Last Updated on April 8, 2016
Online meetings are becoming more and more common among businesses. There are some key points you need to know in order to get the most out of these meetings.
As the number of businesses relying on digital and online applications and remote working practices continue to increase, the traditional face to face meeting is often switched out for online meetings. This trend is only likely to grow even faster as businesses broaden their employee base to the far corners of the globe and continue to look for ways to cut costs and improve efficiency and profit margins.
When hosting an online meeting, there are several key points you need to keep in mind in order to have the meeting run smoothly and to be effective and productive. Web conferencing is a key for your business to be successful!
Make and Stick to an Agenda
A meeting is designed to convey information, communicate with team members, and plan for the future. Without a basic structure and guide to follow, your meeting runs the risk of being nothing more than a chaotic jumble of people talking and rambling about anything and everything.
Without even a simple outline, it is very easy to forget key points that need to be addressed and important announcements can be missed or left out due to the random nature of the conversations. Face to face meetings generally come with an agenda and point by point summary.
This helps keep the speakers on track and helps guide discussions from getting too far off on rabbit trails and personal tangents. It is an important part of business meetings and is even more important for the online meeting to be successful.
Few things are more desired or appreciated when it comes to meetings than being brief and to the point. No one really wants to listen to co-workers or managers ramble on and on about nothing, or spend an hour talking about something that has no impact on anyone else in the room.
People feel aggravated when they are pulled away from work they are trying to get done to attend meetings that drag on and on and that have little to nothing to do with them or their projects. Try to keep online meeting sessions short and focused. It is best if you can keep the number of attendees low so that you can allow for discussions and questions without risking a huge chunk of time going to Q&A or a lot of tangents being started.
If the meeting must go on for more than an hour, it is a good idea to break it up into several meetings throughout the week, if possible, or offer a 15 minute break between sections if it must be done all in one day. Online free Webinar software such as UberConference can help you schedule breaks and sessions to get the information covered in the most effective manner possible.
Avoid Distractions while at the Meeting
We all have seen the co-worker sitting beside us at a meeting who is doodling on the note paper while the boss is talking. This is about as far as the distractions can go in a face to face meeting, unless you have mastered the skill of daydreaming while still looking like you are paying attention. For online meetings however, the ease at which you can become distracted is far greater.
Be careful not to browse the internet while the meeting it going on or to try and get other work done with the meeting running in the background. You need to stay as focused as you can, especially since it is harder to pick up on body signals and vocal cues when doing web based meetings.
Be Sure to Check for Questions or Confusion
As mentioned above, the clues we look for during a face to face meeting that can signal confusion or boredom are harder to pick up on in an online meeting, especially ones where there is no video feed. This is why it is very important to take time throughout the meeting to stop and ask for questions and to clarify anything that is unclear to the attendees.
In a face to face business meeting you would do this if you saw confused looks on people’s faces and would try to clarify things before moving on. In a web meeting, this is even more important because one of the worst things that can happen is for your attendees to be lost within the first five to ten minutes of your presentation and then sit there bored and confused for the next hour.
This is why it is so important to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands what is being discussed.
As an ending tip to help your next online business run a little more smoothly, here are some other general do’s and don’ts that need to be in the forefront of everyone’s mind:
- Do be polite and courteous to all of the other participants.
- Do speak clearly and slowly in case there are delays in the video or audio feeds.
- Do minimize body movements to help reduce noise and reduce the lag on video feeds.
- Do move slowly and naturally when presenting visual aids.
- Do maintain eye contact during video conferences.
- Do dress appropriately.
- Do be on time for the meeting.
- Do try to enjoy yourself and not worry about it too much.
- Don’t make distracting sounds like clicking pins, shuffling papers, and so forth.
- Don’t shout or yell during the meeting.
- Don’t make overly dramatic or distracting movements.
- Don’t interrupt other speakers, and wait for your turn to speak.
- Don’t have side conversations with seat mates during the meeting.
- Don’t wear jewelry or clothing that make a lot of noise.
- Don’t block or cover the microphone or web cam.
- Don’t forget there are others in the room.