How to conduct effective online meetings?
Online meetings, distributed teams, home office, and remote collaboration – the new normal for many industries around the globe. Companies of all sizes need communication solutions that will help them adjust to this new business reality.
With remote work on the rise, meetings conducted via an audio conference or a video call allow employees to work together from anywhere. Discover some strategic tips to help you manage effective and productive virtual meetings with your remote team.
Be active and keep your team engaged.
Online meetings have become a necessity for modern companies. Yet you can find it difficult to keep the remote team focused during the meeting. Many distractions steal the participants’ focus, and some lose interest in the ongoing conversation. During a conference call or a video meeting, any remote team member can read personal mail, check his social media feed, and chat with friends. So how can you conduct more productive and engaging meetings in a virtual environment?
Create a meeting agenda and distribute it on time.
To conduct an effective meeting, you should start with a well-structured agenda before it begins. Every virtual team member should have it several days before the video or audio call. So they will have enough time to be prepared for the discussion.
To learn what to include in your meeting’s agenda, read our article Teleconference – the best solution for business meetings.
During the audio conferencing or video call, refer to the agenda frequently. That way, attendees return to the conversation and the team’s meeting. Encouraging the online meeting plan engages them better in the discussion. Many conference solutions have file and screen-sharing features. Thus the agenda can be edited in real-time during the remote meeting. It is another tip for refocusing the team, as you can ask different participants to add the key updates in the document available to everyone.
Be proactive and ask questions.
Try to engage all your teammates with questions related to the conference. Turn the virtual meeting into an active dialogue instead of a boring monologue. Interacting with your remote employees does not allow them to lose focus. They expect to be actively involved in a discussion and not silent witnesses of a presentation. Asking questions keeps the virtual meeting productive as you lead it toward its strategic goal. Review your conferencing platform functions to choose the best way to address your questions. It could be via a special Q&A form, in the video chat, or by asking directly during the audio or video call.
Consider minor breaks for participants to relax.
If the online meeting lasts longer, micro-breaks are a must. It could be a very interesting topic or intense discussion, but still, you can lose attendees’ concentration. Staying focused during a virtual meeting is harder than during face-to-face meetings. Staring at the screen and making an extra effort to listen as your colleagues speak can be exhausting. So it is recommended to split your meetings with micro-breaks. Participants can refresh, take another cup of coffee, or relax for a few minutes. When they are back in the virtual conference room, you can be sure that they will feel recharged and more productive. Start Your Free Conference Now!
Make sure that everyone knows the platform’s features.
Collaboration solutions for online meetings are feature-rich platforms supporting the teamwork of your remote employees. If you want to involve them actively in the meeting, ensure they know the platforms’ features. Choosing the right tool for remote meetings is very important. It depends on your specific business needs and the set goal of the meeting. You can opt for either a call conferencing or a video conference. Also, pay attention if your team has preferred way of connecting when they work remotely.
You should know your team and how they communicate for a successful online meeting. Moreover, you should know the features of the collaboration platform supporting the efficient communication process. As a host, you can set the structure of the discussion and how the whole team will engage – by raising a hand, asking a question, or via a Q&A session following the discussion. Other features that allow users to interact intensively with each other during an online meeting include:
• screen sharing
• file editing options
• using a digital whiteboard
• chat functionalities
With their help, your whole virtual team can cooperate better.
Visual materials – key drivers of keeping the team engaged
Many collaboration tools allow you to create, share, and edit files during an ongoing audio call or a video meeting. Working with presentations, banners, or other visual materials helps to keep the participants engaged and the remote meeting productive.
A specific project – like a shared document that needs updating- is useful for the meeting. The teammates interact actively with each other while editing the file online. They are focused and engaged as the applied changes are immediately visible and instant feedback is expected from the rest of the attendees. Screen-sharing and file-sharing options complement the whole conferencing experience. Their help makes communication smoother, the discussion points can be identified easier, and the meeting is more efficient.
Online meetings are a new work environment for many employees and team leaders. You can connect with your remote team via a conference call service or video conferencing software. No matter the solution you choose, there are golden rules to be followed to make your meeting successful. Encourage your teammates to participate actively, learn the tool’s features, and try to diversify the conversation with sharable files and visuals.
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