So, you’ve taken the plunge and invested in either an online meeting product for your business, or maybe even a fully-featured UCaaS solution like CallSwitch. You’ve given your team a great opportunity to maximise collaboration while working either remotely, or more likely, in a hybrid work environment.
But having the right technology in place is just the start. Now, you need to build a best practice to ensure you get the most out of your collaboration, so we’ve compiled a list of ways we believe can help maximise the value you get from your new collaboration software.
In part 1 of our blog, we provide 5 tips related to preparing for your remote meetings.
1. Know your platform
This may sound obvious, but meetings can never be productive if a participant doesn’t know how to use the collaboration software. If you’re looking to set up a remote meeting for the first time, get to know how to send out your invites, how to set permissions for participants, make sure you know where your camera and microphone are, and how to utilise all the system functionality at your disposal. Most providers will have ample user guides or training available.
Good examples of productivity boosting features include file sharing or instant chat that can be used by participants during a call or video meeting to collaborate on live files, ask questions, or even ensure that breakout conversations can take place without disrupting the wider meeting.
Most remote meeting tools are designed to work primarily over internet connections. But what happens if someone has no internet access or doesn’t have the necessary software? It’s important to give the option for participants to listen to the meeting and talk over the phone, so we suggest including a dial-in option.
2. Check your connection
Assuming you have chosen an effective online solution to run your meetings, the main issue that many remote workers face is ensuring a strong and stable internet connection. If you plan to work from home regularly, make sure your internet connection meets your requirements, and maybe try some test runs before any important meetings.
There’s always, always a chance that the Wi-Fi where you’re located for the meeting will fail right before your meeting starts. However, most smartphones have the ability to turn into mobile hotspots, so make sure you keep one handy to use 4G or 5G connectivity for your meeting if needed. This may add to your data usage and cost you extra depending on your contract, so do check this in advance of turning on your hotspot.
3. Find a suitable location
Be mindful of where you are and what’s going on in the background. Certain rooms in your home or office are likely to be noisier than others. Near the office coffee machine or in an open plan office may cause issues.
You should also consider the background you’re presenting to other meeting participants. Firstly, don’t sit with your back to a window as the camera will pick up your silhouette and not show your face properly, but also try to keep distracting features out of shot.
If you are unable to completely avoid background noise, perhaps mute your microphone while others are presenting, and only turn it on when necessary. Equally, it is often a good idea to turn off your computer sounds and notifications, especially if you’re sharing your screen with the group. It’s often distracting for meeting attendees to hear notification alerts or see screen popups repeatedly through the call.
4. Set an agenda in advance
Many meetings, both in-person and remote, fail to reach their objective because an agenda was not properly created or distributed to attendees, with time allotted for the various items. If there will be brainstorming in the meeting, make sure attendees are aware to prepare their thoughts. This allows the meeting to be more focussed, and time maximised for problem solving and future planning.
Make sure your agenda is distributed in good time to all attendees, and ideally this can be sent out via your office solution in email, but make sure you check in advance how your online meeting solution handles invites, as there may be alternative methods.
5. Establish your meeting etiquette
You should offer guidelines in advance to help your meeting flow more smoothly, such as whether you expect microphones to be muted until each attendee’s turn to speak, whether questions to presenters should be submitted via the meeting chat, or whether attendees should be prepared to share screens. These will often be guidelines that employees learn over time, but initially, it helps to set rules.
We hope you’ve found the first part of this blog useful – check out part 2 here.