Setting up your online meeting can definitely have an impact on how effective it can be. But it takes attention and governance to ensure that the meeting flows as intended. This doesn’t have to be exhausting, but it does take awareness. Keeping these points in mind as you start and conduct the meeting will help keep everyone’s time and voice is respected.
1. Remind your participants to stay focused
You certainly don’t want to sound like a grade school classroom teacher, but it helps to remind everyone that cell phones should be set to silent (airplane mode is even better). Ask them to close their doors for privacy, and minimize windows to limit distractions.
2. Allow each person to call themselves out and say “hi”
Psychologically speaking, it’s much easier for someone to remain silent who has been silent the entire time. Encourage your participants to use their voice early by going “around the room” and saying hello. For team meetings, it can be fun and engaging to each person to answer a question such as “what do you wish you were having for dinner tonight?” or “what are you currently binge watching?” Getting them to open up and smile will make it easier for them to speak up later.
3. Take great notes
Even if you’re recording the meeting, taking notes can help you pinpoint the most important thoughts and decisions. Make sure you take down who spoke about which topic, and if anyone has any action items.
4. Stick up for your wallflowers
Some people don’t feel comfortable speaking up during meetings, particularly if they are uncomfortable with microphones and cameras. Make sure you allow pauses and ask if anyone else has questions or comments at different points throughout the meeting. If you see that someone is trying to speak, but has trouble interjecting, ask the group to quiet and call on the participant directly. Everyone appreciates it when they know they can be heard if they want to be.
5. Recap the meeting and next steps
As the end time approaches, make sure you leave 2 – 4 minutes to summarize the major points of the meeting (this is where those notes in Point 3 come in handy). Include next steps and action items, assigning them out loud to people on the call. Make sure they understand due dates and expectations so miscommunications don’t happen.
The best meeting facilitators stick to the plan, allow participants to be themselves, and are very clear as they communicate. These skills get better over time, but hopefully these tips put you on the right track to conducting better online meetings.
If you have any questions about your online meeting platform, just contact us. We can help you identify functionality (like hand raising, and blurred backgrounds) that help with the points above. You can always find us at Help@HDCav.com or 360-930-6991. Have a great meeting!