How to make the most of your online meetings

January 6, 2023

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Do you find your team being distracted during virtual meetings? They just can’t help but pick up their phones every few minutes, fiddle with the things on their tables or even scroll through social media while listening to the speaker. Given the continuation of remote working, it is likely that the practice of holding online meetings will persist for some time. Hence, it is important that you, as an employer, use the right strategies to ensure maximum productivity during these meetings.

Here are some tips that you can use to increase the effectiveness of your online meetings:

1. Have a clear agenda

Source: Time Doctor

Before you even schedule the meeting, take some time to think about what you want to accomplish. Do you need to make a decision, solve a problem, or just update everyone on a project? From here, clearly define the purpose and goals of the meeting. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you are using your time effectively. 

Additionally, share your agenda in advance. This will give participants an idea of what to expect and give them time to prepare any questions or comments.

2. Encourage participation

Encourage open communication and actively listen to all participants. Create a safe and inclusive environment where everyone’s voice is heard. This can make participants feel more comfortable speaking up. Use tools such as a virtual hand-raising feature to give equal opportunity for all to share their ideas and thoughts.

3. Get participants to turn on their videos

Source: Forbes

Encourage participants to turn on their videos. This makes them feel more present in the meeting, while holding them accountable for what they do on screen. Additionally, seeing one another on video creates a more personal connection between participants, which serves as a huge source of motivation for individuals. This also helps to keep everyone more focused and engaged in the meeting.

4. Start and end on time

Respect everyone’s time by starting and ending the meeting on time. If you know that the meeting is going to run long, consider scheduling a follow-up meeting rather than trying to cram everything into one session. This would prevent the speaker from accidentally leaving out any important information or any disruption to the meeting as some employees leave the call to hop on their next one.

5. Give participants breaks

Source: Podia

Staring at the screen for too long may lead to fatigue and eye strain, as well as a decrease in focus and productivity during meetings. If you are holding long meetings or will be having many back-to-back meetings with the team, consider scheduling short breaks in between to give everyone a chance to stretch, take a walk or just take a break from the screen. This way, teams can rest and recharge, and be ready for the next meeting.

6. Follow up after the meeting

Make sure to follow up after the meeting to review any action items or decisions that were made, and to address any questions or concerns that may have come up. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the meeting was truly productive. Include any follow-up actions required of employees to ensure that the issues raised during the meeting are properly tackled. If more questions arise, you can schedule a short meeting with the relevant people to resolve their queries.

7. Ensure that participants have access to a conducive environment

Oftentimes, the distractions in one’s environment can hinder his active participation in meetings. With Deskimo, teams can find co-working locations such as TEC Capital Square and Hive Carpenter with complimentary private and sound-proof phone booths to ensure a quiet and conducive environment for them to pick up calls. Alternatively, if you are looking to hold a hybrid meeting, simply book a meeting room with free video conferencing facilities to ensure a smooth meeting with your team. 

As companies transition to hybrid work, many find it inconvenient to have to travel all the way to the office for a one-hour meeting on days when they work from home. Hence, online meetings have become increasingly common. However, despite the many benefits of online meetings, it is undeniable that they can sometimes become unproductive, disorganised, or even frustrating for participants. It is thus important that employers take the necessary steps to mitigate the challenges that arise from holding virtual meetings and ensure more effective, productive, and successful meetings for the team.

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