As a manager, hosting a meeting is crucial to helping your team get things done accurately and on time. When you’re in charge of managing a meeting, there are a few pieces of advice that will surely make it easier for you to keep attendees engaged and bring more value to your meetings.
Here are six tips for hosting stress-free online meetings with any audio and video conferencing platform.
1. Invite attendees using an integrated calendar service
Use Google Calendar, Outlook, or a calendar app of your choice to send out meeting invitations so your attendees know how that fits in their schedule. When users accept a calendar invite, it adds that information to their calendar, creating an event and setting a reminder automatically. What’s more, users that receive a calendar invite usually get the meeting-room information included, which makes it much easier to attend a meeting on time.
As another benefit with integrated calendar services, you and your team can share access to each other’s schedule. With this access, the organizer has enough information to schedule a time and place that’s suitable for everyone without having to go back and forth with attendees.
2. Doublecheck your equipment
Before you have your online meeting with guests, host a meeting with just you as the attendee. Use your smartphone or a second device to join your meeting so you can see what it looks like from the attendee’s point of view.
At this time, you’ll want to ensure all equipment works on your end. Make sure your microphone and your webcam work so attendees can hear and see you. Doublechecking your hardware helps to avoid speedbumps at the start of your meeting and makes sure everything runs smoothly.
3. Have a plan
Setting an agenda avoids meetings that waste time.
As professionals, we’re responsible for attending a handful of meetings throughout the week. Meetings can take up precious time that can be used accomplishing tasks and staying productive.
You want to keep the length of your meetings to a minimum to ensure every minute spent maintains its value. When attendees engage in side-conversations and the meeting derails off-topic, the time wasted is compounded by the number of guests at the meeting.
Keep your meetings efficient by setting up an agenda and going over that list of things to do before you start. That way, attendees know exactly what topics need to be addressed during the meeting.
4. Appoint a mediator to help attendees stay on topic
During meetings, attendees can sometimes get carried away with a subject that’s not on topic. When you appoint a mediator, he or she can help keep attendees from straying away from the main subject of the meeting.
Mediators can alternate or remain it consistent, depending on how large or small the meeting. With smaller groups, appointing a new mediator each meeting allows the team to share responsibility and authority. On the other hand, larger groups could need a regular, familiar mediator to prevent unsolicited queries and keep side chatter to a minimum.
5. Recap key topics of your meeting
Instead of ending a meeting briefly, spend time recapping the most important information and leaving time for any questions. You’ll want to give your attendees an opportunity to address important information that they may not have found the opportunity to share earlier.
A recap also helps your attendees focus on what’s most important to them. After a long meeting, guests can be fatigued and forget their next steps. Going over the key points of the meeting at the end ensures your attendees leave with a lasting impression.
6. Send a follow-up email
After your meeting ends, you’ll want to send a follow-up e-mail with documents mentioned during the meeting and a short synopsis of what happened. It can be written in sentences, as a bulleted list or whichever way you feel reads easily across your team. Just make sure you highlight the most important parts of the meeting and send the synopsis out to all attendees.
A follow-up e-mail also serves to give updates to those that missed the meeting.
If you’re looking to make the most of your virtual conferences, our six tips are sure to improve your experience. After some practice, you’ll be on your way to becoming an online-meeting guru!