Meetings, in one form or another are necessary. People working together on one project, with the same objective must coordinate. It’s not always practical or efficient for people to meet in person. In those instances conference and online calls make sense. Besides clear objectives and guidelines, a distraction-free environment matters, even for online meetings. With that, here are tips for online meetings.
! If you haven’t already you might also want to check out Church Team Meetings: 3 Ways to Make Them Better.
Rules Of Engagement 📋
At the start of the meeting make sure you have rules or guidelines on how to participate.
Some of the things you want to be clear about out the gate:
- If someone has a contrition to make, do they write it in the chat? Or do they just unmute themselves and say what they need to?
- Not hogging talk time
Think about things that might be unique to your context.
Familiarise yourself with the platform(s) in advance, create the necessary account and instal apps.
This is one of the best tips I can give for online meetings.
Familiarise yourself with the platform the meeting will be held on. Nothing is as distracting as unnecessary bloopers or fumbles. These are not only unsettling for you as a participant but distracting for others.
Find out in advance what app or platform you’ll be using for the meeting and install it on the device(s) you’ll be using. I find that apps tend to give more tools and a better overall user experience. You can always delete or uninstall them if you don’t want them on your devices.
Also create an account on the platform if you need to.
This is even more important if you’re the host or leading the meeting. Know how to use the whiteboard, screen share or other tools you’ll need.
Disable all notifications on devices you’ll be using and any other devices in your vicinity.
Our attention is fickle. To be engaged we must manage all distractions. This applies to us as individuals and for the sake of other participants. The same goes for in-person-in-same-room meetings.
When you’re not talking mute your microphone. Remember not unmute before you start speaking.
Related to the first tip, know where and how you mute. This tip is about knowing when to (un)mute. Be familiar with both the platform and devices to know how to mute.
Mind the noise: as much as you can, make sure you’re in a place with little to no noise.
Make sure you have adequate lit.
When not meeting in person, video is the closest thing we can use to bridge the distance. Make sure there’s adequate lighting. Test it before you start the call. Have the light shining toward you and not behind you.
Make sure your connection / bandwidth is good enough
Test your connection(s) before the call. Sometimes I restart my router 15 minutes before calls. I’d advise having a backup Internet connect.
Know where the camera on your device is and frame yourself good.
Fight the temptation to look at yourself or other on screen when you speak. Look into the camera when you speak. That way people feel you’re speaking to them.
When someone else is speaking use the visuals to engage. Nod your head, gestures and such. It will also help your concentration and focus.
- Set and state the rules of engagement at the start.
- Familiarise yourself with the platform and tools you’ll be using
- Disable all notifications on devices you’re using and other devices in your surround
- Know when and how to (un)mute
- Make sure you light is decent
- Test your connection before call and have a backup
What other tips for online meetings would you add to these?