Online Meeting Strategies for Better Communication with the Team
Remote Work is the new norm. And at least one online meeting became our daily routine. It makes it easier to connect with people across the globe. On the other hand, when we were used to meet our colleagues directly, we definitely feel the loss.
Some also choose to work as digital nomads. This is easily possible due to services that can move with us. Like a VoIP phone system. Yet, there are new habits that are good to learn to stay as productive as before.
It is important to remain passionate when it comes to our jobs. But also to understand how digital communication doesn’t replace us with avatars. It actually demands more creativity and knowledge from us.
Online Meeting Tips
The best online meeting apps combine the elements of videoconferencing, chat, presentation or file sharing in a successful manner.
Although the basic services are pretty much the same, small features like seeing the logo of users or screen arrangements differentiate these apps.
Attractive design is one thing but communicating through that particular design is another.
We have selected few tips for organizing and running successful online meetings at the workplace. These were originally recommended by Kevin Kruse. We adopted them to the present context.
1. Seek Input From Participants Before the Meeting
Take a checklist, write it down and then congratulate yourself! Here at Lumeer we like to be optimistic about future projects and we also like to hear the voice of our employees. Seeking input from participants it’s a safe instrument, it allows you to set the background of the meeting.
- Check the opinions of the employees regarding:
- the time of the meeting,
- what is the main topic,
- what they have to prepare and
- the main decision.
Usually, one meeting should encapsulate one subject and shouldn’t take longer than 20-30 minutes. We are going to decide something, not to write a novel together.
Short but 360° view, that is the definition of an effective meeting in terms of basic business.
2. Prepare a Short Presentation with the Topic of the Meeting
If there are topics that require visualization like charts, tables or figures it is good to prepare a short presentation. So that you don’t speak like in a college class, all by yourself while the students remain clueless.
State the importance of the topic. 3 or 4 perspectives necessary for taking a decision in the end, few statistics within the company, perhaps even feedback from customers.
The presentation doesn’t have to be a work of art. Instead it has to be a work of decency, capturing the most important details so that everyone can get your point.
It is quite embarrassing to see a situation where people haven’t understood why the boss called them to a particular meeting after 10 minute long discussion.
3. Identify All the Participants and Their Roles
Decide which people can attend the meeting and their roles in taking a decision.
Many experts believe that a big number of people will decrease the chances for reaching an agreement. Mainly because all the opinions will make it harder to find the best option in a short period of time.
We don’t suggest the opposite. Inviting only 2 people at the meeting, we rather aim for equilibria. Get all the people that count and 2 or 3 outsiders with fresh perspectives who are still somehow linked to your department.
An example: the online meeting for deciding the new logo of the company.
Attendees: CEO, 2 employees from the marketing team, 2 employees from the social media team, 1 employee from the accountability team and 1 employee that is well know for his creativity.
These 7 individuals are in a relative balance for obtaining the desired outcome (a new company logo).
If time allows it, go for external ideas such as crowdsourcing for new logos. Sometimes, the quality of ideas rules over the quantity of ideas, even in business.
Or if a larger quorum is necessary, Open Decision Framework is a great tool.
4. Present the Main Topic and the Final Goal
If you made a presentation that appeals to the public, get it on the screen.
Having the presentation by your side will make you feel more confident since it supports what you’re saying. List the essential ideas, the essential statistics and the final goal of the meeting.
Don’t showcase perceived realities or inexistent numbers in order to look better on screen. It is not in the interest of the company to hide the internal affairs.
At the same time, be optimistic that the work of all the employees will increase the revenues in the near future.
5. Focus on the Decision That Should be Taken
Explain to the participants what decision or decisions should be taken. At the level of the management board we could talk about decisions like:
- the partners chosen for a future marketing campaign (the so-called Branded Content),
- the necessary investments for a new headquarters,
- the costs of hiring a new head,
- the strategies for improving the productivity of the employees,
- the costs of buying AI machines,
- the salaries,
- the costs of customized training,
- the geographical expansion of the company etc.
At the level of teams, we could talk about diverse decisions like:
- planning work to be done,
- buying new equipments for the offices,
- designing the R&D or marketing campaigns,
- using a new tool for interaction with the clients,
- analysis of the existing workflow and various templates,
- organizing a social media event etc.
More than this, clarify what that particular decision involves: the costs and the benefits.
It is in the benefit of the company and its employees to stay on the top of the competition by reaching profitable and innovative agreements.
6. Present a Voting System
The voting system for different business decisions when it comes to online meetings has to be clear and available to all the stakeholders. The participants will enter a shared link and express their opinion in a democratic manner.
Leave room for extra options, you never know when fabulous ideas can surface.
Custom forms such as Google Forms are suitable for more complex options that need to be analyzed later.
Tools like Mentimeter or Slido are suitable for daily decisions and simple elements from the (virtual) office.
Of course, the host of the online meeting can always use the classical “Those in favor, raise your hand” approach. It is fine as long as input of participants is taken into consideration.
7. Provide Link to Vote after the Meeting
Online meetings depend on the state of the internet connection. Unlike physical meetings where employees must be present, the online meetings could bring some unexpected surprises (e.g. discussing the new logo design and losing the head of design in the middle of the meeting because of a bad connection).
Stress no more! You can prepare a link to the voting system and options for those that lost the connection alongside with the presentation of the topic. People that get out of the meeting can access the links and then vote.
Inclusivity is a lesson we all have to learn in a company. Skills that are not used get lost and we don’t want this to happen.
8. Ask for Feedback
A better communication demands feedback. The feedback is at the core of inclusivity, diversity and growth mindset inside of a company. In other words, openness for both a usual and an extraordinary perspectives.
The input of the participants before the online meeting ends with their feedback regarding the actual meeting, closing the circle.
If you were a manager or a head of some team, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback:
- What was good and bad at the meeting?
- What the team should do in the near future?
- How clients can benefit from certain decisions?
- Where messages can be send?
- What workflows can be used further? etc.
If you are part of the team, don’t be afraid to give feedback. From a general advice to a possible plan that can attract possible customers.
A personal example regarding the power of feedback. I was asked to develop a plan for the articles for this Lumeer Blog with my personal views and suggestions. Knowing that I can be creative in the plan, made me work with more passion than before. A feedback is a motivation engine. The next great idea could rise from waves of feedback.
9. Thank the Participants for Their Involvement
Without unified teams, companies struggle to keep their heads up. The same thing goes for the online meetings. Whether you remain with all the participants or with just a few of them, thank for the involvement. Their involvement and their skills built the environment for success.
Appreciating this kind of participation seems a small detail, especially in large companies, but it is vital.
There is a saying: “In big businesses, appreciation is in money, in small businesses, appreciation is in words!”.
Both financial and mental incentives are part of the business cycle. Creating the culture of recognition for the work people have done is difficult to achieve in crisis times. But pays off when employees bring profit through the products and services they create.
Plan Your Next Online Meeting
Online meetings are in fashion today. But there are times when physical meetings are required.
Here at Lumeer, we believe that keeping the best of both of the worlds is the key to have more cohesion inside the team.
From a wider perspective, online meetings should not be a punishment. They have to be the opposite – an opportunity to build synergies around great ideas, emotions, individualities. An opportunity to build energy that sustains the business.
Create your online meeting plan and voting system in Lumeer today!