What Should I Do If I’m Running an Online Meeting for the First Time?

Online meetings are part call-in, part video chat, part slideshow, and all complicated. Now that you’re in charge of running one on behalf of your company, you have no choice but to dive in—but can you really learn to swim before the fatal day comes?

Steps to Running a Successful Online Meeting on Your First Try

The key to chairing a successful meeting lies in proper preparation, organization, and diplomacy. You are the one in charge, so it is up to you to ensure that all parties participate and make the most of the time and money spent on the meeting. Here are a few tips to remember before you head into the conference room:

  • Before the meeting. Make sure that every participant has received an agenda and a reminder for the meeting. Appoint someone to take notes (you will be focused on running the meeting, not taking minutes). If you are hosting a meeting in your own office space, make sure the technology is working properly ahead of time to prevent delays or dropped calls.
  • Starting the meeting. Videoconferences may be the first time a coworker has met a peer face-to-face, so always take a moment for introductions. When you are ready to begin, briefly restate the purpose of the meeting and touch on the agenda points that will be discussed. When you turn the conversation over to the group, always keep one eye on the time.
  • Mid-meeting crowd control. While you may want to encourage brainstorming and sharing, it is up to you to keep the meeting on track. Your meeting can have a more relaxed atmosphere, but the participants are all there for a specific purpose. If someone has a good point that isn’t necessarily relevant, deflect with a phrase such as, “I’ll make a note of that for a future meeting, but back to the original item…” If there are participants who haven’t spoken yet, try to draw them out (especially if only one or two others are dominating the conversation).
  • Ending the meeting. Before you let everyone go, summarize the next steps to be taken and assign them to members of the proper departments. Always end with a thank-you and let people know they have done something worthwhile, such as saying, “This clears up a lot of issues, and now we can move forward.” If you need a follow-up meeting, mention it before closing.
  • After the meeting. In the hours or day after the meeting, send a summary of the topics covered as well as a list of who is responsible for each action item and a completion date for each. If you like, you can attach a copy of the meeting minutes.

At Casamo & Associates, we can give you the tools you need to make your first videoconference a success. We can coordinate schedules, provide tech support, and host your meeting in our fully-equipped videoconferencing venues—and we can also help your attendees find videoconferencing sites near their locations in our network. Visit our Online Scheduler today to request our services!

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