With the rush of today's world, getting a team together at the same time and place for a meeting was already laborious and costly. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become unfeasible and companies use online meetings as a first option, which with the advancement of technology, have also become simpler and more functional.


However, online meetings present unique challenges and require more discipline so focus is not lost. In addition to technological problems in the process, which can generate frustration and make it easier for participants to get distracted.


Here are some tips to make your meetings more productive:


1)   Choose the right tool and check its operation


Before convening a virtual meeting, it is necessary to define which tool will be used, taking into account the company's resources and level of reliability that the meeting requires. Today, many options are available, some that only require a good internet connection and audio and video equipment, but do not have strong information security systems and may have connection failures. Others, however, are more structured, have good protection and provide restricted access passwords to guests.

A pre-meeting check is important to confirm that participants are using the recommended tool and that connections are working.


2)   Plan the meeting in advance


As with a face-to-face meeting, planning a meeting is an essential point for its smooth progress. The first step is to have a well-planned agenda and, if possible, send it in advance by e-mail to the participants, so that they can prepare in advance.


In addition to the agenda, it is important to determine an approximate duration time, so that people can adapt their agendas without conflicting with other commitments, invite only people who really need to participate in the conversation and seek to optimize the approach to each topic, so that they do not occur. excessive delays.


3)   Delegate a facilitator to your meeting


One of the biggest challenges in online meetings is disruption. Even with the help of technologies, someone is needed to mediate the conversation, so that the participants organize themselves and do not run over the lines. Ideally, one person will lead the meeting, another will be responsible for technical support, and another will distribute the agendas and follow-up materials. Depending on the size of the meeting, a manager or one of the key stakeholders may be in charge. Otherwise, it's worth assigning someone to lead the meeting and help keep things running smoothly. If you are responsible for leading the meeting, try to ensure that participants are alternately included in the topics covered and incorporate their comments into the discussion.


A facilitator can also help if the meeting includes a question and answer session. Most meeting software also includes a chat or Q&A function that allows participants to submit written questions, which the moderator can manage or respond to later. A best practice is to repeat participants' questions before answering them, to ensure that everyone can understand the question and better track your answer.


4)   minimize distractions


Any meeting that involves remote participants has a high potential for distractions. Participants will be free to browse the web or work on other tasks. If they are in a home office, pets or children can enter the room, as well as external noises that can cause interruptions, especially for participants who may be attending the meeting in a public place. To help mitigate these challenges, encourage your remote team to use a quiet, dedicated workspace for meetings. Provide good practice guidelines before meetings, such as muting the audio when the participant is not speaking.


5)   Document your meeting and follow up


Although most software records the meeting, technological errors can occur, so you can also assign a participant to take notes on topics discussed in the virtual meeting, maintaining clarity in communication and helping participants who cannot be present or who had some problem connecting, to update later. Documenting topics and their discussions helps ensure that everyone is aligned in terms of approach, roles, responsibilities and action plans. Follow-up with participants is also recommended, to list what was defined at the meeting and the tasks to be performed.

The most important thing is to always treat an online meeting in the same way as a face-to-face meeting, with careful preparation, adequate follow-up from start to finish and respecting the agenda of the participants, considering the allotted time and communicated in advance. It is essential for the success of an online meeting that everyone feels involved and has enough time to express their doubts and opinions.

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