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Online meetings – our tips to make it work

Online meetings are now becoming the norm as everyone works from home. It can be a challenge to hold effective online meetings for several reasons; from connectivity problems to etiquette issues!  People can’t talk over each other, there can be slight communication delays and the ‘eye contact which is not really eye contact’ feeling takes a bit of getting used to. If you now find yourself hosting an online meeting for the first time our tips below should help you keep everything on track. There are some major faux pas to be avoided, such as turning yourself into a potato and being unable to turn back like this manager. Really, there is nothing to be scared of as most platforms are easy to use even with the most basic equipment.

Our recommended platform is Microsoft Teams, its integration with the standard Microsoft products brings great functionality (such as sharing and editing files together in real time) and they’ve got your back covered with security & privacy measures.

The tips below will help with any platform:

· Avoid wasting time by having a practice run before your first meeting. This will allow you to iron out any problems with connections, sound, camera etc.

· Circulate instructions on how to create and join a meeting – again a practice run would be useful for everyone.

· Agendas help any meeting stay on track but are particularly important for online meetings. You can highlight who will lead on each issue, which points require decisions, which are information sharing and which are for discussion only.

· Time caps – setting a time limit for your meeting can help everyone stay focused. You can set time caps for each agenda item.

· Online meeting etiquette – it can be useful to circulate tips such as:  keep body movements to a minimum, look at the camera, don’t interrupt other speakers, don’t work on other tasks, turn off notifications and make sure your phone is on silent

· Use signals -People talking over each other or starting to talk at the same time will lead to a headache for everyone involved. Microsoft Teams is developing a virtual raised hand to help with this.  In the meantime, it is useful to have some kind of signalling for people to use if they have a contribution to make. Some companies just use a literal raised hand whereas others use different methods such as holding up cards.

Running meetings with your team in different locations can be challenging but if you prepare well and put your technology to work you may even find they are more efficient than normal!

We have helped many of our SME IT Support customers in Glasgow and Edinburgh to get set up with remote working and communication solutions. If you need advice on which communication platform is the best fit for your business then contact us today.

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