In spite of everything that’s currently going on, it’s nice that workers around the world get a chance to prove their work productivity without having to enter the office. Whether it’s conducting sales, talk about projects, or checking in with your team’s progress, modern technology allows us to work together without being in the same room.

But while virtual meetings are a great way to keep in touch, they don’t always go exactly as planned. Video conferencing might probably never become a perfect substitute for face-to-face meetings, but by following these simple guidelines for before, during, and after a meeting, you can ensure maximum effectiveness with every online meeting you host or attend.

Before

Tip 1: Choosing the Best Video Conferencing App

First things first, we need to decide on which video conferencing app to use. As of right now, the most popular apps with the simplest interfaces but a wide range of features are Zoom and Google Hangouts. Ideally, you’ll want to use a video conferencing app with a built-in screen recorder.

Tip 2: Find a Time that Fits All Team Members’ Schedules

Whether you and your team work in the same city or are scattered across the planet, you’ll have to find the best time that fits in everyone’s schedule. If your partners are halfway across the globe, rotate the time of your meetings so that everyone’s sleep schedules are evenly disturbed. It’s only fair, after all.

Tip 3: Appoint a Facilitator

A facilitator or moderator is someone who sits somewhat on the sidelines during the meeting. Their main duties involve getting the group hyped, allowing people to speak for a certain length of time, and inviting others to contribute to the conversation. Give the facilitator clear instructions on what they need to do (take notes, summarize the meeting at the end, etc.).

Tip 4: If Possible, Receive Input from Members Who cannot Attend

Although it would be nice if everyone who was invited to the meeting could attend, it might not be possible. Instead, what you can do is give the meeting materials to all of the invited members, ask who can and cannot attend, and ask for input from those who are unable to attend the online meeting. This will help keep them relevant in the discussion by offering new ideas that the attendees may not have thought of.

During

Tip 5: Perform a Quick Tech Check

Whether you like it or not, our hardware—i.e., webcams, laptop or desktop computers, mics, headphones—are not 100% fail-proof. Before the meeting begins, make sure you spend at least five minutes getting everything in order. Utilize whatever built-in voice records and webcam apps you have installed on your computer, or you can join the meeting room five minutes before the meeting starts to test all of your equipment.

Tip 6: Record the Meeting

This is one of the most crucial things you can do to make your remote meetings more effective. Firstly, if you record the meeting, you can share it with members who did not attend. Secondly, if nobody is writing down meeting minutes, you’ll have recorded evidence of what was said, so nothing gets lost. Both Zoom and Google Hangouts have built-in recording functions.

The only issue people have with recording hour-long online meetings is how much memory a single recording can take. For this, a simple solution would be to use a free video converter online. Such a converter can compress large MKV files into smaller MP4s, which will be quicker to upload and share with other members.

Tip 7: Encourage All Attendees to Activate their Webcams

As team members begin joining the meeting room, ask them to kindly turn on their webcams. This will help make the meeting feel more personal while also encouraging them to become more involved in the meeting. Of course, some users might be uncomfortable with activating their webcam, in which case you should not force the issue.

Tip 8: Share Screen only When Necessary

Generally, the speaker(s) should share their screens if they have prepared a visual presentation for the group. Certain video conferencing apps don’t allow multiple users to share their screens simultaneously, or a more recent screen-sharer will snatch the mic and attention away from the speaker. If possible, give screen-sharing privileges only to a person who has materials they need to show the group.

Tip 9: Give your Remote Colleagues the Floor

Even though not every person needs to present their materials during the meeting, it would be nice if every attendee received the same opportunity to speak. If anyone has been silent from the start, incorporate them into the discussion by asking for their opinion, prompting them to give their ideas, or simply asking whether they agree with a certain point. Remember that some apps have a Raise Hand feature; keep a close eye out for any raised hands.

Tip 10: End the Meeting with Clear Next-Move Steps

After the final person has had their say, it’s time to shut down the meeting. Ask the facilitator who has taken notes to summarize the key point of the discussion and what sort of outputs to expect over the next couple of days or weeks. These written notes should be shared among all attendees and invited members who could not attend.

After

Tip 11: Conduct a Feedback Survey

Although the meeting is adjourned, your job isn’t over. When everyone has disconnected from the meeting, communicate with your team via a team chat app such as Discord, Google Chat, or Slack. Thank them for their time and inputs, and ask them to fill in an online survey. You can create an online survey using services like Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or Zoho Survey.

Tip 12: Share the Recording

For good measure, you should share the video recording of the meeting with all attendees and especially with those who could not attend. Using a cloud-based storage system like Google Drive or Dropbox could work, but if your organization has its own server, utilize that instead (try to limit where your company’s information is saved).

Also, if members prefer a podcast-style format, you can use a video converter online to change video files into an MP3 file. This will not only limit how much of cloud space the file takes but also make it quicker to upload and download.

Conclusion

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Above, we’ve provided you with a dozen tips on how to improve your remote meetings. The tips we provided will help you prepare for a meeting before it begins, conduct a more effective and meaningful video conference session, and helpful follow-up steps after the meeting has ended. Hopefully, you learned a thing or two about how to make your online meetings more bearable and less time-consuming. 

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