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Tips to Help with Your Next Online Meeting

by Olufisayo
Online Meeting

Since the coronavirus pandemic shocked the world earlier this year, companies and corporations the world over have had to change the way they conduct day to day operations in order to comply with lockdowns occurring in most countries.

With the bulk of the professional workforce now working remotely from their own home, online meetings and conference call technology has seen a huge jump in popularity.

With no end to the pandemic insight and face to face meetings still, a while away, it is important that you have at least a decent knowledge of online meetings. In an effort to help you in this regard, below we have provided a few tips to help you with your next online meeting.

Plan in advance

Preparing for your meeting has always been a good idea, even before we moved strictly into the online world, however, it is much easier to get distracted and sidetracked during a video conference call than it is in a physical meeting. As such, be sure to plan ahead effectively to prevent any confusion or overly drawn-out meetings.

The best way to plan ahead for these online meetings, as old fashioned as it may seem, is to create an agenda that you can share with other participants. This agenda can be time-sensitive or not, but it is important that you at least include the following.

       
  • The reason for the meeting
  • The topics you wish to cover
  • The overall result you hope to achieve

Check your internet connection

Your internet is arguably the most important aspect you need to test before attending an online meeting. Without it you will have trouble both hearing others and broadcasting yourself, rendering the meeting essentially pointless. Be sure to check your internet speed well in advance and, if possible, use a hardwired ethernet connection.

If a direct connection is not available, try to at least have a line of sight with your router as this will provide the best possible connection. If you have other people living in the same house as you, it may also be worth asking them to avoid streaming or downloading anything while you are in your meeting to prevent dropouts caused by a strained connection.

Test your A/V capabilities

Next up you will need to test your camera and audio capabilities. Most laptops and many computers nowadays come with a built-in camera which is more than good enough to use for any online conference call, the speakers and microphone, however, are a different story.

While practically all modern laptops include built-in speakers and a microphone, we do not recommend using them for a meeting. Instead, try to get hold of an external mic and a pair of headphones, even something like a pair of phone headphones will do providing they have a mic attached.

The reason for this is because a built-in mic can easily pick up ambient sounds in the background like other people talking and even the fans of your laptop, using an external mic provides a much clearer sound for anything on the receiving end.

       

The headphones are also important for similar reasons, if you have the sound playing out of your speakers, chances are that your microphone will pick them up and feed an echo back for anyone else in the meeting to hear. Headphones mean the sound goes directly to you, so you no longer have to worry about being the annoying guy or girl with an echoing microphone.

Use the technology available to you

While virtual meetings can seem like a step backward from their face to face, physical counterparts, thanks to modern technology there are plenty of tools to help make them a viable option and in some ways, they are even more efficient.

For example, if you have sensitive information on show that you would rather hide from anyone in the meeting, or even if you just have a messy room you want to keep away from prying eyes, zoom video backgrounds can be used to effortlessly obscure anything behind you without the need to put up a physical barrier or green screen.

Other useful tools also include screen sharing which allows you to easily and efficiently share information and virtual whiteboards which function just like physical ones with the added bonus that you can pick and choose who is able to edit them.

Use the power of the host

If you are using an application like Zoom to host a meeting, you will have access to power that makes you the perfect choice to be a mediator for the meeting itself. This means that you can hide certain members’ cameras if need be as well as mute and unmute them at will.

       

This can and should be used to prevent distractions that could be caused by people forgetting to mute themselves or shut off their cameras. Ideally, you want each member to mute themselves whenever they are not speaking, but especially with inexperienced meeting participants, this can be hard to remember.

Overall this will allow you to take control of the meeting and keep things moving forward smoothly and efficiently to avoid the meeting going on for too long.

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