Meeting solutions 101: Everything you need to know

As a meeting solution provider, it’s fitting that we provide a meeting solutions 101, to help give you a better understanding of what we sell here. Gartner state that complete “meeting solutions enable richness of information and interaction by combining messaging, content and screen sharing, video and audio.”[1] We often refer to a product that includes all these features as an online meeting tool, which segues nicely into the next section.

What is an online meeting?

An online meeting tool is a solution that includes several features to help you smash collaboration out the park. This primarily includes HD video, computer audio (VoIP as it is known in the biz), screen share, document sharing and online chat. Any other features act as a nice cherry on top. They’re great when working remotely as your living/dining room suddenly becomes a meeting room.

How to run an online meeting

Luckily for us all, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to run an online meeting. The first thing is sharing your meeting invite with your Guests. When showtime comes around, start your meeting, and decide how you’d like to connect. We’d recommend using video, as it’s virtually face-to-face (get it?). If your internet connection is a bit shoddy or is playing up, then it might be best to dial-in via phone, as this is a more stable connection that’s not reliant on your broadband. Your Guests can still connect via video and computer audio.

When all awkward pleasantries are out the way, you can start making the most out of all the features on offer. Screen share and document share come in real handy when you want to showcase something of interest. You’re able to get instantaneous feedback, rather than wistfully wating for a response to an email you sent a week ago. Online chat is useful when you’ve got something to say but don’t want to interrupt the speaker, you can ask any questions or raise topics you’d like discussed. If the meeting is something you want to review in the future, then definitely record it. You can download the summary once the meeting has ended, super useful when it comes to reviewing what was discussed.

Online meeting etiquette

Just like most things in life, there’s an etiquette when it comes to online meetings. Most is common sense and reflects etiquette in real life meetings but some differ slightly. Let’s start with the most obvious shall we, avoid being late! Waiting for someone to get started can be irritating, particularly when you need to bring them up to speed. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and is an easy one to avoid. As a Host of the meeting, it’s best to try and arrive five minutes early if you can, this allows you to ensure all the tech is working as expected.

By failing to prepare (you know the rest). In a real life meeting you come prepared, same goes for an online one. To avoid any incoherent waffling make sure you know exactly what the meeting is about and what is going to be discussed. As the organiser of the meeting try to outline an agenda beforehand, giving no one an excuse to come ill prepared.

Make sure everyone is aware of who’s who in the meeting. Video should help with this but still if you’ve got people who have never met one another, then introduce them. No need to do a virtual handshake, could get weird. Set the tone right away by letting people know that their opinion and input is valued.

If a poor internet connection is detected in the meeting, then don’t be afraid to ask that person to turn off their webcam. Same goes for someone who sounds like they’re in a wind tunnel, ask them to mute themselves. You may even want everyone muted, apart from the speaker, to avoid any unnecessary distractions. You’ll also want to use a headset if you can, this will improve the audio clarity and prevent any annoying feedback issues. Point is, avoid interrupting and distracting others in your meeting, you wouldn’t do this face-to-face.

Creating a web meeting culture

With more and more of us wanting or needing to work flexibly, web meeting tech is here to stay. Investing in the latest tech and collaboration software is crucial to business growth and by using meeting solutions you aren’t restricting your talent pool based on location. Creating a culture where everyone is comfortable with online meetings is only going to be beneficial. It will lead to a more flexible and happier workforce with a healthier work-life balance.