Nervous about your next online meeting? You're not alone. Video conferences and online coaching sessions can be nerve-wracking, but they do not have to be as bad as many people say they are.
Because more and more jobs and teams are done remotely, video conference calls are an important way to do business and keep everyone in the loop. We use virtual team meetings to keep our entire remote team up to speed. It's the only way we could do this in a cost-effective way. If you usually find virtual meetings to be slow, boring, and not very productive, you can do a few things to make the next one worth going to.
Send an email to everyone a long time before the meeting so they can prepare. Tell them why you are calling and what they need to read, research, and make. If everyone has done their work, the meeting will go much better. So, you will not waste time telling people things they already know, and you will not make someone feel bad for not knowing what is going on.
If the technology is not set up right, virtual meetings can be slow or get off track. In every meeting, someone's microphone stops working, their image freezes, or their camera goes black. Everyone stands around awkwardly while they wait to see if the problem can be solved quickly or if they need more advanced solutions. In either case, having to deal with technical issues interrupts the meeting and wastes time.
Even though there are a lot of options, like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and Slack, there are other platforms with more features and services. Use a platform with better video and sound for your next video conference. You might also want to look into an online whiteboard with an API to get people to talk more.
Plan an agenda with details like possible discussion topics, how people will share information, goals, and more. Before the meeting, make sure everyone knows what will be talked about. It does not hurt to go over it again at the beginning of the call.
You can go back to the agenda if the conversation ends before you finish what you want to say. It also makes sure that people stay on the right path. If people start going off on too many tangents or talking about things that have nothing to do with the purpose of the call, you can refer back to the agenda.
When people do not know who else is on the call, conference calls can be awkward. Most video conferences have a list of who is there, but audio-only conferences don't. Still, the list could grow, and no one has time to look at it all before the meeting. Take a minute to do a roll call and introduce clients and freelancers that the rest of the group might not know. You do not want anyone to say something that could hurt their reputation.
Where will you be coming from to get to the meeting? Make sure the room is well-lit and free of clutter and other things that might draw people's attention away from you. This will make people focus on you instead of what is behind you (or on your face). Find a quiet place where you can talk easily when it is your turn.
Conference calls do not have to be terrible; they can be a good way for businesses to talk to each other. How do you try to make your online meetings good?