These past months online meetings have become a staple in many companies and organisations. Many of you have experienced that these meetings do not always run as smoothly as we’d like. This is due to the fact that we’re wired to physically be together in groups.
So, how can we better manage this when things go wrong?
1. Choose the right tool
Google and Microsoft are temporarily offering their professional meeting tools for free. Next to that, Smartschool has launched Smartschool Live.
Google Hangouts allows for 250 participants to join in on a meeting.
Microsoft Teams is comparable to Slack and offers video calls, chats and sharing files.
Whereby is free for meetings with up to 4 people. You do not have to download a file, just copy paste the URL and you’re good to go.
2. Opt for a stable internet connection
It has been encouraged to link up your modem directly to your device by using a cable.
Wifi and 4G often cause an unstable internet connection.
3. Connect in time
The time you usually spend in your office quickly preparing for a meeting can be used to check on log-in details and gather info needed for the meeting.
It is not polite to let customers or colleagues wait for you.
4. Be cautious of ambient noise
It is preferable to use a system that supports HD audio, this way it sounds like you are actually in the same room.
Be aware that people on the other side of the line can hear/see your children and/or dog.
It is quite obvious that showing up on an online meeting with chewing gum in your mouth is a no-go.
Noise cancelling headphones or webcams offer a solution to these problems. Mute yourself when you don’t have to speak for a while.
5. Make sure everything works
If you are the one running the meeting, make sure your presentation is ready before you start the meeting, this ensures a higher degree of efficiency.
It is quite bothersome when some people in the meeting are difficult to see/hear. Some tips:
- Have a good (charged or through USB cable) headset
- Double check your devices
- Don’t sit with your back against a window as the backlight will make it very difficult to see you on the webcam.
6. Be organised
Send the agenda to all participants in a timely fashion. Select a chairman/chairwoman to go through the action points at the beginning of the meeting. Documents and presentations can liven up the meeting. Make sure non-relevant websites are closed.
Signal when you’d like to speak by e.g. raising the hand icon in the chat. Wear appropriate clothing.
7. Be focused
Checking Facebook, Twitter or any type of social media is not done! When you lose focus, you can’t contribute fully to the meeting and you might miss out on important information.
Also try to speak in turns to avoid chaotic meetings.
As this way of holding a meeting requires more time and concentration, timing and planning is of the essence.
It can be useful to use a part of your screen to take notes. You can do this for example by working with a page on Google Docs, Office 365 or Trello.
Sources: a.o. KPN zakelijk, VRTNWS