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How to run an effective team meeting online
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How to run an effective team meeting online

How to run an effective team meeting online

I am Lara Mellor from Lara Mellor Training and Consultancy.  I am based in the North East but am currently running online sessions and can help support clients throughout the country and beyond!  I can help upskill your staff so they can do more work in less time by using Microsoft software effectively.

I have been running online training courses myself using Microsoft Teams since March but also teach others how to use the software too.

How to run an effective team meeting online

With online meeting likely to be here to stay, in some shape or form, even as restrictions are eased, it is important to make this an effective experience.  Whether you are using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangout or any of the other meeting platforms out there most have similar features to help.

Preparation for meetings

The more preparation that can be done before a meeting the better.  A clear agenda of what is going to be covered and any other business added to this agenda before the meeting date gives everyone time to prepare any documentation and do any research required to hep the meeting run smoothly.  This also helps reduce the meeting time which is beneficial given the Zoom/teams fatigue many of us are feeling.

Jumping from one back to back meeting to another is also not good for our health.  Microsoft have been concerned enough to add an option in Outlook to allow for 5 minute breaks between meetings of under an hour or 10 minutes for an hour or more to give staff the opportunity to stretch their legs and vary their focal distance before starting again.  Some companies have been implementing this sort of policy for a while now with meeting durations of 25 mins or 50 mins to have the same effect.

Effective Meeting Communication

Every meeting is different.  With a different number of attendees and different desired outcomes the strategies on how to manage these meetings effectively will vary.

Cameras on or off

This can be a contentious issue!  There is a good reason for cameras to be off for confidentiality but with cameras on we pick up on a lot of the subtle body language and facial expressions which give a more complete understanding than words alone.

Verbal communication

The meeting may be to impart information to the team.  If so then muting participants to avoid background noise and potential feedback is a good idea.  Microsoft Teams even has the option to prevent attendees from unmuting which can be a little harsh but allows only the presenters the opportunity to present and chat.

Most sessions require 2 way interaction however for at least part of the time.  In this case it is vital to have a clear strategy which is communicated with the team to avoid individuals talking over each other if at all possible.  This is more important than in a face to face meeting when visual clues often make it more obvious that someone has a point to make.

The host of the meeting has 3 main options:

  1. Let individuals unmute and talk when they need to interject.  This works well for a small meeting and attendees may even stay unmuted throughout
  2. Ask participants to raise a hand when they want to speak.  This could be a physical hand raised or a virtual option which most meeting packages also support.  The electronic option is often easier to see particularly with a larger group of attendees and even works if the cameras are off!  In Microsoft Teams the order of the hand raise is shown in the list of participants so questions can be answered in the strict order they were asked.
  3. Get the meeting attendees to pop any questions in the chat window.  These can then be answered at suitable points. This gives the opportunity for the presenter to not loose their flow which can happen with constant interruptions but has the disadvantage that time sensitive questions may not be answered until it is too late.

So, as you can see, there are many factors to consider when deciding how an online meeting needs to be run to be effective.

If I can help you to use Microsoft Teams or any other Microsoft Software more effectively then email lara@laramellortraining.co.uk for a no obligation chat

If you want to connect with me I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/laramellortraining or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lara-mellor

To sign up to my newsletter or check out my blogs then head over to www.laramellortraining.co.uk

Images by https://rjm-photography.co.uk/ 

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