Proudly in partnership with our friends at Microsoft
Here’s our guide to nailing your team meetings online …
Don’t cut the small talk
In person meetings are often when great rapport and culture is built between teams, and now more than ever, a healthy, engaged team is what you need. Just because your meetings are now online, doesn’t mean you should cut the casual conversation. A few minutes of small talk to begin is an essential part of a great meeting and healthy team (and lots of our sanity too!).
If you’re meeting with a few people, chat about what you go up to (at home) over the weekend. If you’re meeting with a larger team, do a ‘one-word check-in’ – where each person shares one word to indicate how they’re feeling right now. Or ask people to share one thing they’re grateful for in that moment.
Simply making time for small talk will play a big part in setting up an effective meeting that flows.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, AGENDAS!
How many times have you said before – ‘no more meetings without an agenda’, yet, agenda-less meetings still go ahead. This is the time to stick to your word – no one right now can afford to be wasting hours in online meetings that could have been an email or quick group chat. It doesn’t have to be difficult but setting a clear agenda and making sure everyone is informed of it beforehand, will not only save you time, but keep you focussed on outputs. Simply outline:
- Key talking points
- A loose structure (or tight, if it’s necessary)
- Who needs to dial in and anything they need to have ready for the meeting
- Relevant documents, files or pre-reading
- The link or relevant info to join the meeting (how many times have you heard; ‘I can’t find the right link!’)
Send it along with your meeting invite and boom, you’re ready to go!
Choose the right tool for the job
There is a lot of choice when it comes to technology for hosting your online meetings – the challenge is choosing the right one for you.
Do you need to share your screen to deliver a presentation? Do you need to see everyone’s faces during a brainstorm? Do you need to be able to work on a document collaboratively during the meeting? Do you need to bring 20 or more people together for a weekly check-in?
Microsoft Teams lets you do all that and serves as your hub for teamwork. Collaborate without compromising privacy and security with users able to access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real time, as well as stay in touch from anywhere through voice, video and chat. Check out Microsoft’s Remote Worker Checklist to stay productive!
Outline meeting etiquette
Create some basic ‘rules’ for people to follow to make your online meetings as smooth as possible. We’ve all been on a call where one person doesn’t mute and you can hear their dog, their typing and the garbage truck drone on in the background.
Once you create your meeting etiquette, make sure you distribute to your team and you’ll all be thanking each other later. Our ‘rules’ include:
- Come to the meeting prepared, having read the agenda
- Start the meeting with a ‘one-word check-in’
- Mute yourself if you’re not talking
- Don’t work on other tasks, like that tempting inbox (or Instagram feed!) while you’re logged in to a meeting
- Have one person designated to taking minutes, who will follow up with an email listing out any actions and deliverables required
Another thing to note is to make sure you indicate whether it’s a video call or just a voice call before the meeting – because there’s nothing worse than thinking it’s a voice call, staying in your pjs, and then logging on and realising everyone else has their video on. Awks.
The art of the follow-up
A successful meeting is one where everyone leaves with a clear objective. At the end of your meeting everyone should know:
- Any decisions made
- Actions required and who is responsible for them and by what due date
- When the next meeting or check-in will be
Make it someone’s job to send a quick email after the call outlining the above and voila, you’re on your way.
These simple tips will keep you on track and make sure your online meetings – whether for two or for 20 – are that much smoother. We also suggest coffee and good snacks too!