22 May 2020

17 May 2020

Leading Online Meetings Successfully

Thanks to internet connectivity and video-conferencing tools, it's now simpler to communicate with people around the globe! After attending many virtual meetings for professional and personal purposes, I have compiled 12 ways to make hosting online assemblies as painlessly smooth as possible.

Met 62 participants via Zoom. Everyone is showing a love symbol. Such camaraderie!

12 Tips to Lead Successful Online Meetings
  1. Test the Tools
    Learn and test your video-conferencing tools before you conduct the actual meetings. It enables you to use it confidently and heighten your professionalism level. Test the internet speed and use cables instead of wireless for more stable connectivity. Switch off unused applications on your device to keep the video smooth. Make sure there is enough light shining on your face so that audience can see you clearly. During my first Zoom get-together at home, my friends feedback that my video quality was very blur. After checking, I realized there was a layer of double-sided tape on the video camera. The quality of my video became much better after cleaning the lens and adding a brighter lamp on my desk.

  2. Agenda
    Send the agenda of the meeting and relevant documents on the discussion before the meeting so that users can prepare beforehand. Give your team ample time to think through the topics of the agenda. Indicate expectations of the meeting, let participants know if they are required to on video and show their face during the event so they can be dressed appropriately for the online meeting. Highlight the privacy requirement like no sharing of meeting details with others. 

  3. Reminder
    Similar to face-to-face meetings, it is better to send reminder (text message or email) 2 hours before the online meetings starts.

  4. Dress Appropriately
    Project an image which shows self-respect and respect for the people attending your meeting. Remember to smile. 😀

  5. Venue
    Choose to have the meeting in a quiet room. To prevent your family members from blooping your conference, you might want to put a "DO NOT DISTURB, MEETING IN PROGRESS" signage on your door or on the desk if you are working on the kitchen table.

    Image by Gerd Altmann of Pixabay

    Due to the humid weather, you might need to switch on the fan. Ensure the fan is not too noisy or affecting your microphone. The other team mates might not be able to hear you when you are speaking due to the wind.

  6. Assistant
    If you are e-hosting a group which has more than 8 persons. Assign an assistant to join your online meeting and help you in answering the individual technical issues like how to see the shared visuals. He or she will be a great help in adding or approving people who are late so as not to interrupt the flow of the session.

  7. Mute
    Some video conferencing tools are so sharp that it picked up background noise too! To prevent unnecessary distraction, inform users to mute when the facilitator is talking or sharing videos.

  8. Speak Slower
    Due to connectivity and performance issues of audio tools. Do speak slightly slower so that the audience can hear you clearly.

  9. Audio Quality
    Some of my friends are complaining of headache after a day packed full of virtual meetings! It may not be comfortable to wear audio ear phones for long hours. If you have the luxury of a room to yourself, it is best to invest in good speakers or comfy headphone so that your ears are not strained on prolonged period.

    Image by Armin Schreijäg from Pixabay 
  10. Visual Engagement
    Encourage all users to turn on their web camera video function during the entire online session for better engagement. Audience will focus when they know everyone else is watching.

    While virtual backgrounds can camouflage messy room, it also cast a ghosting effect of restless users who has tendency to move in and out of the screen. As a host, you may suggest to these users to turn off their virtual background to reduce avoidable visual "commotion".

    While Zoom has "clap" and "thumbs up" reactions for participants, GoogleMeet users can install Nod to give thumbs up. All these reactions are very suitable for e-learning settings.

  11. Web vs Phone
    When a lot of participation is required from your audience like screen sharing or using virtual white boards, do encourage your audience to use the web version of the video-conferencing application via computer, it shall be easier for everyone.

  12. Bonding
    Open your chat room earlier for participants to chat with one another. Allocate about 15 minutes or more for bonding time, it can be held at the end of the meeting too. This is a wonderful time to introduce your pet, spouse or kids to your team members when you work from home.

Hope these recommendations can help you to conduct your online meetings fluently. Let's stay home & stay healthy!