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Tips for online meetings

In 2020 the Corona crisis has made us meet virtually most of the times. For many companies online meetings were still unusal beginning of 2020. After a while it bacame clear that it is sometimes easier for the IT to provide a tool and basic equipment for online meetings than to learn how to conduct really good and effective online meetings. Soon companies were looking for the right tips and rules for web meetings:

How do you deal with the big SILENCE which occurs quite often in online meetings? What can you do to best communicate with twelve people who don’t turn their webcams on? And how to deal with the fact that you cannot see the body language of the meeting participants and you cannot look at one specific person. By the way, real eye contact is impossible.

Soon it becomes apparent that these meetings follow different rules and communication patterns. What are basic tips for online meetings? Which rules should we follow in online meetings? Below I have listed typical behaviour which you can often see in web meetings but which should best be avoided.

Bad habits (Don’ts) in online meetings

  1. Joining late
  2. Not participating in small talk
  3. Scheduling one meeting after the other without any buffer inbetween
  4. Leaving the webcam turned off
  5. Having a window behind you when having your webcam on
  6. Looking at a different screen than the one with the integrated webcam
  7. Sitting at an awkward angle towards the webcam
  8. Not joining discussions and not actively participating
  9. Withholding questions even if you have any
  10. Not smiling
  11. Holding long monologues
  12. Boring presentations with loads of text
  13. Asking a question to someone specific without stating the name
  14. Saying something in big meetings with many participants without stating your name upfront
  15. Answering e-mails in between
  16. Answering chat messages in between
  17. Leaving your desk temporarily (when not having the webcam turned on) without letting know the other meeting participants
  18. Leaving the meeting altogether before the official end, without any important excuse and without notifying the others

I am sure that you probably can think of ever more bad habits in online meetings. And which of the above bad habits have you shown yourself recently? This is all a question of organisation, discipline and respect for each other. In the following I have drafted some Do’s and tips for online meetings. Those represent my view as someone with a long experience in leading virtual meetings and as webinar trainer.

General tips (Do’s) for online meetings

The following tips and rules apply to all meeting participants who want to influence the online meetings in a positive way:

  1. Log into the meeting some minutes before the official start.
  2. Join the small talk in the beginning.
  3. Whenever possible, plan a 10 minute buffer after each meeting.
  4. Turn on your webcam.
  5. Make sure the webcam is positioned at eye level.
  6. Make sure that there is enough light so that people can see your face clearly.
  7. Join discussions and ask questions if you have any.
  8. Avoid lengthy monologues and ask others for their comments.
  9. Keep online presentations brief and interesting and make them as interactive as possible.
  10. Smile – and look specifically into the webcam from time to time.
  11. If you have questions to someone specific in the meetings state the other person’s name.
  12. In big meetings without webcam state your name before contributing.
  13. Concentrate on the meeting, mute your mobile, and switch off online notifications and messenger tools.
  14. Should you have to leave the desk / meting temporarily notify the others through a meeting chat message.
  15. Should you exceptionally have to leave the meeting before the official end, notify the meeting leader as soon as possible and say quickly good bye to the others before leaving (in large meetings you can use the chat).

Rules and tips for online meeting leaders

Are you often leading virtual meetings and want to know how you can lead through the meeting effectively? Do you want to know what you can do to activate your participants and to make sure they follow above rules?

Why not inquiring about an online moderator training with me? In two online modules three hours each with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex or Skype for Business you will learn

  • Which rules you should establish with your participants
  • How you can integrate your participants actively in the online meeting
  • What the most important features are of your online meeting tool and how you can use them
  • Which “external” tools you can use in addition
  • How you can lead confidently through the different online meeting phases
  • How a good online presentation should look like and how you can grap the attention of your participants
  • Why clear instructions are vital in online meetings and which feedback and questioning techniques should be used
  • How you can lead through half-virtual (“hybrid”) meetings without loosing the online participants

Contact me without any obligation.