This cheat sheet will help you competently organize a team meeting, webinar, discussion, conference, or other events in a virtual format.
So, you’re on the air. As part of the welcome speech, identify again the topic of the meeting, the range of participants and the goal to be achieved. Try also to articulate the value and importance of the event for the participants and the organization as a whole. And try to keep the following tips in mind so that the virtual meeting goes smoothly for listeners and presenters.
These tips are followed by the team of the service, which provides custom essay writing services, for effective meetings and high results of work.
1. Adhere to timing
Familiarize your colleagues with the plan. Try to stick to your “timing” as the meeting progresses. When you see that the discussion is dragging on, you need to wrap it up. Alternatively, offer to meet separately on the issue because of its particular importance.
2. Give the floor to each participant
At the beginning of the meeting, it is helpful to give the floor to each participant. A short message from each is enough. For example, when bringing up a particular topic, you could ask employees if they have ever encountered anything like this. You can simply ask them to share the most interesting or important event of the past week. This will help include participants in the process right away.
3. Use the chat for feedback
During a meeting, you can use the chat room for feedback, small quizzes, so as not to clutter the airwaves with voice comments. However, make sure that the meeting does not turn into a chat room – do not lose the audience’s attention. Participants can get caught up in the conversation and become disengaged from the agenda.
4. Warn people that silence = agreement
Warn the interlocutors that their silence in discussing options on important issues will automatically be interpreted as agreement with the decision proposed by the facilitator. It doesn’t matter whether the employee was silent, nodded, or was distracted by an important call and dropped out of the discussion. However, this rule does not apply to the process of assigning tasks as part of the follow-up plan. It is categorically discouraged to “chop up” an action plan for absentees. Ideally, the employee assigns tasks and deadlines to himself/herself, according to the general scheme. If a participant has technical problems, he should notify them, for example, using cellular communication, if possible.
5. Speak clearly and loudly
Keep your speech rate slower than in a normal conversation. When speaking in public, we unconsciously speed up, so it makes sense to artificially slow ourselves down to speak naturally and convincingly. Recitative is appropriate for rap battles.
6. Avoid sticky arguments and high tones
Don’t let yourself get dragged into heated arguments and discussions. Especially if it’s not directly related to the meeting agenda. You’ll lose time and look pale in the eyes of the participants. Even if you’re 100% right, even if you eventually won the argument, your image will inevitably suffer when the working meeting turns into a bazaar scolding. Gently, but confidently demonstrate that the meeting is led by you and, ultimately, you determine what and how long will be discussed in the allotted time.
At the same time, it is not advisable to blindly go with the plan. If the audience comes across an important issue in the discussion that is relevant to the topic, do not dismiss it as not part of the original plan for the meeting. You’ve built-in time for force majeure, right?
7. Visual Contact
Before the meeting, make sure all participants have webcams. Warn that you plan to use a two-way video connection. If there is a “picture”, the effect of the event will be much higher. I suppose there’s no point in going on about the “visuals” and “audits” among us. Video communication helps the involvement of participants and increases the level of discipline – you can`t turn off the microphone and do other, albeit certainly important/urgent matters.
Engage participants in the discussion. When you see that an employee is inactive, ask targeted questions. Feel free to “get personal.” “Alexander, as the author of your dissertation on the application of string theory to the study of the migration of Sturnus vulgaris, what leading economic indicators do you recommend to pay attention to?” If you wish, you can make a list of such questions in advance. If the participants understand that they can address everyone, they will willy-nilly listen to what is going on.
9. Use the me-we-us method
For large-scale presentations when it’s difficult to get a large audience involved in the discussion, the me-we-us method is appropriate. Divide employees into several groups of three to seven people so that everyone can participate in the discussion. Discussions are held in parallel, indifferent “virtual rooms”. A similar feature is available in popular online meeting apps. During parallel discussions, you have the opportunity to connect to groups. In this way, you make sure that the discussion is going in the right direction, that all team members are active, and that you make adjustments or clarifications to the process if necessary.
“Share” electronic documents that can be edited together. In this case, participants see the activity of other teams in the shared text, which motivates them to be more active. After the parallel discussions, everyone returns to the general meeting, and team moderators (they should be designated in advance) report the results. Obligatory rule: switching on the camera by moderators during the presentation. For the first discussion, it is better to choose moderators from among experienced employees, setting the bar for group work. In subsequent sessions, be sure to mix teams and assign new moderators.
10. Cross-functional discussions
Include employees from different departments in the group for discussion if possible. This makes the process of sorting out the issue more interesting and the conclusions more qualitative.
11. Record decisions made during the meeting
The best way is to develop an action plan with people responsible, which you send to participants directly and to employees designated in the plan as implementers and other interested parties. But avoid sharing the meeting minutes and action plan when employees have the opportunity to adjust tasks, deadlines, and any other entries. Or make documents publicly available that are protected from editing.
12. At the end of the meeting
Set a date for the next meeting or series of meetings if such discussions are to take place regularly. Allow participants to share their conclusions, impressions of the meeting, and plans for working toward the agenda. The facilitator should have the last word in summarizing the meeting, emphasizing key points, thanking participants for their hard work, and providing direction for moving forward on the topic.
In general, if we consider online conferences as a working tool for regular use, it makes sense to develop a short procedure, calling it, for example, “The Ethics of Online Communications”. Then the rules of the game will be transparent to all employees, and meetings will become even more productive.
If properly organized, online meetings can be as effective as, and sometimes even better than, traditional office meetings. In terms of geographical and numerical coverage of the audience, as well as the “budget” of the event – they are unrivalled.