Tips for Conducting Effective Online Meetings

April 27, 2023

When you're hosting an online meeting, it can be challenging to keep your participants focused. Luckily, there are several strategies you can use to make your virtual meetings as productive as possible. First, create an agenda. It will assist you and your team in concentrating on the meeting's most essential elements. It also enables you to avoid wasting time on topics that aren't relevant.

Create an Agenda

An agenda is a tool that communicates the purpose of your meeting, provides structure, and gives your team opportunities to collaborate. It also helps keep everyone on track, ensuring everything is remembered during your session. Make an agenda that includes all pertinent issues after you know your meeting's objective. It should contain each topic's goal and a time frame for the discussion. When writing an agenda, it's essential to consider your team's preferences and priorities. Depending on the agenda items, you should give more time to some and less to others. To ensure your team runs smoothly, set a hard deadline for each item and use a time tracker to remind you when you're almost there. Then, you can focus on the most pressing issues and leave the lesser priorities to a later date. Another effective tool would be a transcription tool like Sonix. It's excellent for a more critical meeting or webinar attention and information retention. If transcripts are being produced, attendees will only feel the need to take hasty notes amid the session if they have a copy of the entire event. 

Set a Meeting Time

When planning online meetings, set them when you know everyone will have time to attend. Meetings that start too early or too late for some people can cause problems for the rest of the team. The resulting sluggish productivity will make it difficult to complete any work the team has agreed to. It is especially true when you're working with remote team members who may be in different time zones than you are. To prevent this from happening, make sure to give all attendees a grace period before the start of the meeting and that all participants have their computers ready to go at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start time. In addition, be sure to have all necessary documents arranged and ready to reference. It will help you stay organized and save time during the meeting.

Set a Meeting Place

During an online meeting, it's essential to ensure that attendees focus on the discussion. To do this, ensure they have a private and distraction-free meeting room. A meeting room that needs to be set up correctly can lead to several problems, including miscommunication. It can cause the meeting to go off track and lead to a lack of productivity.

It's essential to teach every one of your team members how to use the tools they require for a productive meeting to prevent these problems. It includes using a web conference or video conferencing software that can run on different devices and has enough capacity to see everyone's screens. Also, be sure to schedule breaks during your meetings to help participants keep their focus. Physical activity breaks digital benefit sessions as they ease cognitive demands.

Set a Meeting Schedule

Setting a meeting schedule is an essential step in hosting productive online meetings. It helps attendees understand the forum's purpose and enables them to make time for it.

A good meeting schedule reflects the team's work style and gives everyone enough time to take action on follow-up items. It also allows employees to feel committed and incentivized to complete the task. When planning your agenda, consider the key attendees and the contributions they can bring to the discussion. For example, if an executive leader is expected to contribute significantly, you may need to adjust the meeting time accordingly. Next, set a time limit for the meeting and allocate specific minutes to each agenda point. This way, participants will be more focused on the agenda and have no distractions during the session.

Keep Track of Attendees

Keeping track of attendees is a vital component of hosting productive online meetings. Whether you are meeting online or in person, it's essential to have a system in place to keep track of your team members and ensure they stay engaged and focused on the goals of the meeting.

An icebreaker is also a good idea to get everyone relaxed and receptive. It can be as simple as an icebreaker question or group activity.

If you're a leader, you must be present throughout the meeting. That can be difficult for many people in a remote setting, but it's necessary to ensure that participants remain fully engaged in the discussion. It's also a good idea to ask attendees for feedback before and after the meeting. It can help you gauge whether the meeting was a valuable use of their time and give you ideas on how to improve the next time.

Have a Meeting Closing

To keep your meeting productive, you must have a clear closing statement. It includes clarifying any questions that have come up, summarizing the key takeaways and discussing desired outcomes. A good close will help attendees remember what was discussed and make it easier to follow up on the information. You may also use the finish to thank participants for their contributions. Before the meeting ends, set a time to discuss follow-up plans. Whether this means another meeting or emailing people, you must identify who will handle each step and when it will happen.

Emiy Watson

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