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10 tips for running a successful virtual meeting

More of us than ever are currently working at home due to COVID-19. Video conferences and other virtual meetings are becoming essential, but what if you’re never had to run one before?
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Don’t worry, if you’re working remotely, we’ve got you covered with our 10 tips for organising a virtual meeting. If you’re currently seeking work, you may also be able to use these tips in remote job interviews, or simply to stay in touch with friends.

If you’re organising the meeting, our first five tips should help you prepare:

 

1.   Choose your software…

Nowadays there are many sophisticated video conferencing applications, such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. Do your research and find the one that’s best for you. Make sure the software is free to download, and check it can accommodate enough participants.

 

2.   … and test it out!

You’ll also need to test out the software with a friend or colleague beforehand. Most video conferencing applications are very simple after you’ve used them once, but things can often go wrong first time around if you aren’t familiar with them.

 

3.   Find a suitable time

Check people’s calendars and keep in mind working hours, time zones and individual circumstances. For example, if you know that a participant has children, you may want to be flexible to accommodate their needs.

 

4.   Ensure everyone is set up

Tell your participants what tools they will need. Give them sufficient advance warning and clear instructions, and make sure they have whichever code or link they’ll need to join the meeting.

 

5.   Circulate documents and assign a note-taker

Share any important documents in advance, including an agenda if appropriate. If you plan to present something, consider sharing your screen during the call. Just make sure you turn off email alerts and close any confidential windows beforehand! You might also need to assign someone to take minutes.

 

Even remotely, it’s important to practice good meeting etiquette, so here are five more tips for during the meeting:

 

6.   Smile for the camera!

Encourage everyone to use their video, which gives the meeting a realistic feel. Some applications have a ‘blur my background’ function, which protects privacy and prevents any background distractions. Ensure you dress appropriately, too. Many find dressing smartly puts them in a working mindset, and clients or interviewers will still expect you to look professional.

 

7.   Let everyone speak…

Some applications have a built-in function whereby they only show the person speaking on screen, which encourages participants to take turns. In any case, consider having a chairperson to go through the points on the agenda, summarise key points and allocate opportunities to contribute.

 

8.   … and mute your microphone when you’re not speaking!

Background noise such as pets or young children can be disruptive. Using a headset with a built-in microphone can help prevent this, but even your own breathing can come through loudly. The safest way to avoid this is by muting yourself while you’re listening to others.

 

9.   Don’t forget the small talk

“How was your journey here?” won’t work in this case, but be sure to ask everyone how they are. Some people may feel isolated and lonely when working from home, so some casual conversation in your meeting may be a welcome source of interaction.

 

10.   Follow up

Follow up your meeting in the usual way. If necessary, circulate notes with clear action points and the people responsible for them.

 

We hope these 10 tips will help with your own virtual meeting – good luck!

 

Related links:

Zoom

Skype

Microsoft Teams

 

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07/04/2020

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