that your meeting will run like a well-oiled machine!