Meetings are notorious productivity killers. At least the bad ones are. Meetings that seem to have no end, one person after another saying something in ten sentences they could have said in two and the clock saying it’s only two minutes before end of shift. You’ve been there before. Which is another way of saying you’ll want to do your best to avoid being in the same position again. That also means you’ll want to make sure you don’t do the same for others when it’s your time to conduct a meeting, whether it happens live or through video. To help you meet those ends, here are handy tips to help you out:
Kill those slides
Using slides is boring plus it eats up time you could’ve spent engaging your audience. Some of your audience will just skip ahead while others will play solitaire, read emails or check their Facebook feed, all trying to find a way to combat the boredom of slides. So spare both sides the agony by leaving off those slides from your group meeting.
Make sure they rock
If you can’t kill those slides, then make sure you rock those slides, says Fast Company. Put only relevant data on them such as high level financial data or exceptional use of ads or a product demo. Relevant content will always matter. Also, an important tip: Don’t send your slides ahead of time. That way, you can control the flow of the conversation. And keep the data short and sweet. Putting a novel on those slides is a quick way to bore your audience. Lastly, make sure the font size works. That ties up to the length of the content. If you put in too many words, you could end up with words that are a bit too small. That isn’t going to be easy on the eyes, which could discourage your audience from reading them in the first place.
Go with video calls instead of audio calls
Audio group calls can be boring. All you do is listen. So try to use video instead. Group video conference for IT services like BlueJeans are some of the most popular—and for good reason—they work. It’s efficient and easy to use too. No need to worry that your team will find the technology impossible or difficult to adopt to. By using video, you’re assured of having everyone’s full focus and attention on the meeting, which is a definite worry when you do audio calls. With phone calls, anyone could just play games online, read text messages, or answer messages on Facebook instead of paying attention, without you or anyone else realizing!
Send out an agenda (and stick to it)
One of the basic rules of conducting a meeting includes sending out an agenda. That way, participants will know what to expect. If you don’t send one out, this could create anxiety in your team or stress them out. That’s the last thing you want to, especially given the level of job insecurity that has dogged corporate America in the last few years.
Let them know you’re recording everything
One of the best things about using video conferencing tools is that it allows you to record the meeting. If you need to clarify something or check with something in your notes, it’s going to be easy and convenient enough to go over the meeting and find the information you need. But before you do, don’t forget to let the participants know that they’re being recorded. Get their consent before you push that record button.
Keep movements minimal
Keep in mind that you’re on video. That means everyone in the group call can see you. So try to keep your body movements minimal, lest you distract others, says Inc.. Too much swaying or movement could distract your team and get the discussion off track. If you want to make sure every minute in your meeting counts, that not a single moment is wasted, then be on your best behavior. Be aware of how you move and make sure you restrict those movements to keep the meeting on a professional keel.
Maintain eye contact
Even on video, you need to maintain eye contact as much as possible. If you don’t and you’re meeting people for the first time, this could be taken as a sign of rudeness or curtness, or even of untrustworthiness. You wouldn’t want a potential client or customer to feel that way about you and the business you represent. So be sure to maintain eye contact as much as you can.
Not sure how to do it in front of the camera? Practice. Practice a lot to make sure you get it right in time for your meeting.
What to do now? Stop wasting time, get to following these tips, and make your meetings shorter and more productive!