One of the things I have noticed is that there is not a sense of how to do online meetings. The clients and companies I’m working with are still muddling through this, and I have wanted to say “STOOOOOPPPPP” lets figure this out!!! So here is my attempt.
Know your platform – There are several ways to accomplish an online meeting. Of the many I have used the two I like the most are Lync and Join.me.
- LYNC — You can use Lync if you are using Microsoft Office. With Lync you can send a link, or have people call into a central number. I like the ability to join online and see who else is on the meeting. If you are using OneNote to take your minutes then it will automatically list who has been invited and as they join online it checks their name as being present. You can also manually check people in attendance. The share screen option works well for one or two but for some reason seems to be a challenge in ‘larger’ meetings. The overall features of having it all in one suite of products makes Lync a nice option. However the drawback is you better have a very good tech that is Microsoft Savvy to make sure everything is set up. If not it will cause a lot of frustration.
- JOIN.ME — If you are of lower tech savvy abilities I would suggest Join.me for meetings. It tends to be easier to set up and use. And the really nice part is… it’s free. If you pay for the service you can get the personalized links as well as the call in numbers that you get with Lync. It does not have a note taking feature that is connected, so you will need to manually set that up. Not necessarily a feature that is important to everyone.
Turn off your notifications – When you are hosting an online meeting remember to turn off any notifications that may suddenly show up on your screen. It is amazing to me how many times people will share the screen in a meeting and not close out their email program before hand. We then all have the privilege of reading the email notifications with the person’s name that is sending it and the first few lines of the email. There have been many embarrassing moments occur when someone not in the meeting responds to an email previously sent. So close out your email program before you start your meeting.
Set an agenda – Just because the meeting is online it doesn’t mean it has to be thrown together. You should approach every meeting with a purpose in mind. You don’t have to have a written agenda for every meeting, but make sure that you do have a goal of what you want to accomplish.
Set the follow-up – If this is a project related meeting make sure that you have follow-up in place. Discussions are great but only if they will accomplish something. If you are following an agenda make sure that someone is assigned to follow up any action items discussed. Schedule the follow up meeting during your current meeting so people have time to prepare.
As businesses become more global and the workforce becomes more dispersed, online meetings will become the norm. Learn to master them well now, it adds to the professionalism of your company.