Tips for Organizing a Successful Online Meeting

Team meetings are a good way to coordinate with your co-workers and get an overview of the short-term strategy. Nowadays more and more people are working in front of their homes, either because they are freelancers, or simply live too far away from the office. So it’s becoming increasingly more common to have team meetings online using either zoom, google meet, or other apps that support conference calls. 

Online meetings are undoubtedly different from meetings in person, and it is often the case that there are more people present during these online meetings. This makes it a bit difficult to stay on track or ensure that the meeting itself is successful. So, let’s go over a few steps or tips that can help you organize online meetings. 

Make Sure Everyone Has Confirmed Their Attendance   

The first thing you need to do is make sure everyone is going to be present. So, send you the invitations in advance, and if someone hasn’t replied do follow-ups with them. Also if someone replied with maybe, check if they know whether they will attend or not. It’s always going to be difficult to coordinate a meeting with over 10 people, especially if there is a time zone difference between the participants. 

Therefore, make sure you know who are the key players who need to be present, and if it’s impossible to accommodate everyone’s time schedule, limit the meeting to a fewer number of important people. In general, there should be a consensus on what would be an ideal time for an online team meeting. So, if you all agreed on it everyone should do their best to show up. 

Managing the Meeting

It’s also important to lay down some ground rules. The first one should be that whoever is not speaking should have their mic muted. Obviously, it will be hard to maintain this as the meeting progresses and more and more people will unmute when they wish to speak, but it’s important for a meeting to have a structure to minimize this. 

So you will have to lead and decide who should speak at certain times to ensure more fluent communication. To that end, it would be useful to create a meeting agenda before your online gathering and distribute it to the participants. Then you can go with what’s the first thing on the agenda and give the word to whoever is responsible for providing an update. Typically these conference apps have a chat, so you should ask participants to type if they have any questions, and then give word to each of them one by one.  

Since there are a lot of topics at a big gathering, it would be wise to take meeting minutes. That way you can always record what was said, and you’ll know where to continue for the next week. 

Handling Potential Problems 

It’s unlikely that every meeting will go smoothly and according to the meeting agenda. One thing that might happen is that two or more participants start to focus heavily on one topic and there is lots of back and forth, which ends up hijacking the meeting and things start to go behind schedule. If this starts to happen, you will need to interrupt and say we need a separate discussion for this, let’s coordinate for a different time slot or continue right after the current meeting.  It’s your job to ensure all of the items on the agenda are covered within the specified time frame.