The pandemic made everyone embrace the culture of remote working even post-pandemic. Brands that thought that remote working is not for them are now thriving better than ever with the help of remote working. Initially, there was a lot of reluctance and anticipation about the remote working culture, but now it is growing as a prominent work culture all around the globe.
This brings us to the most asked question: How is one supposed to connect with their team? How will team members connect? It is not like you’ll flip your chair and find your colleague behind you to solve your query instantly or call all your employees to have a quick meeting. The dynamics change in a remote working setup. Team communication is extremely crucial for efficient working in a remote setup.
Online meetings are your best shot to connect with your colleagues or hold regular meetings. However, for many, online meetings are the biggest nightmare. An online meet might sound easy but in reality, it’s not a child’s play to make it a success. Utilizing online meetings to their maximum extent is what will help your business thrive in the remote culture. Given below are 5 simple and tested tips to make the best of your online meetings:
Online meetings tip #1: Use the right software
The first and the most important part to make your online meetings successful is choosing the right software to hold your online meetings. Do not buy the first software you see, test it, and analyze how it works for you. Testing different software will eventually help you in utilizing the best one for your meetings. Choose a software keeping the following things in mind:
- Usual size of your online meetings or number of attendees.
- The speed of the software.
- How do the notification systems and settings of the software work.
- How readily the software is available.
- Do you need to buy premium software or free software as per your budget.
- Is the software user-friendly or not?
As the culture of remote working is growing, the software to conduct online meetings is readily available in the market. Given below are few options that you can choose from:
It can be called the professional version of the hangouts application of Google. Up to 250 people can be a part of the meeting and it facilitates you with automatic video recording as well.
Zoon is the ideal solution for you if you need to hold large-scale online meetings. It can incorporate up to 1000 participants and let in around 10,000 viewers.
Microsoft teams come paired up with Microsoft office. If you want premium software, Microsoft is the ideal solution for you. It is secure, allows large-scale meetings, and is rich in terms of features.
Discord is a software that lets you conduct online meetings with high-quality video and audio. The software takes care of privacy as people need to be a part of the private servers to be able to attend the meetings.
MeetFox is the perfect solution for you if you struggle with setting up meetings, booking time slots, and forget that you have scheduled bookings. The user interface of meetfox is easy to use and very interactive. You can have a customized booking page, sync your calendars, and also get meeting reminders.
Online meetings tip #2: Do not take prerequisites lightly
You will be able to make the most out of any meeting if you have done your homework for it. Meeting prerequisites are often ignored and underestimated. But when you haven’t done your work, it reflects in the meeting. If you want a short and quality online meet, make sure you are prepared with your game plan. Two things to keep in mind on this:
Set the agenda
Quite possibly the main strides of running an effective online meeting are making a plan and having an agenda. This fundamental record will rattle off all you require to go over during an online meeting.
You may think you have everything in your mind, however, when you're at the time, you might find that you've completely failed to remember what comes after what, or you are forgetting some important detail. Rather than wasting time and stretching a meet by trying to remember and attempting to review a point, simply look at the game plan. A plan with a clear agenda will also make sure that you cite the references too if any.
The right way to go about the plan is to list each subject you want to discuss and incorporate sub-segments for the significant ideas. If there are more speakers in the meeting, make a fixed plan for them as well as who should talk when to avoid any mess.
While putting together an agenda and making a game plan, make sure you do the following:
- Take input and opinion of all the other attendees.
- Take note of all the important decisions that you need to make in the meeting.
- Make a crystal clear document for who will lead the which topic and who will speak up on what topic. This will help you avoid any confusion at that time.
- Always, I repeat leave space in your plan/agenda for any end-moment additions or deletions.
Utilize mind maps and small breaks
Using mind maps and small breaks would be great to have an organized and chaos-less online meeting. With back-to-back meetings lined up due to remote working, the importance of small breaks is higher than ever. Small breaks allow you to recharge your body and stay active in meetings. Mind maps are the diagrammatic representation of to-do lists, tasks, concepts, and ideas linked to a central topic i.e your agenda of an online meeting. You can utilize mind maps at the following places:
- For presenting your ideas better and for effective communication.
- For brainstorming or giving a visual to different concepts.
- For summarizing reports and documents.
- Simplifying management and streamlining online meetings.
Online meetings tip #3: Make rules and regulations
Having a set of rules and guidelines never hurts anyone. Even if it is a small meeting with only a few attendees, make sure you always have a code of conduct to make your online meet work. It is the only way through which you will be able to make the best of your online meetings.
These are a few rules that you can incorporate in your code of conduct for online meetings:
- Keeping cell phones on “Do Not Disturb” mode.
- Restricting casual discussion throughout the meeting.
- Staying away from troublesome commotions and muting yourself except if you're talking,
- Avoid doing any other task during the meeting.
Interfering with others ought to be discouraged, yet because of idleness, it's a typical event. Simply ensure nobody is purposefully muffling others during the meet.
Likewise, remember your current circumstance, particularly for video meets. Nobody should join a meeting in a boisterous spot, or with a diverting and amateurish video foundation.
Ensure everybody has the gear they'll require: at least a working PC, a decent receiver, a webcam, and a consistent internet connection. Slow and outdated PCs and associations will lag or struggle as you will add more individuals to your meet. So make sure you are prepared for anything of that sort and have a cover-up solution for that situation.
Ponder about how casual your meeting is, and the size of your group, consider having mediators to keep individuals on task, kick problematic individuals, or hand out talking consents.
Also, make sure to organize secluded meetings for security reasons. The link should be sent only to attendees to avoid any interference. The more disciplined your meeting will be, the more you’ll be able to make out of it.
Online meetings tip #4: Communicate well and smartly
Unlike voice business calls, online meetings can be extremely demanding and intimidating where you have to be much more presentable. A communication gap above all these things will make it worse. Therefore, it is important to avoid any kind of ambiguity and be crystal clear about what you want to communicate.
Furthermore, make your conversations and meetings quick and try to minimize the frequency of meetings. When you need to hold a big meeting with several attendees, there is a possibility that it can turn into havoc if not organized properly. Make sure you communicate all the rules and regulations beforehand to avoid any chaos.
While conversing in huge online meetings make sure your point is clear, precise, and relate to the topic of conversation. Talk in an organized manner, raise hands if you want to speak, and convey the same to others. For clear communication, you can also present PPTs and flowcharts to make your points more comprehensive and easy to understand.
Online meetings tip #5: Make sure everyone is contributing
Making the most out of the online meetings should not only be your top priority but everyone else’s. All the attendees should get a chance to contribute to the meeting and you must try to keep them all engaged.
Probably the hardest piece of running fruitful online meetings is keeping everybody locked in and engaged. Face to face, sitting in an office room and discussing the agenda makes it a lot simpler to keep everyone engaged and interested.
Yet, sitting at home, and working is a great deal. But It can be a struggle for everyone to be attentive as there are several distractions at home. Furthermore, it is also not easy to stay stuck to your laptop screens and listen actively. You need to keep everyone intrigued so they give undivided attention and can give novel ideas.
Entrepreneur Kenny Schumacher regularly runs online meetings with groups of 2-60+ people and has made it a company rule that only those who will be actively contributing to the meeting will be invited to the meeting. To put another way, only those who need to be in a meeting to contribute should be in that meeting. This ensures that no one’s time is wasted in a meeting they have no desire or need to be in, helps keep meetings short and precise, and keeps meetings engaging.
Here are a few ways of increasing engagement during online meetings:
- Always make the setting comfortable before starting the official meeting. Too much professionalism can be intimidating and can make attendees nervous and therefore, they will refrain from participating. Have a little chit-chat rather than starting with the agenda.
- Make it a rule to keep video cam open during the online meetings as it makes the interaction more personal. Looking at everyone’s faces and expressions also motivate attendees to put forth their point thus, increasing the engagement rate.
- Push attendees to give their individual opinions.
- Don’t try to cover up several topics in one single meeting. Focus on 1-2 topics and try to keep the meeting crisp as well as interesting. This way more people would give their inputs.
I have been working from home for more than 1 year now, and the above tips have helped me to cut short my meetings and get more out of every online meet. Hope these tips help you too.
About the Author
Srishti Panwar is a content developer at MyOperator who is an avid reader and a book fanatic. She is always experimenting with her ways of writing and always looking out for new perspectives. She’s also a fitness enthusiast. If you do not find her with her books then she is probably working on a new detox drink.