While online meetings offer remotely located participants the opportunity to interact together in real time, some parameters should be followed that will allow everyone to get the most out of the meeting. Here are some tips for accomplishing that from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of the Northwest:
Agenda — Prepare an agenda on a PowerPoint slide. Create the slide in advance and load it into the meeting for a visual reference throughout the meeting. Use the annotation tools to highlight and check off items as they are addressed to keep track of time.
Invitations — Use the virtual meeting technology to send invitations. This invitation can then be placed on each attendee’s calendar for quick reference to join the meeting on time. The invitation clearly provides the link and the audio information necessary to attend the meeting.
Speakers — Plan who is going to speak when and manage the hand off from speaker to speaker verbally, much like a radio broadcast. Assign someone to keep track of time and to announce time frame intervals via the chat tool, timer tool, or verbally, depending on what is available.
Communication — Use the audio and the chat to encourage dialogue. Ensure each attendee has connected to the audio and can not only hear the meeting, but also be heard. Encourage communication in multiple ways to allow attendees to provide input in a way that is most comfortable for them.
Technology — Use the features of the virtual meeting room to enhance the meeting experience. For example:
- If files are being worked on, use share to the application and view the document together, in real time.
- If web sites are being referenced, use the web share feature to view the web site in real time.
- If brainstorming is on the agenda, use the chat to effectively manage the brainstorm in a quick and organized manner.
- If process flow is being developed, use a whiteboard and the drawing tools to demonstrate the ideas together and save it for reference at the conclusion of the meeting.
Adhering to these few simple tips will ensure that everyone comes away from the meeting feeling that they were a part of the proceedings, and most of all, it will ensure that the time spent will have been productive.
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