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Online Meetings: How You Can Help Them Run Smoothly

Laurence BogleSeptember 23, 20213 mins read
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With online meetings being so easy to organize and add people to, there’s a risk of them being called unnecessarily and wasting time. However, not everything can be conveyed in an email, so meetings are often essential. With that being said, they need to be an effective use of everyone’s time. In this blog, we’ll show you how to have better meetings.

Plan in advance

If you’re organizing an online meeting, it’s useful to know in advance what it’s going to be about, and producing and distributing an agenda listing the topics to be discussed is a good way of making sure everyone is on track. This tells your invitees what to expect and allows them to do research beforehand so they can participate more effectively and give better answers to any questions you have. In some cases, they may even be able to solve the problem in advance, meaning that part of the meeting can be removed. More streamlined meetings are better meetings!

If the meeting involves you sharing information with others, make sure you know not only what you want to pass on, but details around the topic as well so you can be sure to answer any questions. If you’re asking other people to teach you about the topic, have a list of questions you want answers to, and again, good background knowledge of the topic is ideal as well.

Someone on an online call to someone on their laptop which is on their desk with a small printer and other items looking to have better online meetings.
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Include media in your online meetings

Since you’re likely to know your agenda in advance, you can put together some slides with a summary of the points that need to be discussed. If you’re presenting, these should include pictures to add some visuals to your discussion and to keep your audience engaged by giving them something to look at while you’re talking.

Using slides will help to keep the meeting on topic and reduce the risk of attendees discussing something that only really affects them, while everyone else waits for them to finish. If this does happen, however, politely encourage them to make a note and discuss it after the call, or to call an additional online meeting with only the people the topic is relevant to.

XSplit Presenter is an excellent way to organize the media for your presentation. It allows you to put slides from places like Google and Microsoft Powerpoint, images, videos, websites, and other content together into a single place, making it easy to use during the presentation. You can also use it to manage your webcam, placing you on the screen as a part of your slide content.

A person sat in a large office area on a zoom call with a whiteboard in the background behind the large desk they are sat at looking to have better online meetings.
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Set the schedule

When you send out your meeting invitations, your calendar software will ask for a meeting duration. This isn’t just a formality – it’s important to choose an accurate time slot so that people can schedule their other meetings appropriately around yours. By extension, you also need to make sure that your meeting sticks to its schedule. If you realize partway through the meeting that you are falling behind, you can try to speed up a little bit, perhaps by discouraging discussion or by summarising some of the less important points in your notes.

Getting derailed is a common cause of an online meeting over-running, perhaps due to idle chat between attendees, unrelated discussion, or even too much relevant discussion. Don’t worry – as you get more experience running meetings, you’ll start to get a better feel for how much time to allow, and how much material you can get through in a given time.

The main takeaway from this is that running better meetings shouldn’t be too difficult. They just require some pre-planning and time management. As long as you have an agenda and stick to it, the meeting should run smoothly and on time.

Laurence BogleLaurence is a freelance content creator, specializing in photography and gaming videos. He also enjoys skiing, track days, and amdram, and is looking forward to getting back on the piste, the racetrack, and the stage when the world returns to normal.More from this Author