Ideally, when thinking about the best meeting one can attend, the first thing that comes to mind is team collaboration and great decisions that keep moving any project forward. This kind of progress should be the goal of any meeting, but in reality, it is not that easy and challenges often arise, making most meetings unproductive and a total waste of time.
According to a survey by IDG Research Services and Cisco WebEx on hurdles managers face during online meetings, it was found that the main hurdle for 44% of the survey contestants was to keep people engaged and attentive during an online meeting. Another issue that 44% of the contestants were dissatisfied with the technology used during these meetings.
Other concerns quoted by contestants were unreliable network connections, the annoyance of people joining the meeting late, and getting people to commit to attending meetings.
Overcoming the main issues regarding participants’ engagement and faulty technology can be annoying, but there are many solutions out there that can be helpful such as equipping your conference or huddle rooms with a simple, yet powerful communication device called HELLO 2, which is perfect for online meetings.
What can you do to run a successful online meeting?
To have a successful online meeting you will need a solid internet connection and a communication device that offers high-quality audio/video and more features. It is recommended that the leader of the meeting should check everything is working well in advance to avoid glitches and be prepared at any time if something stops working properly.
After making sure that all the equipment is functional, all the participants should be prepared and eager to engage during the meeting and share any ideas they might have. If there is a main speaker, he or she needs to speak with a slightly higher volume than usual (just in case someone has bad speakers or internet connection and has trouble hearing what’s being said).
1- Main Speaker Tips
The speaker must also keep their sentences short and precise, be more energetic, and speak with a little more excitement to grab the attention of the attendees. Additionally, he or she should give everyone in the meeting a chance to express themselves, especially those that are quieter. This will ensure that everyone will engage during the meeting and be more active.
2- Keep the focus on one or two topics
Book author Rick Mauer advises against trying to squeeze multiple topics in a single meeting.
“Keep the focus on one or two topics. If you must cover more items, then give people time to stretch, take a bathroom break, or replenish their coffee. Keep each segment of the meeting short — no longer than 30 minutes,” Mauer says.
3- Good Internet Connection
Another thing that needs to be taken care of in order to have a successful online meeting, is the internet. We’re so used to being connected on the internet at all times, we sometimes might take it for granted. It is very important to choose a reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider) to make sure there aren’t any connectivity interruptions during the meeting.
That’s why all companies need to choose carefully. Also, make sure there aren’t any heavy downloads going on at the same time, as this can also impact internet bandwidth.
4- Calendar and email integration
Calendar and email integration are also a good way to make sure meeting attendees receive alerts on time, avoiding any possibility of participants forgetting to join the meeting or joining later than the scheduled time.
“At least 24 hours ahead of time, a pre-planned agenda should be shared with every participant to ensure that everyone is on the same page and focused on a unified goal. Any documents that will be relevant to the group discussion points should be collected and shared with each participant for their review before the start of the meeting,” according to an article by Data Projections.
5- Rules and repercussions
Having rules and repercussions if people join late or tend to miss meetings might also be effective. It should be noted that striped shirts do not look well on camera. Neither do large, shiny jewelry since they can be visually distracting. “Try to keep your body movements to a minimum as excessive movement can actually degrade video quality, “ according to Inc.com.
6- Introduce yourself during meetings
According to Donna Dennis, president of Leadership Solutions Consulting, it is also important that the members of the meeting introduce themselves before starting to discuss the topics of the meeting. She also recommends sharing something from the participants’ weekend or something they look forward to, in order to add a social element to the proceedings. “Everything you can simulate from face to face encounters is good,” Dennis says.
This way participants, who don’t know each other start to get comfortable with one another and the meeting becomes friendlier.
7- Ban multitasking
It is also recommended to ban multitasking. It may seem that multitasking is a good way to get a lot of work done, but past experience has shown that trying to do a lot of things at once can result in bad results. There are, however, ways to ban multitasking in an online meeting according to an article in “Harvard Business Review”.
The first one is to switch the call to video calling, so everyone in the meeting can see what any meeting participant is doing. The second tip is to have the meeting leader call on people to share their thoughts. Since no one likes to be caught off-guard, they’ll be more apt to pay attention. Last but not least, is to give people different tasks during the meeting, rotated regularly.
Smartphones can also be a huge distraction. Try setting them on silence/do not disturb mode, to improve the quality of the meeting.
Do you have any other tips that can be as effective?