This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by Aubrey Lacuna.
No one expected for the entire world to be put on a standstill. The coronavirus pandemic is still the talk of the town and is what keeps medical professionals up at night. Business owners and employers alike are scrambling to keep jobs running despite stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules.
A lot of businesses are embracing the #WFH set-up. While keeping the public’s health and safety is a priority, revenue and income are necessities. Work-from-home or remote job set-ups allow employers and employees to have zero to little in-person contact, which means the bulk, if not all, of the work-load and administrative duties are done online.
Coworking through digital work is a must these days. And all while helping out as responsible citizens in an attempt to flatten the curve.
With this, online meetings replace daily morning briefings or weekly report meetings. It is relatively different from convening around a conference table with your colleagues at an arm’s length from you, so different etiquettes apply to online meetings.
But before we delve into the tips on how to top your online meeting, let’s quickly point out the basics about why meetings are called in the first place. It goes without saying that a meeting comes with a clear and straightforward agenda: everyone knows what it is for, each and everyone’s role, and what is expected from them during the meeting, right?
Now that that is explicit, let’s go through the basic yet crucial musts for your best online meeting performance.
1. Be Prepared
Distractions are the worst. This can ruin any conference before it even starts. Take the time to minimize, if not eliminate, distractions.
Any activity that requires a computer, the internet, and virtual interaction is only productive if everything else that comes in contact with it works. Online meetings, just like a regular in-person meeting, needs preparation.
First, check and re-check your equipment. This means ensuring the camera lens on your laptop or computer is clear of smudges, your microphone and headset can pick-up sound well, speakers’ volume is adjusted appropriately, and your internet connection is stable and reliable.
Second is securing your surroundings. Make sure your background is neat and simple. It’s best to pick a space away from foot traffic if you live with other people or fur babies.
Alternatively, consider conducting the online meeting at a coworking space near you. Coworking spaces are designed to put you in a better work-mode without stepping in an actual office, which helps reduce distractions since spaces are designed to enhance work productivity and eliminate interruptions.
And lastly, the star of the meeting: YOU. People make the mistake of being too laid-back or overly flashy when dressing up (or down) for a virtual meeting at home. Whether you are brainstorming with creative colleagues or making important decisions with the management team, you can never go wrong in dressing business casual.
2. Stay Focused and Engaged
Undivided attention is mandatory during meetings. Unlike in-person meetings, you don’t get the luxury of non-verbal cues that naturally occurs when convening in one space. Once you miss a few seconds or phrase, you can’t exactly nudge your neighbor subtly to give you hints about what you missed without interrupting the flow.
The end-goal of any meeting is productivity, and each participant has to contribute by staying focused and engaged during the meeting. Distractions can be avoided during the 30-minute to 1-hour session.
3. Wrap Up the Meeting Effectively
Discussion of reports: check.
Strategy for the next 3 months: check.
Assignment of tasks: check.
It’s time to wrap up the meeting. Before you end the video conference, confirm that everyone is on the same page with the discussion and timelines.
Check with each participant if they have any other clarifications or questions that were not brought up earlier. Gather feedback from the team on how they think the meeting went – whether it be one-on-one, through survey, or via email. It’s an effective way to get an insight into what worked and didn’t work and how to improve it in the next round.
A secretary is usually assigned to take down minutes and document what transpired concisely in detail during a meeting. If not, and you have the skill to take coherent minutes efficiently, volunteer.
The minutes should be sent as a recap with clear action items to each participant and duly acknowledged to make sure everyone is on the same page. Minutes are sent at the end of the day or within 24 hours after the meeting has concluded.
Successful online meetings happen when it is planned, organized correctly, and conducted professionally. Keep these 3 lengthy, yet beneficial tips on your next virtual meeting from the comfort of anywhere.
About the Author
Aubrey Lacuna is a passionate writer and the content manager of professionalresumewriters.com.