When you move your meetings online to video and web conferencing it’s important to keep the level of professionalism that you would in an office meeting room. Especially if it’s your first time using a web meeting tool, you don’t want to get caught out mid-meeting with not knowing how to use the product. So here are our top 10 tips for running a seamless online meeting:
A common mistake that people make when sending a meeting invite, is to only include the subject, date and time.
Instead, you should always set an agenda so there is a set structure to your call. By adding a list of tasks that you and your participants need to get through, it helps prevent colleagues from getting off topic and ensures that all your points are covered during the meeting.
An agenda also means that everybody can come prepared to the meeting, rather than turning up empty handed. And not to mention it avoids people from asking the question 'so why are we having this meeting again?'
Audio is most likely going to be the most important feature used within your meeting, so you’ll need to know how to use this beforehand. Although you can connect using VoIP, the quality of this is dependent on the quality of your computer connection. However, if you use your phone in the same way that you would for a conference call, you’re instead using the technology built specifically for audio quality and clarity, which is far more reliable.
The great thing about online meetings is that you can join from wherever you have internet. We understand that if you’re working from home, it’s tempting to stay in your pyjamas and work from the couch but what happens if your boss suddenly turns your meeting into a video conference?
For that exact reason, you should always be prepared and dressed for video, just in case. So next time you have your web meeting scheduled, make sure you’re dressed well enough to not be embarrassed if your webcam suddenly needs to be turned on.
It’s always a pain to be waiting for participants to join your meeting but it’s even worse if you, as the host are late. So rather than clock watching and only joining as soon as your meeting starts, join early.
This will give you time to figure out how to use the product if it’s your first time, or, if you have used it before, it could help jog your memory.
So whether you need two or five minutes beforehand, as long as you’re not rushed for time, it’s always better to be early than on time – especially for web meetings.
Each video and web conferencing tool varies in its feature set, so when you’re deciding on what company to go with, it’s good to know what features you’re going to get.
After you’ve familiarised yourself with your video and web conferencing tool (before the meeting), it’s always good to take advantage of the full feature set available to you.
Hearing a lot of background noise? Mute all of your participants.
Want to see your participants? Add video.
Want to show your participants what you’re talking about? Present a document or share your screen.
Hate it when you’re in a meeting room with your colleagues and one person is reading off the slides word by word? Trust us, it’s worse when you’re on a web conference.
You may not be able to see your participants during the meeting and vice versa (if you haven’t added video), but save them the eye-rolling and prepare for your meeting so that you don’t need to rely on what you’ve got written down. They’ll get a lot more out of it when they can engage with what you’re saying.
If you haven’t turned on video for your web meeting, it can be hard to gage how your audience are reacting or whether they’re actually listening to you at all. A good habit to keep engagement high is to occasionally check in with them and ask for their opinions and input.
Some tools, such as Powwownow’s web meeting product, even have features that enable your audience to show their reaction to what you’re saying – whether good or bad. Then even after the meeting, you can look at the sentiment given at different points in the call to help you follow up and improve for next time.
Sometimes conversations naturally digress from the purpose of the call and that’s why a final check off is always useful. By cross checking your agenda not only throughout but also at the end of your call, it’ll ensure that everything has been crossed off your list.
It’s a simple step, but it’s very easy to overlook and it’s going to be really difficult – not to mention frustrating for your participants – if you try to get everyone to re-join your video or web conference just to cover off one final point that was missed.
Action items are crucial in meetings. It’s great if you’ve discussed all the points on your agenda but the host should always send their participants the next steps so there’s no room for any misunderstanding. With clear outcomes and actions from your video and web meeting, it will ensure that all parties know exactly what needs to be done and by when.
Whether you decide to schedule another online meeting or to just chat with individuals directly, it’s always important to follow up on the action items you’ve sent out, especially if tasks are time sensitive. Getting caught up with everything else in your job can make it easy for a follow up to slip, so whether you add a reminder in your calendar or write it down on your to do list, make sure you follow up on those action items, otherwise tasks will never get done!