In today’s digital age, more and more people from all over the world work together. It is expected that by 2020, 50% of today’s workforce will work remotely.
While it’s great in many aspects, the one thing that’s not improved by this is communication. With different time zones, network signals, bandwidth issues and the lack of visual cues, it can be a really daunting task to hold a teleconference or virtual meeting.
You may be really good at running effective in-person meetings but when it comes to holding a teleconference meeting, it’s be a different story altogether. So, if you want to hold a virtual meeting that is both smooth and productive, here are a few things that will help you achieve that:
1- Come prepared:
Take the time to prepare a document that clarifies the meeting agenda concisely and share it with all the participants via email or Skype well before the meeting. Also state clear guidelines that should be followed during the meeting like on-hold rules (nobody wants to hear your on-hold music if they can help it), talking over each other and noise reduction etc. All of this is to make sure that the meeting doesn’t take longer than necessary to accomplish the task at hand.
2- Log in Early:
While it’s good to arrive early in in-person meetings, it is crucial in case of virtual meetings. You never know the kind of technical issues you might face when logging in to the network you are using to hold your teleconference meeting. I recommend at least a 15 minute early log in so that you can start the meeting on time.
3- Ask Everyone to Introduce Themselves:
When starting a conference call, introduce yourself by name and ask other participants to do the same as well. This will help avoiding confusion over who’s speaking as it will be easier to place the voice with a name.
4- One Person at a Time:
It is annoying when people talk over each other in in-person meetings but over teleconference meeting, it can be detrimental to the meeting agenda. People will not be able to understand anything that is being said. So, make sure that only one participant is speaking at a time to avoid confusion.
5- Speak Clearly:
Don’t get so enthusiastic that your words merge into each other. It’s crucial that you speak slower than you usually do and pay attention to each and every syllable so that your words sound clear and everybody understands what you are saying.
6- Don’t Prolong the Meeting:
You should keep a checklist in front of you about the points that need to be discussed and check mark each item once completed. This will save up a lot of time that you would have spent otherwise remembering the key points. Don’t go into unnecessary details and keep the meeting short and to-the-point so that no one loses interest.
7- Record the Call:
Many call hosting services let you record the call. Taking advantage of that feature will go a long way in making your teleconference meetings more productive. You will have proof of what ideas were discussed in the meeting in case someone forgets and it will also be good for someone who could not participate in the meeting. You should inform the participants at the start of the meeting that the call is being recorded so that no one feels violated.
Sticking to these guidelines will ensure that your virtual meetings are as effective as they can be. In order to make the scheduling of these teleconferences the least time consuming we would advice you to use a meeting scheduling software like Plann3r to invite all participants.
Plann3r will find the ideal moment to set up your teleconferences and is specifically well suited for group meetings where the participants are located in different time zones.