With a forecasted 1.3 billion mobile workers worldwide by 2015, online meetings are simply becoming a way of life for businesses of all sizes across the globe. Telework, remote work and flexible working arrangements are slowly becoming the rule rather than the exception, which means that more of us are having meetings online in at least some capacity.
There are unique considerations, however, when trying to keep your online meetings productive. The next time you’re meeting online, use these tips to keep your meeting engaging and on-task:
Test the Technology
The beginning of any meeting can be a tenuous moment. Will all of the attendees be on time? Will the host be ready and prepared? Will the space be available? Online meetings in particular can be plagued by late starts due to unnecessary downloads, browser compatibility issues, hardware problems and more.
It’s vitally important, especially for online meetings hosts, to test their technology before the meeting is scheduled to begin. Make sure you can get into the meeting and all of your hardware is setup correctly and working properly, including your webcam, VoIP microphone or headset, etc. This will ensure that your meeting isn’t plagued by late starts or technical difficulties.
Prep Your Files
File-sharing is a cornerstone of a productive meeting, whether in-person or online. Online file collaboration in particular is essential for telecommuting and remote work to be effective.
The most important thing to remember with files in any meetings is to plan ahead. If you were having a face-to-face and waited until 2 minutes before the scheduled start time to print your documents, you’d be late to the meeting. Online meetings are no different, and the added technology layer can complicate things even further.
It’s all about proper planning. Ensure your files are properly formatted, are the correct file type and are uploaded into your meeting room or online file storage prior to your meeting.
Make the Most of Your Meeting Features
It’s always a good meeting practice to keep your attendees engaged, whether addressing them by name or asking a lot of questions to keep people listening. However, in online meetings, there are other features you should take advantage of in order to keep people on track. For example, use real-time chat for sidebars instead of letting your entire meeting get derailed. Instead of burying yourself silently in notes every few minutes, record the meeting and review the information later at your leisure.
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