Online meetings and webinars have been around for many years. However, not too many people had to organise and/or host an online meeting themselves, until COVID-19 showed up.
To help you host the ‘perfect’ online meeting, we’ve gathered the best tips and tricks here. In this first blog, we’ll cover the preparations. We start off with the checklists below to help you prepare. Click on the image for a readable version of a checklist.
Before starting the meeting/webinar
- Resend the meeting invites an hour before the session as a reminder with clear instructions how to start the meeting/webinar.
- Start and test equipment and load all software tools well in advance.
- If you are a presenter, run through any presentations (again) to make sure the right version will run smoothly on the computer.
- Start your meeting/webinar tool 5 to 15 minutes before the official start time to allow people to join and help participants that have difficulty to join in time as well.
- Have a welcome screen ready with some information. Use the waiting time effectively and use it to create the right atmosphere.
If there are many agenda topics, break up the meeting in multiple shorter sessions with their own objectives
Tips for hosting an online meeting for a small group
- Roll call: before starting the meeting make sure that everyone that confirmed their attendance is present.
- At this point test if everyone can be heard clearly. If there are any loud background noises or echos, try and solve these before you continue.
- If you record the session, make sure you let the participants know.
- Reiterate the objective of the online meeting and if there’s an agenda, show it on the screen so everyone is aware of what will be discussed and how much time is allocated.
- As the host, you need to manage the meeting and make sure that everyone has their say. Go round the ‘table’ if needed to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to ask questions or make a point.
- Regularly keep an eye on the participant list/video cams to make sure that nobody has ‘fallen off’. If you are also a presenter, it is better to ask someone else to keep an eye on the list.
- If there are many agenda topics, break up the meeting in multiple shorter sessions with their own objectives.
- Make your online meeting interactive by using collaboration tools, such as a virtual whiteboard or Google Sheet to work simultaneously.
- If there are actions following from the meeting, ask someone to keep track of those as you go and present them at the end of the online meeting.
Virtual whiteboards and Google Sheets are tools that encourage collaboration and let you gather all information and/or notes online in one place. Some of the best virtual whiteboards are Miro, Stormboard, Limnu and AWW.
Stay tuned, because in the next blog we’ll share more tips for hosting the perfect online presentation.
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