8 Tips for Video Conferencing to Help Your Company Stay on Track
WRITTEN BY: Nate Rubin, 05-25-2020
Online video conferences are one of the key ingredients to successfully managing and communicating with distributed teams. Virtual meetings that are messy, confusing, meandering, and unorganized are a sure-fire way of derailing the ambitions of your remote teams.
That’s why it’s super important that your company knows how to efficiently streamline its online brainstorming and problem-solving sessions so that everyone is on the same page and on the right path to meeting your company’s goals. And that’s true now more than ever given the current COVID-19 outbreak that’s forcing so many companies into remote work setups.
1. Use the best remote meeting software
A massive part of effectively organizing and carrying out remote meetings with your distributed teams is simply using the right tools. Nowadays, there are thousands of apps and software choices designed specifically for managing and keeping in touch with remote workers. These tools can drastically improve online meetings, making them less time-consuming and a whole lot more productive.
The right remote meeting tools for your company probably aren’t the same as for other companies. It depends on your needs. Put simply, does this app or software provide functionality and value that makes it worth your company adopting it? If so, then go for it.
Some of the top remote meeting tools include:
- Google Drive
- TelemetryTV Desktop App
2. Create an agenda for the meeting—ahead of time
The last thing you want heading into a virtual meeting with your remote employees is to be stuck winging it. Sure, some improvising is okay, but plan out your meeting with an agenda of at least the main points you want to go over. Without a well-considered agenda drawn out prior to the meeting, chances are it will be disorganized and all over the place, which will inevitably lead to lost time.
It also helps to inform your remote employees who will take part in the meeting of what is expected from them, i.e. how much of their time you will need, what information they will be required to bring, and what issues and topics will be discussed.
3. Consider time zones
This one is a bit more of a straightforward meeting tip, but you’d be surprised how often virtual meeting organizers don’t take it into account. Many times, your remote workers are not just spread all across the country, but also all across the world. This means that online meetings need to be carefully planned so they work for everyone involved as much as possible.
In cases when a remote worker is expected to join an online meeting at an inconvenient hour of the day, give them a heads-up so they can plan and adjust their schedule accordingly—at least 24 hours.
4. Only invite necessary people
Remote meetings need to be lean and efficient, or else they run the risk of being disorderly and chaotic, especially when it comes to having too many people involved, all with their own two cents to throw in. That’s why it’s vital to only include necessary people, aka your remote workers and teams that the discussion is most relevant to.
In short, just keep things manageable.
5. Use video conferencing
In order to ensure clear communication and keep virtual meetings engaging, you should opt for video conferences over audio-only meetings. Communication is much more personal, memorable, and meaningful when there is a face behind it.
Apps such as Zoom, Skype, or Hangouts are great for hosting online meetings thanks to their near-perfect reliability.
You can also use different webinar tools to manage large meetings and events for hundreds of people.
6. Follow online meeting etiquette
Video conferences—like everything—have their dull moments. In these situations, it’s easy for us to zone out or check our phones but doing so can derail the entire meeting, which is why you should always encourage remote employees to follow the unwritten rules of virtual meeting etiquette so everything goes smoothly.
Put simply, make sure everyone follows common courtesy: introductions, don’t interrupt, give others room to speak up, don’t play with phones during presentations, silence notifications, come prepared, etc.
7. Keep video conferences engaging
A lot of remote meetings tend to fail because they fail to keep everyone involved engaged. In most cases, this happens due to long-winded presentations where one person does all the speaking and the rest of the group is relegated only to listening. The key to keeping virtual meetings engaging is two-pronged.
First, you need to keep things light and friendly, casual conversation at the beginning of the meeting or during meeting transitions helps accomplish this. And two, everyone needs to feel involved with how the meeting plays out. The easiest ways to do this are by giving everyone regular opportunities to speak up and give their input as well as assigning tasks for each person during the meeting, such as changing slides or handling the agenda.
8. Create a meeting summary and gather feedback
Once your video conference is a wrap, it’s important to write-up a summary of what took place during the meeting, from new responsibilities and objectives given to distributed teams to important ideas and findings that need further looking into. If your meeting was successful, then everyone who participated will know their next steps.
On top of that, knowing how your online meeting went is also hugely important, which is why you should always be doing follow-ups with remote employees—through one-on-one meetings or online surveys. Their feedback will go a long way in improving any future virtual meetings.
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