It’s never been easier to hold a virtual meeting. The number of online web conferencing platforms has skyrocketed in recent years, dominated by Zoom and Skype. The problem is that many high-level managers and bosses aren’t yet comfortable running a business meeting that isn’t in person and face to face. There are lots of ways for an online business meeting to go wrong, and it can be hard to get every member of the team to contribute. However, when online meetings are so fast to organize and inexpensive, it’s hard to dismiss their value. Here are some tips that might help you run better online meetings.
Your first step is to ensure that you are using the right platform for your business meetings. You have lots of options, so before you start running online meetings regularly, make sure that you have looked at several to ensure compatibility. There is a range of different features available on each, such as HD video, web polling, screen sharing, and integrated whiteboards, while options like Zoom are renowned for being so easy to use. However, it’s not just your meeting platform that’s important to have in place. Integrate transcription software into your meeting platform of choice and you’ll have a finished set of minutes available that can be forwarded to the relevant attendees of the meeting. This can be a huge time saver and a reminder of the discussion and the action plans that were made.
It’s very different running a meeting online when you’re used to running them in person. Running a successful virtual meeting will usually depend on the skill of the facilitator, which may mean learning a few new skills. Of course, there are some kinds of online business meetings that can follow a similar structure as in-person ones. For example, icebreakers and introductions can be very useful when participants haven’t met. For more high-level online meetings, the key is to have a clear structure for the meeting and the ability to get attendees back on track if the conversation goes off-topic. It’s also extremely vital that as many people as possible get involved in the conversation, so you need to be aware if someone isn’t participating.
You’re going to need to spend as much (if not more) time preparing for your virtual meeting as you will for a real-world one. You should spend as much time getting used to your hosting platform as possible, ensuring that you know exactly how it works and what might go wrong. Running an online business meeting can feel very technical, and that means you need to ensure that you get the tech right. Finally, you need to consider the basics of business meetings. These are:
You should always have a strict timetable for each discussion point and ensure that you have ground rules in place.
In a business landscape that means brands and teams can work together even if they’re on entirely different continents, online meetings are clearly more important than ever. Learning to run virtual business meetings is becoming a core skill that no business leader can afford to be without.