Lots of scenarios can complicate an online meeting—from technical difficulty to a peer’s unpreparedness. If you’re struggling to make the most of your Zoom, WebEx, or 8×8 meetings, check out our tips for better virtual meetings!
1. Ask everyone to set up beforehand.
One of the most common roadblocks when it comes to online meetings is lack of familiarity with the technology. Employees might try to log in to their first meeting only to realize they have to download and install an application. Similarly, they might not know their log-in or need to create one for the first time.
In your invitation, ask all attendees to set up 10 minutes before the meeting, particularly if this is the first time you connect virtually. If you can, you might also want to attach step-by-step instructions on how to log in and set up correctly
2. Use the mute tool to your advantage
Too much background noise and you’ll quickly feel like you’re trying to catch up in a Metallica concert. Most communication tools will give you the option to mute yourself when you’re not speaking. Make sure all attendees know how to mute and unmute themselves.
Don’t be afraid to remind others to mute themselves if you hear too much background noise. Attendees might not be aware that others can hear their dogs barking or their children making smoothies in the kitchen.
3. Keep it brief
Meetings are an important opportunity to connect, track progress, and address questions. However, meetings that go on and on hurt productivity more than they help it.
Anything that can be discussed in writing rather than in person should be addressed via email. This will give coworkers a chance to reflect on any new information and come to the meeting armed with questions.
4. Have an agenda and a moderator.
Similar to in-person meetings, agendas are imperative when it comes to keeping your virtual meetings on track. A moderator can lead the team through the agenda, take notes, and send a follow-up email with any action items discussed.
5. Use the hand-raising tool
As you move through the topics in your agenda, different people will want to speak up. However, if everyone unmutes themselves at the same time, a cacophony of voices and background noises will flood speakers. That’s where the hand-raising tool comes in.
Many tools will come with an integrated system that allows participants to notify the moderator when they have something to say. If you don’t have such a tool, attendees can still physically raise their hand.
Moderators should call on people one-by-one, ensuring everyone gets a chance to be heard.
Although it can take a few tries to master the technology and design of virtual meetings, they can be just as effective as their in-person counterparts. For more information on how to host more effective meetings, check out our free eBook guide, Meetings: The top resource companies can’t seem to stop wasting.