Can you imagine how working experience used to be some decades ago? No emails, no technology, no PowerPoint presentations. Thankfully, the times have changed, and our generation has been introduced to a stimulating environment when it comes to working. The field affected the most is how a working team can share their knowledge and pass experience to the young members.
Still, being at the top of a group, managing time, leading a conversation, and making sure everyone is on the same page is not easy. Imagine that on top of that, all this has to be done online. We are all familiar with online meetings, but when this is the only way to meet with your colleagues, the scenery slightly changes. It is easy to lose control, and some members of your team might stay behind.
The results will be reflected in their work, and you, as the manager, will be responsible at the end of the project for any mistakes. To avoid any disappointment, try to follow some ground rules that will help you and your team stay on top.
- Prepare your audience
Even though you are probably the person that everyone in the group knows, it is a good idea to start by introducing yourself and breaking the ice. The things you will choose to include in your introduction will help the rest of the participants determine what they should mention about themselves later on. Encourage every group member to do the same, and be sure they all feel less stressed out after this connection. If there is someone whose job is to do the day’s presentation, you can say a few things about him, highlighting their positive characteristics, to help them feel confident.
- Set the goals
As a leader, your job is to inform the team about the company’s goals and your expectations for the meeting. You can start before anyone else with a small PowerPoint, where you depict your strategy and agenda. Avoid too many words and try to use images and blueprints, to help the audience absorb the information you provide. It is necessary to be absolutely clear for everyone what the plan is for you as a team and not as individuals. Explain to your team that focusing on this small amount of time on the project will save you and them hours of work later, when they will come with questions because they didn’t understand well.
Online meetings are often incredibly boring. People think that there are parts in the meeting that are non of their concern. This is a huge mistake because otherwise, the meeting wouldn’t take place, and you would also send emails. As a host or a leader; however, you want to call this position, you have to make people interact. Clarify from the beginning of the meeting that there will be a round of questions every once in a while and that they will all have to make their presence obvious. This will prepare the team to be alert and keep up with the rest of you, knowing the attention will be dropped on them at some point.
People who hold leading roles in meetings are experienced and familiar with all the important hacks they have to know of in order to deliver a meeting. The applications, like zoom, skype, and slack or mind maps, are all expected to be used, but if you don’t include the gist in your mindset, nothing will set you apart from other colleagues and, finally, the competition. The time when the meeting has reached an end, and it is time to conclude, is the most crucial part. It is the time that the audience will ”wake up” again to make sure they understand their tasks. For no reason, do not bypass this step.
- Treat online meetings like real meetings
For some of your team members, the fact that they can work remotely and appear in an online meeting wearing their flip-flops because you can’t see them is distracting. To engage your team, prevent them from multitasking and let them know of the consequences of a low-quality delivered project. Adopt a firm policy regarding multitasking and don’t allow the team to set their microphone on mute. In meetings where physical presence is necessary, no one is expected to leave the room or do other things during the process—the same way online meetings should be treated. Follow a set of rules, and don’t accept disrespectful behaviors.
Written by Anna Siampani.
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