How to Conduct an Online Meeting: 8 Rules for Effective Communication

Even 10 years ago, work-life balance fans tried to persuade everyone to switch to remote work. And now all of humanity is forced to follow this advice. But remote work, like any other, requires regular coordination and meetings (which, of course, are held online).

For these meetings to be effective, it is important to organize them correctly. The main rules are shared by our team.

1: Choose the Right Meeting Tool

Many conference calls look like this: you call a phone number, listen to a greeting, an invitation to switch to another language, then enter the room number, at the end either a hash # or an asterisk *. At this moment, you can be on the road, you lose contact and you are forced to call this conference again and go through the quest again.

And then some services ask you to pronounce your name. And so, when all the other participants are discussing something, the robot plays your name – here you are again joined. An extremely unpleasant experience.

Online meetings are now more common in your life, so choose a tool with the simplest possible user interface for virtual meeting – we use CallOut, for example.

It is often necessary to show your screen to colleagues, and it is convenient when there is a PC application with this function.

2: Send the meeting agenda in advance

It is likely that no one will read it. Here the point is different – people who understand how important it is to have an agenda in front of their eyes before the meeting will notice that you sent it. And in their eyes you will score points.

You will look more professional than 90% of other meeting planners simply by sending out a well-thought-out agenda.

3: Come to an appointment on time

In reality, nothing can throw off the mood more than people connecting chaotically for the first 10 minutes. Any meeting must start on time.

You can use the carrot-and-stick system if your company culture allows it. For example, people who are late pay a fine or a conditional chocolate bar for every minute they are late. Or the one who came last pays a fixed fine for everyone. And right after the meeting, the calculation takes place.

So employees will quickly remember an important rule: you must arrive on time for any meeting, including a virtual one.

4: Control Your Microphone

Always turn off your microphone if you are not currently speaking. Especially when you are on the road – for example, on the train or on the subway. The rest of the meeting does not need to listen to the mechanical voice announcing the next stop. Better to make sure your microphone is turned off and you are not interfering with anyone.

Conversely, when you speak, make sure your microphone is on so you don’t repeat your speech twice.

5: Choose a place with good communication for the meeting

Take care of this in advance. It is unlikely that anyone will appreciate if during the meeting the connection begins to disappear or instead of coherent speech everyone hears a gurgle. Try to plan your day so that you are in a location with reliable communications during the meeting.

Life hack: often surprisingly, LTE cellular communication works better than Wi-Fi.

6: Turn off videos

Undoubtedly, seeing the interlocutor is important if you are communicating with a person for the first time and want to understand him better. Then make sure you look good in the frame and that nothing happens in the background. If children or animals are running in the background, or if you have not shaved, it is better to turn off the video.

By the way, video requires much more traffic, so communication without a picture can be more reliable.

7: Respect Timing

End your appointment at the appointed time. I am against meetings longer than half an hour. We have one weekly meeting with about 40 people in our company, and it lasts 45-50 minutes. During this time, everyone has time to tell what he did over the past week and what his plans are for the next. To maintain this pace, everyone prepares for the meeting in advance and rehearses their report the day before.

Please respect your colleagues’ time and end the meeting on time.

8: Be sure to draw up a report on the past meeting

Someone did not come to the meeting, someone does not remember what was there, someone in a heated discussion lost the main idea. That is why it is very important to write a meeting report, or meeting report. The report, like the agenda, shows your culture, and people who understand its importance will have a completely different attitude to your organizational skills.

The report also records the so-called action items, or simply tasks. Usually, after a long monthly meeting, we have about 10-15 tasks in the report, of which 2-3 points are clarified and corrected.

We write the agenda and the report in the same task, and the participants put their approvals. Agreeing on hot-spot decisions saves a lot of time, because otherwise the mistake could be corrected only a month later, at the next meeting.