online meetings

How not to zone out on Zoom

As COVID restrictions begin to ease around the world, online meetings will continue to be a part of our working life.  So how do we get the best from our teams?  Here are our top 5 tips to on how to run a great online meeting.

Tip 1 : Do I need this meeting?

Organising a Zoom or online meeting is a lot easier than getting a bunch of people in one room in a single location.  It is important to resist the urge to schedule a meeting just because it’s easy. Make sure the meeting is necessary.  Ask if the meeting objectives can be met in another way. Ask these questions:-

  • will a phone call or email suffice?
  • will a team communication platform such as Basecamp or Slack work just as well?
  • If this is a regularly scheduled meeting, check if there are any significant matters to be discussed?  If not, give everyone a day off and meet again next week. Then enjoy the flow of goodwill!

If you don’t need to meet, then don’t schedule a meeting!

Tip 2 : Circulate material before the meeting

Make the most of the time in the meeting by circulating relevant information before the meeting starts.  If you are discussing a new policy provide a copy of the policy or a summary and ask your team to read this before the meeting.

It’s important for your team to have a clear view of the reason for the Zoom meeting, the objective and that it will be worthwhile for everyone attending.

If the purpose is to share an update from each attendee, consider sharing this information in detail before the meeting then use time online for questions and discussion.  The point of being together is interaction.

This question is key : if we have all given up time to be together in one place (live or online) what can we do here that we can’t do in another, more efficient way?

Tip 3: Embrace video as a communication tool

Video is an incredibly powerful and accessible tool.  Use your iPhone to create a pre-meeting briefing video.  It’s easy to capture and easy to consume.  Use Google Drive or similar to share this content with your team.   It’s a refreshing change from email and can be accessed on an afternoon walk or whilst eating lunch.

Consider asking each team member to create a short (3 minute) video update and circulate these.  Build into the video agenda items for your meeting.  Here’s an example.  A  team member needs to provide an overview on cash flow and a prompt for fee earners to collect fees.  Create a short video to distribute.  Then meeting time can be allocated to problems experienced by team members and the discussion of potential solutions.

A great tool is screen capture. Use Loom or QuickTime player to record your screen and voice.  This is a fantastic and much under used method of information sharing.

Tip 4 : Breakout rooms

Zoom breakout rooms are a great way to keep teams engaged and involved in meetings.  With multiple participants all online, many will be quietly multi-tasking.  For idea generation, brainstorming and group training, breakout rooms are fun and will keep everyone on their toes!  A meeting organiser can visit breakout rooms and reconvene the group at the end of the session.  Teachers and lecturers love this tool and it’s a great way to personalise meetings in a corporate or business environment.

Tip 5 : Stick to the agenda but finish early!

This is an old teacher’s trick.  Finish early and make your whole team happy! You can even build in an incentive at the commencement of the meeting. Allow  45 minutes but suggest you can finish after 20 if everyone sticks to the agenda.  When we are all online all day, breaks from our desks are more important than ever before.

Try building “take a walk” into the agenda and convey the key message that health and well-being are a focus of your organisation.

There are loads of great resources available.

You can check out more of our blog posts here

Also check out some great articles such as this one.