How to hold an effective remote meeting

Joe Griffin
Joe Griffin

Even after the pandemic, it’s likely that remote meetings will be here to stay. They’re certainly more cost effective and time-efficient than travelling to meetings (especially if you’re talking to someone in another country). 

It’s fair to say that the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to remote working and video meetings. So, here’s how to make the best of a remote meeting.

Remote meeting tools and software 

Investing in the right equipment for your team is worthwhile. By now you’ve probably experienced firsthand a meeting with suboptimal sound and video. Think of the equipment as a medium term investment instead of a short term expense. 

Indeed, video meetings are likely to be with us long after covid. Even when in-person meetings are possible, it’s likely that online meetings will replace many in-person meetings, especially if the latter requires international travel. 

So, decent standard headsets and even a webcam and lighting could cost less than that of a business trip. 

Before the meeting 

Just as before, manners and preparation are valuable resources. 

Before a meeting, give an agenda, a list of what you’re going to discuss and who these items will be applicable to. 

When booking the meeting, consult each invitee’s calendar and take time zones into account 

Immediately prior to the meeting, if possible, test technology (such as microphone and camera). This is especially important if the equipment is new or if it hasn’t been used in a while. 

During the meeting 

Again, etiquette makes everything easier, but ground rules have changed slightly in light of recent events and changes in circumstances. 

Consider the following steps: 

Watch the time 

Do you ever feel more fatigued after a series of online meetings than if they were in person? There’s a reason for that. Online meetings are more tiring than in-person ones because they ask more of us: nonverbal cues and body language are more arduous. 

Indeed, the cognitive effort of losing out on body language has been the subject of numerous studies. For this reason, and for the sake of an efficient workplace, you should consider keeping the meetings as short and to the point as possible. 

Share your screen 

Every format of meeting has pluses and minuses, and screen-sharing is a definite plus. Online meetings are an opportunity to share glimpses of graphs, images or documents quickly and easily. It makes the information easier to digest, and images break up the monotony. 

Naturally, you should take security into account - don’t share sensitive information, especially if it’s with meeting attendees from outside your organization. And make sure sensitive or less relevant tabs are closed before sharing. 

Use the mute button when necessary

Opinion varies on what’s appropriate here. Some say that you should never have your mute button on, but others argue that with mic handling and ambient noise (from pets to kids), muting oneself when not talking is prudent. 

There’s also the issue of hosts muting attendants. You might want to mute people if there’s a large group or if there’s interference coming from one person’s mic. In general, if you’re a host, ask permission or warn the attendants before you mute their mics. 

Show focus 

Even though you’re not in the same room, you should be present. 

So this means not looking at your phone, email or other tabs while the meeting is on. Mute your phone and - if necessary - desktop notifications for the duration of the meeting.

Take notes 

This is an evergreen piece of advice, regardless of where the meeting takes place. 

Taking notes is highly recommended. We’ve found that putting the subject and date on top of the page of notes is a great idea: it helps distinguish the notes from one another, and gives context to what you’ve written. 

After the meeting 

Have actionable steps to take, with responsibilities, deadlines and expectations. This will give a timeline to proceedings, but also add a sense of purpose to meetings. 

AutoEntry - a remote working tool 

AutoEntry is more than a leading data entry software; with its ability to capture data by scanning, sending and snapping, it also facilitates a more paperless, efficient workplace with fewer in-person meetings. 

Find out how AutoEntry can improve your life with a free trial. 

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