Online conference calls have become an essential part, if not an absolute necessity in business teams working together. We’re fortunate enough to live in a time where companies can attract talent from all over the world without having to uproot them from their current living situations.
Are you trying to push for more remote work balance at your current job? To do so, you need to be able to demonstrate that teams can be just as effective when working remotely as they do in the office. Let’s be honest, it’s great to have that occasional work-from-home day. Try some of these tactics when organizing your next conference call to demonstrate the effectiveness of remote meetings.
Does your company have offices located in different parts of the United States? Or even the world? If you’re struggling to have impactful meetings with these different office locations, try some of the tactics below.
1. Get the Agenda out Ahead of Time
If you take away anything from this article, I
think this is hands-down the most important point. Providing the meeting
agenda, with estimated time frames along with the invitation can work wonders
for your meeting efficiency.
It gives the attendees an idea of what your goals are for the meeting and allows them plenty of time to prepare as well. If you are inviting higher-ups to the meeting this also provides them a snapshot of what to expect and makes you look very prepared and respectful of their time.
This also eliminates the risk of Bob’s story about an awkward elevator encounter taking up the first half of your meeting.
2. Designate Roles
This is a great way to make sure that all of the attendees stay engaged. We’ll look at another way to do this as well, but designating roles, especially including post-meeting deliverables will keep everyone focused. Some possible roles to include are:
- Leader: This person’s job is to set up the meeting, develop the agenda and guide everyone through the meeting.
- Recorder(s): This person’s job is to take and keep track of notes during the meeting. It’s most effective when you have multiple recorders as more likely than not, people can miss important points.
- Timekeeper: It’s not an easy job making sure the meeting stays on track, but somebody has to do it. This is also why it is important to estimate time slots for each point on your meeting agenda.
- Participants: These are the other attendees on your call, but this ultimately falls back on the leader to make sure all the participants remain engaged. You can do this by asking direct questions or asking for feedback from certain individuals. **Note that both the recorder and timekeeper should be viewed as participants as well.
3. Start with Some Kudo’s
While this can seem minuscule, a great way to start off a meeting is to open it up with positivity. For example, as the leader, you can start off by recognizing an individual or team for a job well done, or something positive that you noticed. Then, open up the room to do so as well, but be sure to confine this to an applicable time-frame.
4. Computers Have Webcams, Use Them
Chances are if your business is using online conference calling then your employees have computers with webcams built-in. Requiring that all attendees turn their webcams on for meetings not only instills that in-person conference room feel but also makes attendees feel obligated to at least “look engaged.” This is great for all remote and semi-remote teams alike. Another huge benefit from this is that you can see people’s facial expressions, and get a sense of when someone is about to say something. There is nothing worse than everyone tripping up on each other because they’re trying to talk at the same time.
5. Utilize Meeting Tools
Online conference calling has come a long way in terms of functionalities and add-ons. Finding some useful tools that your team can use to collaborate, will elevate your calls to the next level. What’s one thing that’s missing from the online conference room that can be found in the office? You guessed it, whiteboards! These are a few tools that you can add to your online conference calls:
- ExplainEverything: An interactive whiteboard that allows you to interact with designs, documents, and drawings.
- RealtimeBoard: This is just like being in the conference room with a whiteboard. RealtimeBoard generates a link that you can send out during your meeting so everyone can collaborate on the same board.
- LiveBoard: It’s free, you can interact with an unlimited number of participants, and you can save multiple iterations of the whiteboard. What more could you ask for?
Whether your team is fully or partially remote, or you’re hoping to create a more remote work culture, it’s crucial that your team stays engaged during online/remote meetings so that you can continue to achieve those great results. By establishing some new meeting protocols and leveraging some new tools, you can quickly become the person who holds the meetings that nobody dreads!