Virtual meetings and video conference calls have, for a few months now, been rapidly gaining popularity due to the fact that they are essentially the best way to maintain a high level of communication with individuals being separated from one another. Businesses and corporations the world over have come to rely on this medium as their new default form of communication for anything from quick catch-ups, to important meetings.
However, due to how fast virtual meetings have entered the majority of the publics’ eye, it is understandable that many people are still getting the hang of the technology. In order to provide some more information to help you host more effective online meetings, here a few tips that you can use to your advantage.
Create an agenda
Agendas may seem a little old fashioned in this day and age, and while they are rarely used in ordinary meetings now, they are the perfect way to keep things on track and moving forward in the virtual world.
People can get very easily sidetracked when participating in an online meeting due to a few factors, for one the speaker may not be engaging listeners very well as they may not be used to presenting information via video call, or alternatively, working from home can simply make people feel more relaxed and less like they are actually at work. A brief agenda can help to prevent these problems and while it can be time-sensitive or not, it should at least include the following points.
- The purpose of the meeting
- The points you wish to go over
- The overall goal you want to achieve
We also recommend that you include a list of guidelines that can function similarly to an office building code of conduct, helping to remind people that they need to act in a certain professional manner for the duration of the call.
Keep things simple
Meetings are, unfortunately, inherently boring affairs and even the most interesting meeting can end up dragging on too long and losing people’s attention. This problem is only made worse when the meeting is moved online, as having people in the comfort of their own home makes them even less enthusiastic about attending one or more meetings a day.
To prevent people from getting bored, frustrated, or simply daydreaming, try to keep any online meeting under 40 minutes, and ideally less than 30. On the rare occasion that you do have to go over this time limit, be sure to take plenty of breaks to allow the attendees to stay fresh and focused throughout.
Use the tech available
With the vast amount of technology at your fingertips, it is important that you make use of it instead of simply trying to have an ordinary meeting online. For example, things like virtual backgrounds can help you to maintain a professional appearance even if you are working from a hurriedly set up home office, find out how to choose zoom video backgrounds here, and pick from the hundreds of available options to find something that works for you.
Whether you want to hide your private space away from prying eyes, or even if you just want to keep an untidy room out of view, virtual backgrounds are practically a necessity for modern meetings.
There are also tools like screen sharing and virtual whiteboards that you can use to quickly and effectively share information with other members of the meeting at the push of a button, allowing them to see your screen or discuss ideas instantly rather than having them need to download copies of different files.
As we have mentioned previously in one of the points above, working from home means that it is very easy to get distracted or bored during a meeting. Therefore you and everyone participating will need to take steps to avoid potential distractions.
First, again as mentioned before, we advise that you use a virtual background to hide anything that could catch attention behind you. Next, just like in a regular meeting, you will need to make sure that your phone and computer notifications are turned off. Finally, background noise can be incredibly distracting so try to isolate yourself in a room alone while you are in your meeting and invest in a good microphone and a pair of headphones, both of which will help to avoid picking up the background noise.