Just like a traditional face-to-face meeting, proper planning and meeting management can mean the difference between a productive and well-run meeting versus an ineffective meeting with limited results.
In order to make online calls productive for everyone, the following suggestions are provided for both facilitators and participants.
Communicate your expectations at least two days prior to the conference. zoom or webinar meeting an you can start by sending out the time of the meting and agenda you will be following. Not forgeting the materials needed, what they should have read before and what they should have as a reference during the call.
The “standards of behavior” followed at a traditional meeting are just as important, if not more important online meetings.
Ask the participants to observe maximum silence or mute their device when they are not talking, use professional language is expected and ask relevant questions.
At the beginning of the meeting, ask the participants to introduce themselves or read out the names of representative groups of the expected participants. A response allows the facilitator to know who is on the conference line.
Ask the participants to send in all of their expectations ahead of time, but the facilitator should read them out at the beginning of the meeting and review them to know if people’s expectations were met at the end of it.
Call in the participants 20 minutes before the set time for the call to ensure you all are logged in on time, then after all is done find a queit place to sit so that you are not interupted.
Have a notetaker at the end of the call, ask the note-taker to quickly go through the list of who has agreed to take on what responsibilities so people leave the call with their commitments fresh in their heads
Don’t forget to schedule the next call (if necessary) on this call while so many relevant people are present. Also, assign a facilitator, agenda planner, and reminder/outreach person for the next call (these can be the same person).
Before ending an agenda item, recap by summarizing what actions the group has suggested be taken and asking people to take responsibility for those actions (make sure these commitments are in the notes!).
- Learn the features of your phone before the meeting.
- Move to a quiet location before the meeting.
- Ensure your phone is charged.
- Be ready to take the call 20 minutes before time.
- Follow the facilitator’s expectations, which were sent prior to the conference call.
- Identify yourself each time you speak.
- Avoid talking over or interrupting other speakers. It is advisable to keep a notepad and pen handy for recording thoughts so they do not escape you as you listen to others.
- In order to maintain a professional demeanor, some comments should not be made in this public forum. Remember that your facilitator is available to discuss issues that are private or unique to you in an individual conversation.
- Take notes.