This year almost everyone in the world has experienced online meetings with their colleagues. It has been in practice for quite a while, but more optional than these days. Mainly we tended to use it only to connect with teams or partners that live and work in another location. Now, it is common to have virtual conferences with teams in your time-zone, as most of the offices keep working from home.
Based on the common practice, it is not that easy to keep online visual calls as constructive as face-to-face ones. There are a number of distractions and participants often just join a conference, but do not participate in it as they continue to deal with other tasks or deal with their domestic chores. So, what should be done in order to keep everyone in the team involved and have an effective meeting? Here are some useful tips for you to follow:
- Have Established Rules
First thing first, if you work remotely, there should be a set of general corporate rules for online conferences that everyone should follow. It is important to send it out, once everyone in your company has to work remotely. It is also useful to one in case the enterprise has offices and teams in different locations. This will make your employees treat online meetings
The set of rules can vary depending on the company and what works best for them, but it is important for everyone:
- to have a comfortable workplace (do not have online business calls from your bed);
- remote all distractions and let your family know that you are on the meeting;
- blur the background, so it will not cause any distraction for the participants;
- have your camera on, but mute the conference if you are not talking or hosting the
- wear comfortable and proper clothes;
- postpone all the other tasks and focus only on the conference;
- introduce everyone during the call (if there are people who do not know each other);
- have a special sign that can be used when someone wants to share their opinion, so
the other person is not interrupted, etc.
2. Create Agenda Beforehand
Being a host of the virtual call is a responsible task as you have to deliver the information or discuss some tasks in the right order and within a stated period of time. So, it is important to ensure that the staff is acknowledged with the topic of the meeting and its agenda.
“Create the one beforehand and send it out to your team at least 24 hours before, so they have enough time to go through it and get prepared,” explains Victoria Adams, Head of Content at Stressays. “Do not send it out a week before the conference, as most likely they will not remember a thing you’ve mentioned in the meeting plan.”
The agenda should include:
- main points of the call;
- its structure (when and for how long it will last, time spent on every point);
- list participants;
- individual tasks that should be completed before the meeting and presented at the
- additional documents and files that you are going to use at the meeting.
3. Ensure You Have High-Quality Connection, Audio and Video
Choose proper means and devices for the conference. It is better to have one program that everyone uses (Skype, Zoom, etc.). Verify that the Internet connection is stable and you won’t get hung up. It can cause distractions or you can miss important things. The same goes for the quality of your video and audio. When you have a clear image and sound, it is more captivating and simple to follow the meeting. Ensure your employees also check the tech gadgets before the conference.
4. Have Meetings Only With People Who Need To Be There
Another important thing is to invite to the conference only those people who are connected to a project or are dealing with a certain task. They will be constantly participating in the conversation thus making the virtual call more useful.
In case it is required to introduce some general information to everyone in the company, it is better to have several meetings on the same topic with different departments than to invite everyone at once.
5. Encourage Participation
Engaged participation in the online conference can be encouraged in several ways. First, you ask them to think about some questions and points of the meeting when you send out an agenda. So, the employees have some ideas that they would like to share at the conference and further discussed.
In addition to this, you can use visual (videos, images, presentations) and audio prompts that attract attention and the virtual call is more vivid and interesting.
Also, you can ask some questions during the online call and listen to some on-the-spot answers. Ask randomly, so everyone will stay tuned and will try not to miss a thing.
And do not forget to send out meeting minutes once you finish the online conference. These are some simple tips that everyone can use to make conferences more dynamic, effective, and interesting. Try not to forget to use them and make the best of these tips. It is not a simple task to coordinate the work of a number of employees, and it is even harder to make them work from home in the same way as they do in the office.