How to Keep Online Meetings Productive
Posted by: Brian Van Meter, Marketing Manager
This blog was originally posted on Grandstream.com
Remote collaboration and online meetings have become a standard way to work together across most industries as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Luckily, online meeting technology is readily available to help teams come together and work with one another as if they were right there in person. Adapting to the new standard of work has proven to be a challenge for some teams however, and it’s important to practice strategies that keep everyone on-track. In this blog post, we’ll be covering the best practices and platform features that can keep your online meetings productive.
Actively Engage with Meeting Participants
Online meetings are full of potential distractions that can pull away the focus of your participants. Team members can check in on a favorite sports team, scroll through social media, or watch a quick video in just a few clicks. Over the course of a meeting, distractions like this can occur among all participants and quickly add up to be a huge drain in meeting productivity. The below steps can help your team members actively engage and refocus in on the meeting at hand.
Create an agenda and reference it frequently
An agenda will help organize the meeting before it even begins and allows team members to properly prepare in advance. Referencing the agenda mid-meeting also refocuses distracted team members on a particular goal and engages them in the discussion or presentation. Agendas can also be created, shared, viewed, and edited as the meeting progresses, keeping key developments updated and available for all participants.
Ask more questions
Even in person, it can be easy for a colleague to lose focus and let their mind wander if they aren’t being actively engaged. This is even truer when holding meetings online. Asking questions is an important strategy to keep a team focused and collaborating together and pushing the meeting towards its intended goal. Meeting platform features such as Q&A, raise hand, and chat can all be leveraged as well to assist with this process.
Provide more micro-breaks
It is important to understand that within an online meeting there are a lot of distractions competing for a team member’s attention, and that’s okay. Unlike a face-to-face meeting, participants are also constantly focusing on a screen and exercising more effort than normal to stay focused and work together. These two factors come together to create an environment that is more naturally fatiguing. Providing 2-5 minute breaks throughout the meeting is a good solution to allow your team to stretch, rest their eyes, refill their coffee, and sit back down feeling refreshed and ready to continue.
Understand Your Platform’s Tools
Online meeting platforms come with plenty of tools to help mimic an in person experience, and in some cases these features accomplish tasks that cannot be done outside of an online space. In order to keep your online meeting productive, it’s important for all members of a team to be familiar with these features. An organization needs to also choose an online meeting platform that has the features needed for a team to come together and collaborate in a way that works for their particular dynamic.
Take time to understand the way your team comes together to work and meet. Question and Answer (Q&A), raise hand, and active-speaker focus are all features that can help a presenter provide information more efficiently while enabling listeners to interact in a way that isn’t disruptive. Screen and document sharing, whiteboard editing, and group and private chat enable users to work more hands-on and collaboratively together. Your online meeting platform should be able to support all these features and present them in a way that is easy to understand and utilize.
Create, Share, and Edit Meeting Materials
The ability to create and share documents, presentations, and other visuals is a distinct advantage and key driver of productivity of online meetings. Participants can talk and brainstorm while working together in a shared online document. A whiteboard feature enables users to create visuals on-the-fly to help aid in discussion and planning. Additionally, visual aids can be shared with a click of a button and displayed on the user’s screen while the presenter can draw attention to key points. Screen sharing can help team members provide context to their discussion points, and file sharing can let participants actively view referenced material during and after the meeting.
With online collaboration becoming a new standard in the way we work, it is important to take the steps necessary to keep your online meeting productive. Actively engaging meeting participants, understanding your platform’s tools, and leveraging shareable meeting materials and visuals are key ways to accomplish this. Before any of this can be done, you must first choose the right online meeting platform for your team. With almost 20 years of experience creating solutions to help businesses succeed, Grandstream set out and developed IPVideoTalk to be an intuitive online meeting space with features that are geared towards team productivity and collaboration. No software or extra plugins, just effective collaboration.