Everyone has experienced this: You attend a video meeting, webinar, training session or conference, and it starts off well but it quickly breaks down. There's no agenda, the host pauses frequently, the technology lets you down, and there's little-to-no cooperation between parties. Everybody leaves with very little achieved, and you feel annoyed at the lack of organization and the waste of time.
Despite the number of unsuccessful video meetings you've attended, a successful one is easy to achieve with a little preparation - here's how to run a video meeting like a pro.
Have Your Agenda Ready
It's crucial to carefully plan your meeting. Every attendee should have a copy of the final agenda so that they have time to prepare. To prevent their attention from wandering during the meeting, break the content up into short chunks and create detailed mini agendas for each segment. You can open up the floor to questions and informal discussion or general attendee participation between segments to keep everyone energized and engaged. You don't have to stick to the agenda completely, but use it as a guideline to get as much accomplished as possible during the meeting.
Use Your Technology
If you're running a video meeting, you've got to have a firm grasp of the technology you're using. Firstly, get everyone in the right time and place with the right documentation in their hands by sending out comprehensive emails with all the paperwork, agendas and joining instructions your guests need. Make sure your internet connection is stable. If in doubt, use a wired connection rather than wireless, as it's more reliable and generally faster.
Whether you're using a slide-sharing program, sharing your screen, incorporating instant messaging or just doing a straightforward audio conference, you need to practice before you launch into the real deal. Get comfortable with all the technology, software and programs you'll be using to conduct your meeting. Find your way around all the platform's elements, learning their capabilities and quirks so there'll be no embarrassing and time-consuming surprises or bloopers on the day of the meeting.
Prep Your Participants
So many people are used to just showing up at an appointed time, giving the meeting half of their attention, then rushing out the door to the next meeting. But if you get them engaged and invested before they join your video meeting, you'll have attentive attendees. When you send out your agendas, ask participants to email you any questions they particularly want answered, anything they'd like to see added to the agenda and any comments they may have. Alternatively, ask them to prepare a set of questions or a statement to be read, answered or discussed at the event.
Encourage Participant Focus
Along with breaking the meeting up into manageable chunks, you'll need a few other tricks up your sleeve to keep people awake, focused and attentive. When you're planning your event, try to inject some kind of interactive activity roughly every 10 to 15 minutes. If they go any longer than that without a change of pace, attendees can start to lose focus.
It can also be a major distraction if too many people are talking at once. Many video meeting programs permit you to mute participants. You can use this function as needed to keep the meeting flowing. One possible setup is to have an open discussion at the beginning and end of each meeting. During the main segment, use the mute button as necessary. You may want to disable chat features too if they prove to be a distraction during the meeting.
A Safe Collaborative Space
Your participants should trust you and each other. You want to create a welcoming environment where attendees feel they can ask for help, raise concerns, and talk and collaborate with one another. You can encourage and foster relationships by setting small group activities that encourage people to engage with one another. This is particularly useful if you're creating an ongoing virtual team that will need to meet and communicate regularly.
Keep meetings secure by using features like password protection. Ask participants not to share meeting links or passwords. For transparency purposes, you may want to use the recording function and share the meeting file with all those who attended.
To learn more about video conferencing solutions, reach out to CallTower today at the link below: