Linking up multiple environments for a staff meeting via conference calls is riddled with complications, but when done correctly it is the ideal way to cut travel expenses while keeping everyone on the team informed and included. So how can you use this invaluable tool effectively? Here are a few tips to help you implement undisturbed and productive video conferencing.
Assign a Q&A Person
It is easy for people to fall into individual conversations when they don’t regularly see or communicate with one another, which is a problem when attempting to run a meeting. One solution to this problem is to establish a question and answer person for all questions to be filtered through.
The job of the Q&A person is to compile all of the submitted questions as they come in so that the speaker can address them in a more efficient and on track manner at the appropriate times. This reduces interruptions and minimizes background chatter that can be distractive.
Establish Basic Conference Call Etiquette
Every meeting needs a set group of guidelines in order to keep the meeting moving forward in a productive manner. Taking the time in your first conference call to go over the rules and etiquette that is expected from meeting participants assures that everyone is on the same page. Some etiquette rules that you might not think need to be reminded of, but do, are:
- Attend Meetings in an Enclosed Area with a Closing Door
- Turn Off all Cell Phones
- Place a “Do Not Disturb” Sign on the Door
- Use the Mute Feature to Minimize Background Noise (Everyone except the Speaker of course)
- Type Questions to the Moderator in the IM Box versus Speaking them
Establishing these rules up front allows everyone to understand how the meeting will be run, and what their role in the meeting is.
Assign a Point Person to Keep the Meeting on Track
Staying on track is a task with any meeting that has more than two people, and is sometimes a challenge with only two people. Placing someone who is familiar with what the meeting’s subject matter and goals are in the role of Point Person, allows the moderator to focus on the material to be covered and answering questions; knowing that if things start to veer off topic, there is someone who will redirect the dialog back in line with the goals of the meeting.
Not only does assigning a Point Person, keep conference calls more efficient, it also shows staff members that you care about their time and want the meeting to run as productively and effectively as possible so that you are not wasting their valuable time with frivolous conference calls and meetings.
Be Prepared and Provide an Agenda
Providing meeting participants with an agenda ahead of time shows them exactly what will be covered in the meeting so that they can better prepare questions and input. It also exhibits that you as the meeting Moderator have taken the time to prepare for the meeting so that everything runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Running an efficient and productive video conference call with your staff takes preparation, established etiquette rules, and the ability to stay on track with the meeting’s agenda. If you implement strategies such as the ones listed above, you will find that your meetings run more efficiently, have better outcomes, and fewer distractions.