Today’s technological advances allow us to conduct meetings and collaborate effectively online. From Cisco Jabber to provisioning tools, companies all around the world are embracing the remote working environment. And while Cisco Jabber and other meeting and collaboration tools have made it easier to do business from a distance, many people still struggle with how to hold successful online meetings. An online meeting can either be a quick and convenient way to bring together disparate parties, or it can be an unmitigated disaster. Here are four tips for how to hold a successful online meeting.
- An online meeting isn’t different from a regular meeting. On average, there are 11 million meetings being held in the United States on any given workday. The average employee is attending 62 meetings a month. The National Statistics Council has found that 37% of employee time is spent in meetings. That’s a lot of potential to waste time. Online meetings aren’t fundamentally different from in-person ones in this respect. You’ve got to minimize the time loss and maximize the usefulness. This means creating an agenda and releasing it early so that everyone knows what you’re going to talk about and is focused on the priorities. Remember that when people are not in the room with you they have no way to see your nonverbal cues. Without an agenda, they’re very likely to lose focus and find the meeting unproductive.
- Make sure you have prepared space and time. Before you try to use Cisco Jabber or any other type of collaboration software, make sure you understand what you’re getting into. Videoconferencing is very useful, but it can cost a lot of time if there are delays. Make sure that all your software is ready to go and everything is connected before you begin. Run a test for this 15 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to start don’t forget that if you have 10 people in an online meeting and there is a six-minute delay for some technical reason, you have just wasted an entire hour of company productivity. Make sure that there’s nothing in your space they can cause distractions for those who will be watching you on video. Use headphones so that background noise and audio feedback are eliminated. It’s been said already but it’s worth saying again, always do a test run of your Cisco Jabber or Cisco WebEx Meeting before you begin.
- Keep things just a bit slower than in-person meetings. video Conferencing with Cisco call manager tools or Cisco Jabber is always going to be a little slower than the typical meeting. You have to allow for a couple seconds of delay for all the systems to communicate. This may be especially true if you’re dealing with international communications. Always make sure that you allow a sufficient pause after questions are asked so that everyone has a chance to process. If you want to say something, bring attention to yourself first and wait a couple seconds before you start talking. Always remember that you must use your words because participants can’t see what you mean nor can they watch your body language. This might mean you need to spend a little more time preparing what you want to say.
- Be sure to recap, but save the debrief for a later time. When the meeting is coming to a close, have everyone personally recap all of the things that they’re responsible for. This way you can make sure that everyone understands who is doing what and who’s accountable and responsible. Extra clarity is important when you cannot see anyone’s facial expression or review body language that can sometimes give subtle clues that they haven’t understood. However, resist the temptation to debrief with your own colleagues the moment the meeting is finished. Go out of the room if there’s anything that you don’t want a remote attendee to overhear.
Cisco Jabber and other web conferencing solutions are amazing tools that make it possible to conduct business over vast distances quickly and efficiently. Follow these tips to make sure you’re making the most of your online meeting times.