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How To Run Successful Online Meetings

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Young woman working on laptop attending virtual meeting

The popularity of virtual meetings in business has grown and will continue to increase as workplaces transition to hybrid work models and more employees work remotely. Corporate leaders are still committed to using virtual meetings as a key component of their hybrid workplace setup.

Online meetings provide several advantages that can lead to a variety of inspiring and motivating outcomes, including lower travel costs, the freedom to participate from anywhere on the globe, quicker and better decision-making, improved team agility, and can result in more effective team collaboration as employees can interact, work together, and generate ideas. A Doodle poll found that remote group conferencing rose in popularity by 613% in 2020 as a result of the pandemic's widespread use.

While regular online check-ins are essential to keeping teams in touch, holding effective conferences can be difficult if not handled appropriately. Ineffective meetings can result in extremely detrimental effects on team productivity, ingenuity, and modernisation, as well as on people's stress levels and welfare. According to MITSloan research, about 50% of meeting time is productive, efficient, and interesting; while holding remote meetings, these effectiveness percentages fall even further. So how can you make sure meetings are fruitful rather than just a waste of time and resources?

These are some tips for running effective virtual meetings:

Create an Agenda with Clearly Defined Goals

Clarify the goal of your meeting before inviting anyone, since discussions that deviate from their original objectives lose productivity. The focus topics and any material relevant to the conversation should be highlighted in your agenda.

Include the time allotted for each section so that participants can determine its significance. Give the group enough time to collaborate and participate so that everyone feels engaged. Avoid taking on too much at once because you'll be more inclined to stray from the main goal of the meeting.

Participants should be informed of the plan in advance so they are aware of what to expect and can jump right into the discussion.

Streamline Your Participants' List

According to research, an online meeting is more effective the smaller it is. Large meetings can be challenging to run and have more distractions and disruptions than smaller ones.

You should only invite people who can contribute to the conversation, will be impacted by any decisions made, or need to be consulted as new information becomes available. Participants are more likely to stay on task when they are clear about their roles in the meeting and the reasons behind their inclusion.

For those who want to follow along, you can always make a recording or a transcript of the meeting.

Maintain Brief and Punctual Meetings

If your agenda permits you to complete your tasks in 20 minutes, there's no need to start the meeting with an hour-long agenda. Meetings that are shorter can be more effective since participants are under time pressure to get things done.

Also keep in mind that people have busy schedules, so start and end the discussion on time while taking into account everyone's local time zones. A remote colleague's lack of motivation may result from a meeting scheduled too early or too late. Start your meeting on schedule regardless of whether everyone has arrived, in order to keep your team's spirits up.

Manage Your Meetings Actively by Giving Each Participant a Duty

Give people roles to keep them involved. This might be someone who keeps track of the time, takes notes, and updates project materials. Consider appointing a backup host to help you handle attendees, speakers, presentations, files for screen sharing, and any potential technological difficulties.

You'll need to facilitate the meeting as the host by keeping conversations on the topic, being careful of time, and giving everyone a chance to speak. You must be able to politely stop someone if they veer off-topic, in addition to making sure everyone participates.

The meeting's host also sets the mood, so make sure to arrive with a contagious enthusiasm that inspires active involvement.

Utilise Advanced Tools to Facilitate Connection

While appreciating the flexibility of remote work, hybrid workers do yearn for the in-person interactions that come with working together in an office. As employees experience more camaraderie while working towards the same objective, this personal connection supports productivity. This can be assisted by utilizing cutting-edge, modern conferencing tools.

Invest in high-tech speakerphone and camera solutions, like those provided by MAXHUB, for a motivated team eager to collaborate. The UC M40 and UC S10 Pro are two examples of technologies that make it feel like everyone is once again in the same room. They should have next-generation features that get rid of unpleasant interruptions and provide excellent audio and visual clarity.

To ensure that everyone, including your remote workers, feels connected and empowered to participate in the dialogue, your technology should be simple to use and enable absolute engagement.

Use Video to Communicate Effectively

Incorporating video conferencing into your online meetings will enable the participants to be interactive and improve team communication. As your team is visible, they can focus during meaningful discussions, and you can monitor the reactions of the participants simultaneously.

Video conferencing increases the prospects for the successful collaboration of the highly involved team. Participants can interpret each other's social cues more easily than in audio-only conferencing, which makes meetings more collective and natural. As a result, no one will ever mistake quiet for apathy, and speakers won't feel as though they are speaking into thin air. It also removes the discomfort from meetings.

Use Interactive Communication Tools to Increase Commitment

An effective online meeting is feasible and interactive if the participants are highly involved in the discussion. Otherwise, they'll most likely be distracted by personal or side-job-related obligations.

Turning on your cameras will encourage more conversational meetings. To further pique participants' interest, take into account using visuals like charts, photos, and infographics. Use the chat box and a polling function or app to solicit questions and comments.

In addition to offering logical interactions and excellent sound and video quality, an interactive flat panel is another effective technique to engage viewers.

Record the Meeting and Distribute the Minutes

Your meeting must provide results that can be put into action if you want to achieve your productivity goals. To ensure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and before concluding the discussion, briefly explain these matters and the parties involved.

In order for your team and others to get access to the meeting, record and distribute it afterward, utilizing a cloud-based platform. Additionally, provide documents and notes that specify the actions to be taken and their target dates.

Your teams need virtual meetings to stay focused, involved, and understand their business objectives. But you won't be able to do this unless you employ the appropriate tools and strategies to make your meetings fruitful.

Do you need help with virtual meetings to improve your team engagement and productivity?

Merge Communications can help.

Contact us today. We will design an effective plan to grow your business and introduce MAXHUB’s virtual collaboration solutions using sophisticated technology and intelligent algorithms that are beneficial to your team's productivity.

Merge Communications is the official partner of MAXHUB in New Zealand.

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