Times Of Uncertainty Requires Change

Some of you may have already seen Executive Coach Marilyn Brown’s outstanding tips for conducting meetings virtually, but they are worth sharing again. We hope you find them helpful!

Not everyone understands the basic etiquette of on-line meetings – so here are some guidelines that you can use with your teams to ensure a more effective meeting.

For the Meeting Facilitator/Sponsor:

  • Create a clear Agenda prior to the meeting – send it out to the other participants at least 24 hours
  • Make sure the Agenda includes the call in number and link for the meeting
  • Ask everyone who has video to please turn their camera
  • In some cases, voice over IP creates static and background noise. It might be better if people call in on the dial in number vs voice over IP (especially for large groups)
  • Identify a clear objective/outcome for the meeting – What do you want to accomplish as a result of the meeting? Make sure you state this at the top of the agenda and then again at the beginning of the meeting. This way if people have been invited who do not need to be present, they can decline the invite or drop off the call
  • Start the virtual meeting 5 minutes prior to the start time to make sure that you are ready to go and your technology and call in number work. Test all technology (including camera/video, Wi-Fi, and screen sharing) before the meeting
  • Conduct a roll call and make sure the critical attendees are present. (if the call is looking for a decision to be made, and the decision maker is not in attendance, it is probably a waste of time to go forward with the meeting)
  • Ask everyone to introduce themselves (another way of taking roll call)

Because of the stressful times we are in, take a few minutes to check on how the group is doing, how they are feeling. Maybe ask for suggestions on what they have already observed with virtual meetings and how they think virtual meetings can be more impactful.

  • If sharing a document, make sure it is up on your screen and easily viewed.
  • Set some rules for a respectful meeting up front
  • No talking over one another
  • Don’t interrupt other people when they’re speaking (or attempt to speak over them). If this happens – call people on the behavior immediately!
  • Let each person have their time to speak
  • Remind the extroverts that they need to let the introverts complete their thought.
  • Remind the introverts that they need to Speak UP!
  • Don’t stare at your phone while other people are presenting
  • Don’t eat (unless you can do it discreetly)
  • Don’t work on other tasks (like checking email) during the virtual meeting
  • Turn off all notifications and make sure your cell phone is on silent, put your mute button on so people cannot hear distracting background noise
  • Make sure all team members are in a quiet area free from unnecessary distractions
  • If you have part of the group in a conference room and part on the phone – controlling the conversation is more difficult to do – better for everyone to take the call from their individual workstations (also a better strategy right now)

For Participants:

  • If sent a meeting request – either accept the invite or decline with a reason. This way the facilitator does not wait for you to show up to the meeting!
  • Read the agenda and identify what you need to do, have, or bring to be able to contribute and be most effective. Don’t show up for meetings un-prepared!
  • Do not talk over others or feel that your contribution or suggestion is more important than others. Let others complete their thoughts before you jump in.
  • If extr0verted – quiet down, if introverted – speak up!
  • Dial into the call 5 minutes early and make sure you can connect.
  • Put all other devices on mute, turn off IM, eliminate distracting background noise
  • Don’t multi-task – stay engaged and the meetings will go faster and be more productive.

When in doubt, just practice common courtesy. People want to be heard, seen, and respected during an online meeting—just like they do everywhere else.

Following these tips will ensure the success of the meeting!