With more online meetings taking place in today’s environment, there are some best practices to follow to ensure their success. Start by making sure equipment is adequate to participate in the conference. Being able to hear, be heard and seen is key to a successful conference call. Check the quality of your microphone, speakers and camera on the device being used, whether a computer, tablet or phone by making a test call with a friend. If audio quality isn’t clear consider investing in a headset or earpiece. Going wireless will make mobility easier too.
Before the meeting, conferences should be planned by the host. Their responsibility is to ensure that all the needed participants have been invited and provided connectivity information including phone numbers, meeting ids and passwords. Depending on the application used, a simple link may be provided for one click access. Provide each attendee appropriate rights at the meeting as well. Some participants only require talk and listen privileges where others will need to share information, promote a participant and mute attendees.
Immediately before the meeting begins, the host and any presenters should arrive early to check connectivity and go over logistics. Documents must be available and ready for sharing. Wasting time trying locate a presentation risks losing attendees attention or their presence altogether. If appropriate, place a starting message in the chat box that asks each participant to type in their name and location. This is a good way to start engaging your audience.
During open discussion there is some etiquette to follow. When one contributes it can be a good idea to start by having them state their name. In a face-to-face meeting one sees who is talking but over the phone or on camera it may take time for listeners to identify that person. If presenting, build in pauses to allow the audience opportunity to ask questions and comment. In a smaller group, don’t monopolize the conversation in order to allow time for others to participate. Speak slower than normal. This is especially important in a global setting where mental language translation may be taking place. Mute when not talking as background noise serves to interrupt or distract in a meeting. If on a video call, observe what is behind you. It can be equally distracting. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to productive on-line meetings.
Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Planning. He holds a master certificate in project management and has earned his MBA from Regis University. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn or emailing TedSaulBiz@gmail.com.