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Managing online meetings to make them work for you

Meetings are an essential element of business. A collaborative culture is dominating the business world and so meetings are vital to ensure success.
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This, combined with a more mobile workforce, means online meetings are increasingly seen as a time saving way to bring people together. And the latest technology now makes video meetings easy.

But, how do businesses get the best from online meetings? It can be quite daunting for a first time user but it needn’t be if you follow a few simple tips.

Prepare an agenda

As in conducting a face-to-face meeting, the meeting facilitator should prepare a meeting agenda, outlining the key aims and what will be covered. The agenda should be sent to the meeting participants in sufficient time to allow them to organise and prepare for the meeting.

Plan in advance

If possible, give at least a day’s notice so people can plan for the meeting. The last thing you should do is spring a video conference on someone without any warning.

Appoint a moderator

The meeting will need to be managed by a moderator to drive the meeting agenda, ensuring you stick to the time allocated and giving everybody the chance to participate.

Test and get familiar with the technology

Before you begin the meeting, check the features available to you. There is nothing worse than dropping out of a meeting when using unfamiliar tech on the fly. With employees now tending to bring their own device to work, some technical glitches can occur with compatibility issues.

Problems can arise with participants not all having the latest software update. When it comes to sharing and uploading documents – test this out and load up the documents beforehand.

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Be concise

Most people’s attention falters after 30 minutes, so break down the meeting into manageable chunks of no more than ten minutes.

Don’t multi-task

Although it might be tempting to catch up with emails, Twitter feeds and other tasks during the meeting, avoid it and be fully engaged.

Get the location right

Choose carefully where you will be during the meeting to avoid distractions such as noise or background activity. Find a quiet room or space where you feel comfortable and make sure you look presentable before initiating the call.

It also helps if you have a well-lit space with minimum distraction. There’s nothing worse than having people moving or screaming kids behind you.

Don’t forget the small talk

Small talk, limited to a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting, is a good way at building relationships and helps everyone ease in before getting down to business.

Post meeting

Make sure meeting notes and action points are distributed to all who took part in the meeting.

Video conferencing/meetings with the right technology are now easy. This means with preparation, following the above guidance and keeping things simple, they can be a great tool for boosting collaboration and ultimately, productivity.

Alex Hunte is the co-founder of LyteSpark

The Google guide to growing your small business with video.

Image: Shutterstock

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