How to Conduct Online Meetings

how to conduct online meetings

Conducting online meetings involves the same goals as in-person meetings: communicating clearly so that decisions can be made to move your business forward. But it requires a few adjustments to make it work.

It’s important to have tools that help you keep the meeting organized, capture new ideas and store information for future reference. This might include a digital whiteboard or mind map that allows attendees to add notes in real-time.

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It’s turning out to become a decent alternative to Zoom and to the other major platforms.

1. Set a clear agenda

Online meetings must meet the same goals as in-person ones: communicating clearly so that decisions can be made to move your organization forward. If you prepare properly, participate fully and follow up appropriately, remote team meetings can be just as productive as in-person ones.

Setting a clear agenda can help prevent distractions. For example, by asking participants to provide their feedback on the meeting agenda before the session, you can ensure that everyone is aware of what is being discussed. You can also limit the amount of time spent on each discussion point to streamline discussions and encourage quick decision making.

2. Have a clear purpose for the meeting

Having a clear purpose for the meeting will help everyone understand what is expected of them. This will help to prevent meetings that waste time and effort.

A good purpose statement will also weed out people that don’t need to be in the meeting. This will ensure that the right people are invited to attend the online meeting, rather than everybody on the team!

Once the meeting is over, it’s important to share any action items and key information with the team. This will help to avoid confusion and misunderstandings, especially amongst people who aren’t physically present at the meeting.

3. Limit distractions

It’s easy for distractions to derail an online meeting. Whether it’s a cat meowing in the background or a garbage truck down the street, distractions can take the meeting off track.

Ask attendees to silence their cell phones and put them away for the duration of the call. Similarly, ask them to remove sensitive or distracting bookmarks from their browsers in advance of the meeting.

Consider asking attendees to use headphones during the call, which will minimize distractions even more by eliminating background noise and allowing them to hear themselves talk. Also, encourage them to mute their microphones when they’re not talking.

4. Stay on topic

Online meetings are convenient and effective, but they require a certain level of communication etiquette to be productive. Keeping everyone on-track can be challenging, especially when talking about complex or lengthy topics.

To keep participants on-task, you can use your video conferencing tool to share a live agenda that highlights the current topic and crosses out those already discussed. This helps keep the conversation moving and serves as a visual cue to bring the discussion back on-topic.

It’s also helpful to have attendees introduce themselves at the start of the meeting and prior to when they talk. This can help people know who they’re conversing with and encourage them to speak up.

5. Take notes

Taking quality notes is essential for online meetings. It allows you to save time and ensures that attendees who were unable to attend are aware of what was discussed.

Distractions can derail online meetings, whether from a cat walking in front of the camera or a garbage truck driving down the street. By setting up a quiet environment with limited distractions before the meeting begins, you can minimize these interruptions and avoid miscommunication.

It’s also important to ask for feedback after the meeting is over. You can do this by asking for a quick debrief in the chat or by sharing a survey link.

6. Participate fully

Online meetings can be difficult to participate in fully. This is especially true if you are an introvert. If you notice that an introverted team member is hesitant to speak during a meeting, it’s important to encourage them. You can do this by providing a space or tool that encourages participation and allows them to contribute in their own way.

Another way to ensure that you’re participating fully during an online meeting is by muting your microphone when not speaking and only turning it on when needed. Also, be sure to take notes and avoid multitasking.

7. Follow up

Meeting follow-up emails are an important part of business etiquette. They show your appreciation for the people who took time out of their day to meet with you and they also remind them of any key decisions made during the meeting.

When sending a follow-up email, it’s important to start with a personalized subject line. This will help you stand out among a sea of formulaic emails.

It’s also a good idea to include the next steps in your meeting follow-up email. This will ensure that whoever is assigned to take action on the items discussed in your follow-up will remember their responsibilities.