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Tips For A Successful Remote Staff/Department Meeting



Every business faces different challenges when trying to keep their various departments and employees up to speed with what's going on in the company. There are many ways to communicate to your team and a method's effectiveness greatly varies based on the size of your audience, your workflows, your company's culture, and the technologies available to you.


For a smaller business, simply walking over to the "bullpen" can work. You might even be at a point where you have a scheduled meeting for your various teams to meet together in a conference room. Much like a larger company, it's becoming more and more common for staff to not be in the same office, working from home, or on the road.


Fortunately, even the smallest businesses can be equipped with the technology needed to schedule a meeting that staff can securely connect to from inside and outside of the office. If your business hasn't begun incorporating modern collaboration technology (Teams!) into your workflow, it's time to talk to your IT provider!


If you are the person running the meeting


Have an agenda or goal

It's a common frustration for staff to have when a meeting in the conference room could have been an email or a quick call. That frustration can still exist when meeting remotely. While a meeting can be essential, at the same time, it can easily face productivity challenges when it lacks focus.


To counter this, have a plan.


  • No need to be fancy, especially if your business is new to this. Don't worry about using every tool available or creating a flashy PowerPoint.

  • Not sure where to start? A simple page with a few bullets with your topics can help keep the audience engaged.

  • As a host, whenever possible, plan to share your screen with your agenda or the document you want to discuss.


Know your Audience


Don't plan on having a super productive meeting if half the people aren't familiar with being in a meeting online. If you are meeting with people that are familiar with the process or you have a team with good online habits, you will be able to plan on jumping right into a meeting and getting to it.


  • Schedule your meeting properly so people have time to be ready, available, and know how to connect.

  • Be ready to assist people with getting connected, or even better, work with your staff ahead of time to make sure they are able to use tools effectively.

  • Set clear expectations so that those that need to be in the meeting understand they need to be there on time and whether or not the meeting will be audio-only or if they need to be in front of a computer to see content that is being shared.

  • Keep your agenda topics applicable to the audience. A meeting with multiple departments from multiple locations might not the best time to talk about whether or not your local office should or shouldn't purchase a new radio or order pizza.

  • Don't worry about video chat. While it can be very useful, it's more important that audio is working and that you are sharing your screen with the content people need to see.


Manage Focus


Helping everyone stay focused and on topic is always a challenge with any meeting. When you are in the office, it's a lot easier to have everyone go to a conference room and close the door to help. When people are remote, every attendee has their own challenges with privacy, distractions, and noise.


  • Use the Mute Button! Nothing distracts more than an attendee that has a bad audio connection or is in a loud room. As the meeting organizer, you can easily mute people to help keep focus. Let people know ahead of time that you'll do this and advise people to use the chat feature to communicate if they are experiencing mic problems.

  • Stay on topic. It's very easy for any meeting to get off track. Remember to stick to the goal of the meeting and steer conversations towards that goal. Depending on the kind of meeting you are conducting, a common technique can be to reserve time at the end of a meeting for questions or off-topic discussions.

  • Always share your screen or content so others can see. Being able to "point" at your agenda, or an email, or whatever content you are discussing is a fantastic feature to utilize as much as possible. You can highlight a sentence you are discussing or zoom in on an image or map. (Remember to close or minimize everything on your screen not related to the meeting when you share your screen!)


Do a test run to make sure you are setup and ready to go

Create a test meeting so you can make sure your technology is working properly.


This helps you build confidence and the more confident you are using your remote meeting tools, the more likely your meeting will be a success!




Things to test:


  • Your microphone is working properly and is not too loud or too quiet.

  • Your camera is working properly and there is nothing in the background you don't want people to see.

  • You are able to share your screen without issue.

  • You know how to mute people, in case you need to.

  • You have enough battery or are plugged in if on a laptop.



Bonus tips for those attending in an online meeting


Test your Mic and Camera before you join

  • Do a test meeting with a coworker or contact your IT support to help you make sure your mic is working and is not too loud or too quiet.

  • Know you have audio problems and can't fix it in time? Mute yourself and use the chat feature in a meeting to communicate if needed so you don't distract your co-workers.

  • If you are having problems, depending on the meeting, this might not be the best time to troubleshoot. Work with your IT resources after the meeting to make sure your issues are resolved.


If you are home, make sure your household knows you are going to be in a meeting

  • This can help prevent people accidentally walking in and minimize noise that might distract others in the meeting.


On laptop?

  • Don't forget to charge it or plug it in while on a meeting.

  • Modern laptops can have great built-in microphones if you don't have a headset.

  • If you are in a location with poor internet, you might be able to dial in using your cell phone instead .


Also,


Don't forget to end your meeting before you move onto other things!

Whether you are the host or attendee, you do not want to put yourself in an embarrassing situation where you screen is sharing content you didn't intend to share! Click end / hang up / disconnect when you are done with the meeting!


Standard protocol for ending a meeting.


Interested in having a conversation about technology in your business? Send in a contact request at www.aevotec.com or email info@aevotec.com.

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