In these trying times, it is important to know exactly how to make an online meeting productive and attain your goals. The good news is, there are many ways to make this possible.
Before the pandemic, we could follow a daily routine, go where we wanted, and meet face-to-face with colleagues and business associates. But now, these old routines can no longer be maintained. By necessity, almost every way we conduct business has changed.
This certainly holds for how we conduct meetings. In an office setting, management typically notified employees of where and when to meet. That might not be possible anymore in the traditional sense, but there are ways in which we are adapting.
Meetings are essential for the proper conducting of business. This is ordinarily how management can relay important news and decisions within their company, and receive updates and status reports from their employees and department heads. Harvard Business Review states that senior decision-makers spend 65% of their time having these meetings to achieve transparency within the company,
Of course, many attendees have found meetings to be dull affairs. Not every briefing is concise and informative.
Lucky for you, we are going to suggest some ways to keep your employees engaged and make meetings more fun. Here are a few of my recommendations:
- Sneak in some guessing games – No, this is not like party charades you play with kids. Ask them to guess who is the most productive employee for the month. Or who is having a birthday soon? Small things can brighten up a meeting. They may be simple but believe me, employees appreciate these small gestures from the management.
- Try some brain teasers – This can be a team-building exercise and a lot of fun. Before the meeting begins, try to think of ways that will get their brains working in a fun and creative way. Try some brain teaser questions that can easily be found on the internet. It’s a great way of stimulating the brain before the meeting so that all attendees will be in their best selves when you begin the meeting. The list is endless. But these ideas will make the meeting more engaging than just going through slide after slide. Here is another one:
- Let your employees introduce themselves – This is an effective way of creating camaraderie between your employees. They can each make a statement about themselves, stating their names or the department they belong to–anything they want to offer that might be nice for their co-workers to know. It’s a great ice-breaker.
It’s possible to implement these suggestions even when the meeting is virtual. Yes, it might be more challenging, given there are a lot of unforeseen circumstances that could be a factor: internet problems, background noise, or kids and pets around the house.
These challenges, as problematic as they might be, must be overcome. Whether conducted from the office or remotely from home, meetings are integral to a company’s success. And being in this “new normal” must not stop us from being able to still take care of the matters in the office.
Below, we will share proven methods for staying on top of your business objectives, even when your team and clients are meeting remotely:
1. Reduce Distractions
When dogs are barking or a neighbor is mowing his lawn in the background, people on the other end of the receiver (including important clients) can have difficulty hearing and staying focused on the call. It’s easy to get important details wrong.
When you are holding meetings from home, make sure you are in a quiet place, free from disruptive noises, and able to focus on your conversation with your client or co-workers. Create an environment that is conducive to quality communication.
2. Create a Clear Agenda
You are holding a meeting for a reason. And that reason must be conveyed to those who will be in attendance. Be concise: the success of your business strategy depends on how well you state your objectives.
Being clear about why you need to hold the meeting and the agenda incorporated into it is something more of an obligation to your attendees because they deserve to know the reason why they have to be present and ready for the said meeting.
You can use visual aids and online Venn diagram templates to show your company statistics and other data to provide collaboration for your strategy and approach. Take this Mission, Vision and Values Slide as an example. Diagrams are a great way to show your strengths and further substantiate why clients’ trust in you and your company is well-placed.
3. Be Prepared
As we mentioned above, there will be circumstances that we cannot control. Things like a computer crash or your internet going out. To circumvent these types of issues potentially interfering with your upcoming meeting, get ready at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time.
Check your camera, check your headset. And just as important, be ready with your presentation. They may be small gestures but believe me, they can affect almost everything. It can make the meeting go smoothly or it can ruin the entire schedule.
4. Have a Meeting Moderator
Having someone moderate the meeting is a must for order and flow. The moderator directs the order of presentations and keeps everyone focused on the topic under discussion.
He or she will be the main person to make sure all procedures are done promptly and that everything is on schedule.
Without a moderator, online meetings can be chaotic. Everyone ends up talking at once, not sure who goes next. A meeting without a moderator is like a basketball game without a referee.
Online meetings can be a real challenge without guidelines to facilitate order and flow. The methods we have listed above are just a few ways to develop closer connections with associates when the distance between you can put you at a disadvantage. Just make sure to be concise, committed, transparent, and most of all, ready.