Today, the Monday it’s 10.00 a.m. and you have an online meeting underway. One client is from London, the other from California, some from India, and remaining are assembled at headquarters in Japan.

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Many businesses have dispersed team members, and they most of them love to hire experts from across the globe. With over 2/3 of business experts engaging in online work, online meetings is proving to be a standard feature of the business landscape. But, that doesn’t mean they are easy to handle. Working around barricade posed by distance require careful planning and thoughtful executions.

Below are few tips to manage online meetings better

A – Prior to meeting

- Prepare a to-do-list

Online meeting can be a huge waste of time, therefore you should be clear about the objective (agenda) and outcomes when holding such online meetings. Nothing frustrates participants more than attending an online meeting having no agenda and logical topics to be discussed. Prepare an agenda list well-in advance to ensure a smooth and engaging flow throughout the online meeting.

- Back-up a coordinator

You have organized an online meeting, but due to some or the other reason (other business commitments) realize that you cannot make it. This will result for the cancellation of the meeting which may directly hit your business performance. And, you won’t like that to happen. Therefore, it is very important to have a back-up coordinator and discuss the agenda with them so they can run the online meeting in your absence.

- Test technology

There are multiple technologies used to perform webinars, online demonstrations, as well as online meetings. Investigate which tool or software will work for your team. Test the technology and use the features that you need for your meeting. Useful advice: have a back-up technology too and designate one member as the technology champion.

B – At the meeting

- Be there before time

When holding an online meeting, you need to ensure that it starts and ends as per the time scheduled. And, to make that happen you need to be there before time to ensure that the technology and other meeting related materials are intact to avoid fumbles during the meeting.

- Quick introduction round

Greet each arrival who has joined the call and have a quick introduction round not more than 5 minutes. This will help to set a comfort level and mood for people to listen and connect with one another.

- Start meeting on time

It’s seen many online meetings starts late, therefore it’s very important you take the “start-on-time” rule seriously. Before you start with the meeting ensure you announce your start-on-time rule and make it clear, if any member come in late there won’t be a recap for latecomers. This will create a positive effect on latecomers who would make it on time from the next meeting.

- Distribute materials

Offering materials to members present for the online meeting will give them easy references as the meeting progress. Include meeting agenda, start and end time as per zone, and other rules related to the meeting. Its is advised to perform this tasks five minutes prior to the meeting, but you can also distribute materials quickly at the start of the meeting.

- Stick to your agenda

Sticking to your agenda will determine the efficiency of your online meeting. Ensure members present at the call follow the agenda, while you keep a watch at time, take notes and see that the online meeting ends on or before time. Exceeding time can be expensive, especially when there are more member involved. So keep your eye on the ball.

- Engage participants throughout (use videos, visual references)

The most important factor, is to keep members engaged throughout the online meeting. Displaying visual aids and using videos will encourage members to pay attention and get them into action throughout the meeting. With only content and speech, members can become less-focused and distracted too.

- Allow group inputs at regular intervals

Encouraging and allowing all members to provide inputs at regular intervals is very essential for a successful online meeting. Keep a close eye on members participating and encourage them periodically to provide their inputs which will automatically get other members to engage with other each other. Keep down unofficial talks and don’t let discussion drag on. You should know when to stop them.

- Take notes (minutes)

The main purpose of holding online meetings is to create and action plan and implement them. Maintaining meeting minutes help members remember what is said and what is to come. Ensure you prepare notes (minutes), on a shared screen that will allow members be aware of tasks and dues dates more easily.

C- After meeting

- Post webinars and distribute brief notes

Always advised to record the online meeting, so that you can post webinars and distribute brief notes gained from minutes that will help members to better-understand their tasks. Share links of webinars to each member.

- Follow up

Regularly be in touch with members who have been assigned tasks or on items members are responsible for.

In Closing

Managing online meeting is not easy neither a science. Following the above tips and implementing them in every online meeting you conduct will help you improve every you do it.

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