Microsoft can supply the technology but steps can be taken to ensure a seamless transition to the virtual meeting world
Companies have had to rethink their operations in recent month making online meetings and events with colleagues the new normal. These new tools might feel unfamiliar to some, but when used smartly, they can offer a major improvement to all our working lives.
Microsoft 365 delivers a holistic collaboration solution that puts the right tools at team members’ fingertips, so they can collaborate in the different ways they choose throughout the day.
Whether workers need an answer to a quick question over Microsoft Teams or to collaborate in real time on document revisions, Microsoft 365 has the tools to meet the task at hand.
When it comes to collaboration, one size doesn’t fit all. Only Microsoft 365 delivers an integrated collaboration solution that includes the full range of applications - from email and files to chat, voice and social - all backed by Microsoft's enterprise-grade security and reliability.
With the technology sorted, here we provide a list of top ten tips to stage a virtual meeting.
Even before we had virtual meetings, no one was a fan of a meeting going on for too long. The same applies online, especially when it might be harder to maintain a person’s attention when it’s so easy to multitask like replying to an email or two. So keep your meetings short and to the point by not covering too many topics in one sitting. If the subject matter is particularly engaging, make sure the conversation stays on topic and there’s no talking over one another.
Offices are designed to be peaceful places, but this can’t always be replicated in the home environment. Give colleagues a heads-up of any potential noise or distractions like children or pets.
Before the meeting begins, test the software to see that it’s working. This is a good opportunity to familiarise yourself with the programme so that you know how everything works.
Materials, including an agenda, should be prepared and circulated before the meeting begins and should be kept as brief as possible so that people can read and digest everything ahead of time.
It’s crucial that all participants know each other. Without the typical face-to-face interactions, it becomes even more important to ensure everyone is introduced ahead of the meeting. If it’s the kind of meeting where ice-breakers are appropriate, then use them to get everyone comfortable.
Practice virtual meeting etiquetteKeep an eye out for little tasks that might steal your attention during a meeting. These include reading and replying to emails, make a few changes to that document that’s due at the end of the day or sending a quick text on your phone. These are things we wouldn’t normally do in meetings at the office, so try to stick to the same code of etiquette.
Depending on the size and length of the event or meeting you can, and maybe should, integrate virtual breakouts. How? Assign appropriate groups of people with their own video link and ask them to meet as a smaller group and then come back to the larger group.
If you are dealing with teams from around the world, recognise that every so often, a meeting will have to take place at an unsociable hour, and work to make it fair. If your Australian colleague has to take a call at 10pm one week, the meeting should be at a time that works for them the week after.
Ideally online events are no longer than 60 minutes. If it must be longer, never make people sit for more than 90 minutes to ensure focus. Even give some thought to introducing stretching exercises, it will help to break any lull and also keep attendees from sitting in the same position for too long.
Share tidied-up notes (with decisions and/or outstanding questions) and any resources within 24 hours. Don’t forget to thank the presenters and invite feedback from participants to see if there’s anything you can improve on the next time around.
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