Create a productive online meetings with these 10 advices



The widespread Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to allow employees to work from home. Discussions and meetings are also held remotely with the help of high-tech tools such as Google Hangout, Skype, Zoom, etc.

Typically, Zoom had 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019, but by April 2020, that number had grown to more than 300 million (Evans, 2020).

Other online meeting platforms, such as Google Meet™ and Microsoft Teams, have also experienced significant increases in daily participants (Peters, 2020; Thorp-Lancaster, 2020).

However, it’s quite challenging to keep people focused on remote meetings, especially when everyone is not in the same geographical space.

The key point in both traditional and online meetings is each member’s voluntary participation. Any meeting has a clear purpose, so the lack of cooperation will seriously reduce the quality of the meeting either way.

To maintain an efficient online meeting, we need to keep the following in mind.

1. 60 seconds rule

Before starting the meeting, you should spend the first 60 seconds explaining the meeting’s agenda. This helps attendees understand why they need to join the discussion. You can present statistics, news, etc., to stimulate attendees’ interest.

The ultimate goal of this approach is to define problems (or opportunities) before working on them.

Create a productive online meetings with these 10 advice

2. Set responsibility for each individual

You need to make it clear that each person attending the meeting should be responsible for giving ideas.

Instead of saying this directly to the attendees, you can give everyone opportunities to take charge of some tasks. Refer to #3 advice to be more explicit.

3. Everyone has to involve – you can’t avoid

If the responsibility is shared – that means no one will be accountable for it. To make all members work and brainstorm, you’d better assign tasks to them.

Remember to delegate tasks allowing a group of 2 ~ 3 people to complete them quickly. Don’t forget to provide a proper method for the discussion, such as Slack, video call, etc.

Create a productive online meetings with these 10 advice

4. MVP (Minimum Viable PowerPoint) rule

Be selective about the minimum amount of information you are conveying; don’t cram it all into your presentation slides. You’ll have more time to interact with attendees instead of trying to present everything.

5. The 5-minute rule

Never let attendees stop “brainstorming” in more than 5 minutes. If not, everyone’s mind starts to drift, and it isn’t easy to bring them back to the meeting.

Create a productive online meetings with these 10 advice

6. A chat

Some chitchats will remain the connection. A story that is unrelated to the meeting or a joke that relaxes everyone will stir up the atmosphere and retain participants’ attention.

These stories will give everyone’s mind a quick rest and let participants loosen.

7. Concise and focus

Online meetings shouldn’t last too long. In 60-minute meetings, there should be short breaks or small talks between hours to relax. During the meeting, the chairman should stick to the plan prepared and avoid rambling.

8. Have your questions ready

For the online meeting not to take place in vain for anyone, each participant should actively prepare queries or questions to ask in the discussion. To avoid forgetting or omitting questions, you should note the questions down and add a tick after each solved question.

9. Make sure there are no technical problems

Joining an online meeting means you work with a computer, smartphone, or other technology devices. Therefore, before conducting an online meeting, whether it’s the first time or many times, you should check all technical equipment to fix any problem that arises.

Ensure you have an account and password to join the meeting room and check if the Wi-Fi connection is active and stable. Joining the online meeting room 5-10 minutes before the specified time to help everything go smoothly.

10. Choose a quiet background to hold the meeting

Private office space, or quiet spaces should be chosen to conduct online meetings because the surrounding noise will cause discomfort, distraction to the listener.

In addition, if the meeting requires video calls, you should also record in a clean, neat background, avoid sitting in messy and unorganized locations for an unprofessional and disrespectful image.

Online meetings are a relatively new work style for many businesses, but we have to accept changes to maintain work efficiency.

The key to keeping online meetings successful is holding an active two-way conversation. If you can apply all 10 pieces of advice above, online meetings are no longer an obstacle for you and your staff. And incase your colleagues are from different countries and can’t join the meeting sometimes, you can record the meeting, and translate it into languages using a great translating tool to keep your colleagues updated.

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