Many companies today function under the conditions of dispersal – people travel and work remotely or from home – but that doesn’t mean you can’t hold a meeting. Thankfully, we have technology that simplifies instant communication from multiple locations.
Though this technology makes communication over long distances easier than ever, it’s still not the same as meeting in person. It’s important to retain the same level of professionalism in a digital meeting as a traditional one, but that requires a little preparation and a few pre-defined standards.
- Use a Reliable Shared Meeting Platform
This is probably the most important aspect of running a smooth meeting. You can’t hope to keep everyone on the same page, and avoid major glitches, if you aren’t using a trustworthy platform.
There are many options available, but ultimately, you want a service with mobile phone and video services that are accessible from anywhere. An industry favorite for this capability is Dialpad. It offers voice and video, simple messaging, and a shared meeting platform that connects through the cloud. With a reliable internet connection, participants can easily stay connected.
- Expect Normal Meeting Protocol
Your video meeting will have some key differences, but it will largely operate the same way a traditional meeting would. You’ll start the meeting on time, use polite communication techniques, and allow participation when appropriate.
Set clear expectations before the meeting begins. You don’t want inattentive or impolite behavior from participants just because they aren’t sitting around a board room table. Here are some suggested requirements:
- Ask everyone in attendance to silence cell phones.
- Provide instructions before the meeting begins on how to enter the meeting and participate without talking over others.
- Encourage the use of voice-free resources like the chat box to minimize confusion.
- Require participants be granted permission before they speak.
These rules aren’t much different from a typical meeting, and they’ll ensure everything goes smoothly.
- Test Your Program Ahead of Time
Technology seems to follow Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. You can prevent the hiccups that make meetings unproductive and slow by testing everything beforehand.
Launch a practice session several hours before your meeting begins. Ask another participant to join the session and test various functions. If you’re unable to connect properly or the program is malfunctioning, this test run should give you enough time to find a different platform.
- Ask For Visual Content in Advance
Another part of getting your meeting ready to go and easing the process is pre-uploading any visuals or presentations. Sometimes, uploaded material doesn’t function properly, and you often need some time to get the details worked out. If you require that participants pre-upload their content, or send it to the meeting organizer several hours before the meeting, you can work out any hiccups with your shared media files in advance.
- Work From a Reliable Internet Connection
Participants in different locations may have a weak home internet connection or they may be relying on data while traveling. These weak signals can create problems for online meetings, so it’s best to encourage participants to find a strong connection.
At the very least, the meeting organizer should have a strong connection. That way, there will be a steady presence to keep the meeting moving, even if others go in and out with their connection.
Video conferences and meetings will be a huge part of future communications in business. Technology will advance to make the process smoother and more reliable, but you can make a difference now and usher in this futuristic meeting style by facilitating some of these basic, yet advantageous steps.