Online meetings are very convenient because they cost less time and money. With a stable broadband connection, communication software and login codes you can consult with each other anywhere and at any time. Without travel time, petrol costs or piles of paper.
However, organizing productive online meetings requires more than technology. That is why we have collected some useful tips and tricks for you.
1. Plan smart
If you have access to the agenda of the invitees, avoid scheduling the meeting directly after another appointment as much as possible. After all, appointments often run late! If you want to make sure that all invitees are in the online meeting on time, give them some slack.
2. Invite only the right people
Be selective about who you invite to an online meeting. If you are not sure whether someone can contribute, give them a call beforehand to check. A small, engaged group of participants ensures more focus in the meeting.
3. Set up a short, relevant agenda
Make sure all topics on the agenda are relevant to all participants. It is better to organize two short meetings for a select group of participants than a long meeting where the participants are only interested in one or two agenda items.
4. Raise the right expectations
Form a specific goal for the meeting and communicate it succinctly to the participants so that they know what is expected of them.
5. Make the meeting interactive
Involve attendees in the meeting with topics that provoke discussion. A good meeting is not a lecture, but an interactive consultation in which ideas are exchanged and all those involved provide input.
6. Dare to ask
The chair of the meeting is responsible for ensuring that all attendees actively participate in the meeting. You can do this by regularly asking open questions and asking for input from specific participants.
Don’t be afraid of silences. Some people need a moment to organize their thoughts and share them with the group. It might even be a good idea to ask everyone to think about something in silence before responding.
7. Use image
PowerPoint is a great tool to get your message across. Simple images often say more than words. Avoid sheets that contain only text, but use visuals such as charts, diagrams or photos that support your story. Sheets that don’t add anything new only encourage irritation and distraction.
8. Provide good tooling
Nowadays there are all kinds of tools on the market that make online meetings easier, such as Desktop Sharing, Web-Co Browsing, Instant Messaging or Pass Control. Each application has its own capabilities and options.
Using different tools in one meeting can be confusing and time consuming. It is much more convenient if all attendees use the same tool and can do everything they want with it. Today, there are well-integrated tools on the market that are very intuitive and easy to use. ShoreTel Connect is a good example of this.
9. Collect feedback
If you notice that some attendees drop out during the online meeting, contact us later and ask what was going on. The feedback you get will help you organize more productive meetings in the future.