There was a time when online meetings were a luxury. A novelty reserved for tech-heads in Silicon Valley or high-flying business executives. Well, not anymore. Online meetings have become a must. A necessity. And they are even more relevant as businesses grind to a halt due to coronavirus, a new virus strain that causes the COVID-19 disease.
Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Amazon allow their employees to work from home. A trend has been set by the big tech companies. It is only a matter of time before other businesses take the same path.
Facebook has encouraged employees whose duties allow them to work from home to do so. It is now mandatory for all Twitter employees to work from home. The bottom line is that working from home is no longer a choice. In some regions, it is the only way to work.
Working from home is no excuse for employees not to get their work done. They still need to have those early motivational meetings, submit reports, and meet deadlines. Communication is more important than ever. And online meetings have become an important medium of communication.
7 hacks for productive online meetings
There are so many factors regarding working remotely. They range from having a distraction-free environment to having the necessary equipment to support your work. Let’s not forget the required technology and the necessary software.
For your online meetings, you will need the correct hardware and software tools among other things. This article gives you seven tips on how to have effective meetings.
1. Correct and effective software
There are so many software tools for doing the same job. A little bit of choice is good but too much of it is bad. Scan through all the online meeting software tools, test them, and even check their reviews online. Tools such as MeetFox have proven to be effective as they allow to schedule and conduct professional virtual meetings. It is important to know how to use the tool to effectively make use of it. Choose a software tool with an easy learning curve.
2. Setting up and complementing your technology
Power your computer on time so that you can be fully prepared for the meeting. Open fewer applications during the virtual meeting to prevent your computer from crushing. Make use of complementary technologies such as noise-canceling software. Krisp can be used to mute your background noise whilst you are on an online meeting. Buy a professional-grade microphone so that your voice is clear to other participants.
3. Distraction-free environment
Working from home can give you an impression of waking up and walking right into your home office/study and get the ball rolling. Keep your work area as clean and clutter-free as you would if you were working in a company office. A clean area is good for productivity. Try to avoid people walking into your room if you are on a video call as this would disturb other people in the virtual meeting. Maintain a clean and professional background.
4. Look into your camera
Look into the camera when you are having a video call or conference. Give the impression of eye contact. Do not appear to be looking on the side or as if you are not interested in being on the call. It is better to test your camera with one of your friends or family members before going on a professional call.
5. Good communication
Businesses hold meetings to discuss strategies and goals to be discussed. These meetings can get tense as employees will have to work against deadlines. This is the nature of businesses. However, there is a need to have a small talk at the start and end of the conversation. Talk to your workmates nicely to instill a sense of team spirit. Be positive and let them feel that they are part of the team. Be human in your interactions with the team and include humor where possible. Engage in virtual team building activities to boost the morale of the employees!
It is not every day that you have online meetings. You can have one meeting in a week and a lot will be said during the meeting. It is difficult to remember it all. Take notes during the meeting that you can refer to if you forget something. You can use note-taking management software such as Microsoft OneNote. Collaborative software tools such as Trello can be used to assign duties to each team member while the meeting is still going on.
7. Follow up your online meetings
Online meetings are only successful if the participants understand their tasks, adhere to their timelines, and meet set goals. Managers should check if the targets are met. Employees must play their part in delivering results expected from them.
Online meetings are here to stay
Online meetings have become as important as boardroom meetings. Employees and management need to work together to find common tools for communicating digitally. Having the right software tools and equipment coupled with proper planning and effective communication leads to successful online meetings. And successful results too.