Ever-improving web cameras and video chatting apps mean that coworkers, clients, and teammates from around the globe are only a screen away. But even though video conferencing has been around for almost two decades, few companies are doing it effectively. Promevo highly recommends using the Google Hangouts Meet system to facilitate your meetings because it gets rid of the tech troubles that traditional web camera systems have. However, these tips are applicable to any video meeting scenario, whether you have a dedicated conference room or are joining in from a laptop at home. Follow these 8 tips to make sure people will want to come to your next virtual meeting.
Before Your Virtual Meeting
With the Hangouts Meets kit, this is easy. Simply make sure you have everything plugged in and booted up. With any other video camera or speaker, we’d recommend trying everything out at least 15 to 20 minutes before your meeting is scheduled to begin. Make sure your lighting looks natural on the screen and that the camera angle shows your full face(if you are meeting as individuals) or your entire group (if you are conferencing as a team). You might need to huddle towards one end of the table to get everyone in the shot, depending on how many people you have. Then, double check that your speaker and microphone system are working, and if you are getting echoes and feedback from your microphone. If you are in a room with a group, check to see if everyone can hear your system’s speaker.
During Your Virtual Meeting
#4 Turn Your Video On!
It might seem obvious, but make sure you are using your video camera if you are having a virtual meeting. Voice-only calls mean everyone misses out on each other’s body language and facial expressions. Noticing these things can reduce misinterpretations that might fester into conflicts.
Would you check Facebook during an in-person meeting? Probably not, so give the same attention to your virtual meeting. This should be a time with limited distractions, so keep your phone on silent, turn off pop-up notifications for your email, and don’t get up or walk around.
While your agenda might have expected discussion times, it can be hard to tell a coworker that they’ve gone off-topic. A less awkward way of doing this is by establishing a Parking Lot system at the beginning of a meeting. Tell everyone that you want to keep the meeting on track, but don’t want to discourage creativity. If someone is getting off topic, you can say, “That’s an interesting idea, but let’s put that in the parking lot for now”. Then add the person’s name and what they were talking about to a designated shared document. At the end of your meeting, ask if items in the parking lot need to be revisited.
An easy way of doing this is through polls and pulse checks. You can use Google Forms to quickly and anonymously get everyone’s opinion, which can help spark more discussion. But if your meeting has come to a standstill, you might want to run a quick pulse check to see if people are on board with what you’ve discussed. If the results are significantly different from how you thought people were feeling, ask for someone to talk about why they are feeling this way, or why someone might feel this way. This should prevent a rehashing what you thought was a done deal at a future meeting.
At The End of Your Virtual Meeting
Virtual meetings can be useful for connecting teams, but they need some preparation to be effective. The Google Hangouts Meet kit can make it effortless to run and document your meetings, and with these tips, you’ll never hear “Couldn’t this have been an email?” again.
Promevo can help your school, business, or organization achieve all of your technology goals. As a Google Premier Partner, we can outfit you with the best Chromebooks for your needs, supply you with G Suite licenses, and provide extended support, so you’ll get the most out of your Chrome devices!