Due to the events of recent months our definition of normal has shifted. Where possible we need to stay away from others. For any working environment to be successful communication is vital and now many of us are searching for alternative ways to do this without putting ourselves or anyone else in danger.
Remote meetings allow this. Body language is a large aspect of how we communicate therefore video conferencing is a useful tool in facilitating this. It is however very different to being at a meeting in person. To get through any meeting smoothly and successfully here are a few tips I have found useful.
1. Have an agenda
- In advance of the meeting prepare the topics and points that need to be discussed and share them with your colleagues who will be involved in the meeting. This will keep the conversation on point and reduce the chance of straying too far from the topics that need to be discussed. It will also let others consider what they need to share in advance.
2. Be on time
- Set a start and end time so there is no confusion. It can be hard to gauge when to wrap up a remote meeting. Setting a specific time will allow for a less awkward ending to the meeting.
3. Record the Meeting
- It is inevitable that someone will miss the meeting, having it recorded is convenient for the absent colleague to catch up on the points discussed. They can easily view it in a higher speed to quickly get through it.
4. Communicate with Purpose
- Not everyone will have superb internet, and even if they do delays are inevitable with so many people in the one conference call, therefore allow for silence after asking a question. Pause longer than normal when opening the table for discussion rather than assuming everyone’s silence means they are ready to move on. When speaking directly to someone use their name, in person looking at them would be sufficient however on video chat it is not possible to know who anyone is really looking at.
5. Quality Audio
- There is nothing as bad as trying to have a group discussion when one person’s mic is constantly emitting background noise. Have a headset, preferably a good quality one with a microphone. If you must use an on-board microphone wear headphones so that there is no echo. It is not always possible to be in a quiet area especially working from home so muting your microphone when not speaking or having a push to talk option can be useful in this situation.
It is impossible to control all aspects of the meeting. Someone may lose connection to the internet or have problems using the software you agreed upon. So many times, I have had everything perfectly set up for a conference call and someone’s mic refuses to work without any logical explanation, by someone I mean me. Following these strategies will improve the quality of your meetings but there is a need for flexibility that is not always accepted or required in the office.
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