Covid-19 has seen a forced increase of company teams, customers, suppliers having to have more interactions online. The world is changing, and this forced disruption has forced businesses to think and operate differently. We have seen an increase in online meetings within our own company, which has had its challenges.
I thought that it would be beneficial to share a few tips to help others navigate their way around these communication platforms.
- Selecting a reliable platform. There are a dime a dozen platforms out there to choose from - some have cost implications and others are free. Some good options include Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangout, Skype, WebEx, and StarLeaf.
- Getting to know the technology you are working with. Like all technology, make sure you know the basics of how they work before you jump onto the call. Many virtual platforms will have similar features.
- Login 5-10 minutes before the meeting. This is important if you are a first-time user. You don’t want to be responsible for holding up the meeting because you’re unsure of how to use the application.
- If you schedule the meeting, lead the meeting. If there is more than two people on the call, someone needs to lead and direct the meeting. Meetings become difficult when everyone is talking over each other.
- Set the meeting rules. Ensure that the meeting rules are understood up front. People coming in and out of meetings, either because they can’t connect or they are late, is extremely disruptive. Ensure that your microphone is muted when you enter the meeting, and only un-mute when you have something to say. When “going around the table” so to speak, the leader needs to indicate who should speak and when.
- Making small talk before you start the meeting. It’s important that everyone feels engaged and included in the meeting. Allow people to introduce themselves particularly if there are newcomers in the meeting.
- Make sure everyone is fully aware of the goal of the meeting. This would constitute good conduct and repetition of this will help to make sure alignment is kept.
- Keep people engaged by asking them questions. It’s always a good idea to get the opinions of all participants to keep them engaged in the meeting. Close the meeting by ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
- Wrap up the meeting by providing an overview of the next steps and actions. When concluding a meeting, make sure that you as the leader of the meeting, provide a summary of the main objective of the meeting and the next steps and actions to be taken.
- Follow up on actions from meeting. Make sure you follow up on the actions required from the meeting, which can be based on a set of minutes taken at the meeting. If any action items are uncertain or not being actioned, call everyone back into a meeting to clarify the way forward.
In conclusion, a face-to-face meeting will always, in my opinion, render better results than virtual meetings. However, the world is changing whether we like it or not and having the ability to master the art of conducting an online meeting will become an essential aspect of everyday life.
Being the best possible Agile Leader in virtual environments is essential in developing relationships and creating high performing teams that contribute to increased customer satisfaction, faster time to market, greater innovation and increased employee engagement.
Check out our quick guide to Green Office Rules of Engagement When Conducting Online Meetings Using Microsoft Teams by clicking on the below tab.