Looking for Better MeetingsEnterprises are constantly looking for effective and less expensive ways to connect and collaborate with their globally dispersed workforce and other key business units, and as a result, video meetings have become an integral part of today’s “virtual” business landscape. Most organizations agree to purchase the best video conferencing equipment making their video meetings as real as in-person interactions, but they tend to overlook those small details that make a big difference in their over-all video conferencing experiences. Of course, video should to be as easy as plug-and-play, but if you don’t take advantage of prep time before launching your video sessions, you could end up disappointed in spite of using the best-in-class products.

There has already been quite a bit written about how to make meetings via video conferencing more fruitful, but most of the time we hear the same tips about sitting upright, looking at the camera, and making eye contact. They are valid points, no doubt. But when it comes to collaborating effectively through video meetings, preparing for the meeting well in advance is equally important for streamlining the entire process. Here we’ll discuss a few tips to help you set the stage for a successful video meeting.

Share content ahead of the meeting. It is common practice to share an agenda and relevant content among the participants just a few minutes before the meeting starts. But when we place the information in the hands of participants within that short gap, most people generally won’t read the agenda properly, and will jump right into the meeting without a clear idea of the points to be discussed. As a result, there is too much time spent figuring out the purpose of the meeting after it starts, leading to a huge waste of time and resources. Why not avoid this situation by sharing the contents of the meeting and the agenda well in advance? Give participants an opportunity to review, gather their thoughts, and plan their participation. The technique has been proven to work in the classroom, and it will work in the office as well.

Break up one large meeting into a few small ones. Long virtual meetings can be unwieldy, and may fail to foster and sustain meaningful interaction and collaboration. When meetings are time-consuming, they fall short of capturing participants’ undivided attention for an extended period of time. You will find that if you divide one large meeting into a series of short and focused virtual meetings, gatherings will be to-the-point and more productive. These shorter meetings enable a smart exchange of ideas and increased collaboration among the participants.

Connect before the designated start time. Technical snags that interrupt the smooth flow of a virtual meeting are common, and to some extent, unavoidable. To prevent such problems from eating into your precious meeting minutes, it’s always advisable that you plan to connect 10-15 minutes before a meeting has been scheduled so that you can be prepared to start at the set time.

Check your video conference inputs. Make sure to test your audio and visual before the meeting begins. If you are about to share a presentation, use a document camera or a peripheral accessory, or have some other special requirement, make sure your video conferencing system can provide you with adequate support in advance. Also test the lighting in the room so that you can guarantee better visual communication.

As virtual meetings become a part of our everyday business, planning and preparing for such meetings is paramount to driving collaboration. Preparation is a necessity for today’s businesses. The point is to ensure better outcomes for your video meetings that will facilitate connection and efficiency with your employees, executives, partners, consultants, or customers.

Do you prepare for your virtual meetings in advance? How have you found it has increased overall efficiency?

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