During quarantine, all the companies went on an online format of work. Besides, running an effective online meeting is apparently difficult. There are many reasons: video makes it harder to read the emotions of the interlocutor (not to mention audio or text), it is harder to control the flow of the meeting, and managers pay less attention to the purpose of the meeting and its planning. It is often the case that two people “carry on” the entire conversation, while the others only have to sniff at the microphones. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Online meetings – even unannounced ones – should be effective, convenient, and efficient. Here are 12 steps to get things set up right.
Use a presentation to introduce your thoughts and plans
Slide presentations are not suitable for all types of speeches. It depends on the audience, the format of the speech and the information to be conveyed. Slides are usually created for scientific, technical speeches with a lot of data (presentations on finance, programming, chemistry, physics, biology, etc.) as well as for product presentations.
In addition, the habits of the audience should be taken into account. If, for example, you are speaking to financial analysts or IT professionals who are used to perceiving information in Excel charts and graphs, then using slides for presentation will be appropriate. If this is your audience, you need to know how to create a good presentation.
If you don’t have time to perfectly prepare a text and you have an important speech ahead where you need to impress, persuade or motivate an audience, you can use the “edit my paper online” request. The well-skilled writers have experience in writing in different fields. So you can ask the writer to write the text, or just ask for editing your notes. In any case, you will get high-quality content for your presentation or speech. By contacting the best writing services, it’s possible to find all the true feedback from real customers. It doesn’t take much time to choose the appropriate writing service.
Give a choice to use video or audio only
This doesn’t contradict what I said above: it’s just that not everyone has a proper Internet connection that allows you to use video. You should make it clear that video is the new requirement, but not leave those who can’t merge stumped.
Sort out the technology, services, and software in advance
Nothing breaks a meeting plan like having to first get distracted by downloading and setting up software, solving problems, and other technical hurdles. Before the virtual meeting, all participants should become familiar with the communication software, set it up for themselves, and learn how to use the necessary features.
Make sure that you are visible
Video conferences are more effective when people can see each other’s facial expressions and body language. Ask people to sit closer to the webcams – this will help replicate the intimacy of a face-to-face meeting.
Set and follow a meeting plan
Set clear goals before the conversation and send a plan to participants in advance, if appropriate. During the session, use an agenda, set meeting rules, take breaks and be clear about what needs to be done after the meeting (including deadlines and accountability).
Reduce the length of the presentation
If there’s anything worse than a long presentation, it’s a long presentation during an online meeting. Meetings are necessary for participants to interact with each other, communicate and discuss issues. Provide background information in advance. If someone needs to give a presentation, use screen sharing so that everyone is looking at the same slide.
Make jokes to relax your colleagues
It’s important to use every occasion to strengthen team relations so that people don’t feel isolated. But jokes and funny work from home memes should be appropriate and not offensive. For example, if you want to joke about any illnesses, it is important to first find out if any of the participants have close friends or family members who are sick.
Appoint a person to manage the meeting
Managing an online discussion is usually more difficult than a normal one. You should appoint one person to manage the conversation so that the other participants can focus on the content. A moderator can survey to understand the team’s opinion on certain issues and to ensure that everyone contributes fairly. He/she should also be responsible for dealing with the main issues of the software and its setup.
Try to avoid silence
One of the biggest challenges in an online meeting is getting everyone involved in the discussion. (This is difficult, by the way, even in face-to-face meetings.) Be sure to encourage “silent” people to speak up from time to time. Some programs have a special function for those who want to take the floor, they can “raise their hand”. This prevents a situation where someone’s opinion is not heard and taken into account.
Collect feedback from participants to get a better
This can be quite difficult to do because it’s harder to trace visual reactions on video and audio can falsely convey the tone of voice. So additionally use a live survey, collect feedback from participants, and get their opinions on specific topics right during the meeting. Interviews should be conducted outside the video conference to avoid disrupting the conversation by overloading it. Participants will need clear guidance on how to use such a system and a bit of practice, but the team will figure it out very quickly and it will be worth the effort.
Don’t be afraid to ask difficult issues
Yes, you may have to wait until everyone knows how to work online and is comfortable with it. But don’t put off discussing serious issues until you all meet again in person; these can also be brought up on the agenda.
Practice while working together in the office
For example, the next meeting can be held online, with everyone sitting at their desks, but joining the video conference without assistance. At the end of the meeting, get together in person and discuss the new experience. What’s good and what’s not? How can you improve your virtual meetings to make them as productive as face-to-face ones?
Not being able to work together in the same room as your colleagues can be a major challenge in the next few weeks. To make online meetings work, you may have to experiment a bit with your team. But a small investment in preparedness now could have a huge impact when you are forced to work remotely.
Andrej Fedek is a digital marketer. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called InterCool Studio. His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment.