This guide provides hints and tips on how to run a successful online meeting. Regardless of the online platform you use, there are things that help to run a smooth and engaging meeting remotely.
Before the meeting
A week prior to the meeting send an email with the basics, including:
- Information on using the online platform which should include:
- How to connect to the meeting (including a link if appropriate)
- How to find the chat function
- How to mute and un-mute microphones
- How to turn on and off video cameras
- The Agenda and all supporting materials (e.g. see How to write an agenda for online meetings)
Gather information around who is there and what their priorities are. Call the participants and ask:
- Have any agenda items
- What they hope to get out of the meeting
- What they think is priority in the meeting
- Any additional thoughts they have
- Would they like to test run using the online platform before the meeting
Write all your notes up from the conversations ready for the meeting. This will be used to ensure no one’s ideas and opinions get missed.
Organise a team member to co-ordinate the technology. Ensure they understand how they can manage people who are struggling to login, can’t un-mute themselves, or can’t seem to get their camera working. They will also be helpful to watch the chat function and notify you of anything in particular that needs to be highlighted. This frees you up as the facilitator to fully engage and make sure everyone is participating.
During the meeting
- Arrive 5 minutes early
- Acknowledge people as they connect
- Make sure everyone has been introduced, or has introduced themselves.
- Ask that people turn off their microphones if they are not speaking, and using headphones where possible as this will reduce potential audio feedback problems
Running the meeting:
- Be explicit and direct.
- Run through the agenda, expectations of the items and how you want people to provide ideas and feedback e.g. (everyone will be asked to provide feedback, I will call on you individually or, please put feedback into the chat function and I will summarise for the group.)
- If you are aware that someone has an idea, ask them directly.
- Leave bigger pauses when asking if people would like to give feedback. Give people time to turn off microphones and answer, or type.
- Summarise clearly what people have had to say. Check that you have heard correctly.
- Be clear about moving on to the next item.
After the meeting
- Send an email thanking all participants, and attach all the relevant information
- Minutes from the meeting
- any documents tabled/referred to that were not provided prior
- Follow up on any individual concerns or questions that may have been raised and not addressed during the meeting