In this digital age, where businesses no longer depend on travel or email alone to reach clients, online meetings have become part of the daily work routine. However, some professionals are still concerned about conducting an online meeting efficiently; how to act when the camera is on, or how to avoid distractions and keep professionalism and focus when not face-to-face.
To combat the perception that online meetings are awkward and inefficient, follow this winning guide to online meeting etiquette, and five top tips from conferencing experts PGi, to ensure you never experience a failed conference call again.
1. Get Your Team Invested Beforehand
[pullquote]Employees and companies who favor more traditional face-to-face meetings, or are not up to speed on the advancement of conferencing tools, wrongly believe that online meetings provide a lesser meeting experience and weakens productivity.[/pullquote] This can lead to teams entering conference calls unprepared, ultimately causing inefficiency, time wasting, coming across as unprofessional, and potentially damaging relationships or losing clients.
For smaller companies with limited budgets, start-ups or freelancers, or even larger companies working from remote locations who and unable to travel to clients, online meetings may be the best or even only way to communicate. Because of this, ensuring your team is invested and have done all the necessary prep work beforehand is key to a successful online meeting.
Particularly when conducting conference calls, ensure you emphasize the importance of telling your team exactly what the outcome of the meeting might mean for the company. Make sure to highlight meeting objectives and expected outcomes, and identify how the call may enhance team performance, or even better, personal gains that may directly arise from a successful meeting.
2. Meeting Agendas
Just as you would face-to-face, ensure there is a structure to your online meeting, and an agenda to follow. This will ensure meetings run smoothly and on time, covering all points, stays on topic, and most importantly, keeps to the meeting brief.
Detailing who will lead and cover each topic on the agenda will ensure that meeting participants don’t talk over each other and repeat the same information.
Sending a meeting brief to all parties beforehand, allowing them to prepare accordingly, will also warrant an efficient meeting.
3. Check Your (Signal) Strength
A common concern about joining a meeting via mobile is that the audio quality isn’t as good as from a landline. In fact, your audio is dependent on either your data or Wi-Fi connection strength, or your mobile signal.
If you choose to have your meeting tool dial your mobile phone, ensure you have a strong mobile signal. Many smartphone and tablet conferencing apps also offer the ability to connect your audio directly over your Wi-Fi or data connection using Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, technology. VoIP is a fantastic connection option provided that your Wi-Fi or data connection is strong enough to support it.
4. Master The Mute Button
Unwanted background noise during an online meeting can be highly distracting, particularly if it causes disruption and takes away the focus from the call.
To ensure you don’t detract from the meeting, utilise the mute button when you are not speaking or being spoken to.
5. Use The Cloud For Presentation
To ensure your meeting runs smoothly, make meeting materials accessible to all participants.
There are several tablet and smartphone collaboration apps that allows you to access presentations, even while mobile. The most effective tools are those that feature cloud-based file storage, accessible from any device. Simply load your presentation before you start the meeting, and ask other participants to do so as well to avoid delays.
Online meetings can be an easy and efficient way to build strong relationships with clients. For that reason, it is imperative you make the most out of your experience and conduct yourself in the correct manner. These five tips will guarantee your online meetings run smoothly, and with the upmost professionalism.
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