The same things are involved in an online meeting as in a face to face meeting such as: fixing the date and time; inviting the right people; choosing a Chairperson; sending an agenda and discussion papers, not letting one person dominate the meeting.
Additional points to consider for online meetings: choosing the right software; sending instructions to delegates about how best to use the system; preparing the system just before the meeting to check audio/video is working as it should.
Before you get excited and send out that round robin email to say ALL meetings will now be held online, let’s explore the pros and cons:
The 'pros' of holding meetings online
- Attendees need only ‘attend’ their computer, laptop, tablet, or even their phone, rather than having to travel to the meeting.
- Cuts out the costs of hiring a venue and time and money spent providing refreshments
- Are usually shorter and easier to set up than face-to-face meetings. This might mean people are more willing to get together more frequently which helps to build relationships and team spirit.
- A great opportunity for exchanging ideas with people who might not be able to get involved if travel or time out of the office was required
- Can help change the dynamics of the organisation such as helping you keep in touch more with your associates and giving you more freedom and flexibility in your working day.
The 'cons' of holding meetings online
- There can be a lack of personal interaction
- Relationships are easier to build in a face to face environment
- Missed opportunities to engage with people you might not talk to outside of a face to face meeting
- IT problems or meeting attendees who are not comfortable with the IT or system
- The effort involved in bringing people together in person can give the meeting a feeling of importance
- No chance to engage with people
There are a number of online companies you could use to set up your meeting, many offering free trials. Here are a few suggestions for you to try:
Teamviewer – www.teamviewer.com
Cisco WebEx – www.webex.com
GoToMeeting – www.gotomeeting.co.uk
MyMeeting – www.mymeeting123.com
Mega Meeting – www.megameeting.com
Fuze Meeting – www.fuzebox.com
Intercall – www.intercall.com
WebConCentral – www.web-conferencing-central.com
Online meetings should be conducted in exactly the same way as if they were face to face. Delegates should be expected to confirm their attendance, have read the discussion documents in advance, ‘be there’ on time, allow other people to speak without interruption and not stray too far from the agenda. It’s said that the success or failure of a meeting is solely down to the skills of the Chairperson so whomever carries out this role will need to use all their negotiating skills to give others the opportunity to air their views whilst keeping the meeting on target both in terms of time and objectives.
Would your business benefit from holding meetings online? If the answer is yes but it all sounds far too complicated (and what you actually need is someone to organise it all for you) then Get in Touch and we'll have it sorted in a flash.
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