These are the tips that will help you make your online meetings even more productive
Suddenly online meetings via Teams or Zoom have become part of our daily lives, being tools without which we cannot live in remote work. But do you know how you can make your online meetings more productive and efficient? SISQUAL has put together 10 tips that can help you:
- Test your equipment in advance
It’s important to check if your equipment, camera, microphone and internet connection are working properly, so that there are no interruptions and that everything goes as planned and within the established times.
- Minimize distractions
We know that during remote work there are many constraints beyond our control that easily become a distraction. To some extent we have all become a little used to hearing the background noise of family members, children or even pets when you least expect it. To avoid them, make sure you are in an enclosed room in the house, with good lighting conditions and no gadgets or electronic devices that could cause distractions to you or those in the meeting. Additionally, we recommend using headphones as a way to keep the meeting private and ensure clear communication.
- Be punctual
As we spend a lot of time jumping from meeting to meeting, it’s natural to lose track of time. Set reminders for your meetings at 15, 10, and 5 minutes before if necessary, so that you don’t miss it even if you are involved in another one before that one. Be careful to enter the meeting a few minutes before it starts, making room for a simple informal chat about trivial matters, putting everyone involved at ease before “getting down to business”.
- Follow the rules of online meeting etiquette
Mute is the golden rule in online meetings, except when our active participation is required. This takes on greater importance if you are in a noisy environment that may interfere with the presentation or exchange of ideas. So, you should mute your microphone when entering a meeting, especially if it has already started without your presence, and whenever you are not using it, avoiding unnecessary distractions for everyone. Whenever you need to participate or ask a question, use the “raise your hand” feature that most group video calling tools already have, and wait for your turn. When scheduling meetings make sure they are not scheduled during employees’ lunch hours or outside working hours. This is particularly true when it comes to teams with different time zones.
- Avoid multitasking
Tip that is partly related to the previous one, because when giving in multitasking you are significantly reducing your attention in the meeting you are attending and, consequently, you devalue the work of those involved in it, while creating distractions for those present (with the noise of the keyboard, for example). Focus on the meeting, giving due attention to those who have put time and effort into it.
- Establish a clear and well-communicated agenda
Avoid holding meetings without a clear sense of the agenda from all participants. Meetings without purpose/goal or where any of the participants is not well into the subject matter can often lead to confusion and wasted time. Prepare for the meeting and make sure all participants are by giving a short briefing with key points to anyone if needed. Make things easy and understandable for everyone by preparing an agenda to be sent out preferably before the meeting (ideally with the meeting invitation by e-mail). Include all the key issues to be discussed, ranking them by urgency/importance, and mention the expected role of everyone involved.
- Appoint a moderator
A meeting where someone is in charge of controlling it and keeping it on track is critical to its success. Without such an agent, it is almost certain that there can be a detour from the subject that really matters. The most productive meetings are those that go directly to the heart of the matter, which should be the goal in mind of the moderator.
- End it with next steps
A sure way to align participants is to end meetings with an overview of what was deliberated/discussed, stipulating future tasks:
– Deliverables and next steps.
– Who is responsible for following up on each item/task.
– When are the deliverables due.
– When the next meeting or follow-up follows.
- Keep meetings short
Just 30 minutes of a virtual meeting is enough for the brain to register signs of fatigue, was the conclusion of a study conducted by Microsoft, “The future of work—the good, the challenging & the unknown”, conducted last year with more than two thousand professionals from the U.S., UK, Germany, Italy, Mexico and China. The same study points out that a period longer than 2 hours in videoconferencing is enough to drive employees into a state of stress. Thus, you should schedule shorter, but at the same time more objective meetings. Set a start and end time and stick to it, so that all employees can manage their professional agenda.
- Create small groups
Create the right group for the meeting. Invite only those team members who are actually involved in the projects to be addressed at the meeting. This way no time is wasted, and employees who could be productive on another task don’t get “stuck”.
In the current global scenario, where the pandemic of the new coronavirus is still very present, making social isolation a necessary “evil”, it is becoming more and more normal for meetings to be conducted in a non-presential manner. The faster your team adapts to practices that make virtual meetings more productive, the more competitive your company will become. Finally, and as a complement to this article, we recommend that you read the article in which we explain how to stay productive and motivated in remote work. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need help managing your team.
Written by Cristina Meireles
Cristina Meireles has a special interest in marketing, psychology, HR and Employer Branding. She has found in WFM a way to improve the quality of life and productivity of employees, being a strong ally in motivational campaigns. She has a degree in Languages and Business Relations from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto and is currently attending the masters in digital marketing from ISCAP.