Tuesday, 31 March 2015

How to make your video meetings effective

Murmurs, chatters, smiling faces, people sneaking in and leaving the room – that’s how the video meetings are. Participants showing up and doing the vanishing act, ear-piercing sound and sometimes no sound at all, technical glitches, bandwidth problem and not enough sound clarity are the common problems that we face during a long-distance video meeting.

However, looking at the positive side, we save the travel time and of course a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on air tickets, accommodation and food. In the video meetings you can accommodate a large number of participants since you don’t need to pay the per-diems. Additionally, the participants can be vocal – they can ask questions that come to their mind – the hesitation that persists during the face-to-face meetings vanishes.  

So how do you plan a video meeting and engage your staff?

Make sure the connections are checked at least 15 – 30 minutes before the actual meeting. Do a dry run with the ICT people to ensure there are no technical problems.

As the video meetings are not coercive enough to make each participant speak, ask the teams to present on a topic beforehand. The participants will take time to prepare the presentations and be engaged throughout the meeting – anticipating probable questions from other attendees.

Circulate the presentations few days before the meeting and ask them to think of the related questions. This will, at least, give time to the participants to run through the presentations and ask questions, if any.

Just like the face-to-face meetings, make some ground rules – no one should leave the meeting in between, no one joins the meeting in between, put the mobile phones in silent mode and the list goes on.

All the video meeting softwares have the provision to mute the microphone. And when the team mutes the microphone, they tend to talk with each other while the other team is presenting. Discourage this habit. It distracts the participants in other teams.