If you’ve read the other two parts of this series then you likely have great audio and video, but you may still struggle to have a successful meeting. The last thing you want to make sure you do is organize your conferences. A remote conference call requires double the structure of a traditional meeting, and that structure can be accomplished in the following ways:
- Use a mediator. Most meetings would have this by default in the form of a supervisor who is conducting a presentation or someone who is keeping details and moving between meeting points. It is much more important in a digital conference to have someone who is introducing points and ensuring everyone gets a chance to talk.
- Try using a “buzz in” method. If you followed the first tip and appointed a mediator, then try having that person keep track of a text chat where people can “buzz in”. The idea is everyone who isn’t talking has their microphone muted and when someone wishes to talk, they type into a text chat that they would like to speak. Using this method, the mediator is able to indicate who’s turn it is to talk so that no one gets spoken over and everyone has a chance to speak.
- Keep your files organized. If you’re going to share any files or links, make sure you have them open, uploaded, or readily available. In a traditional meeting you’d be able to pull up a graph on your computer and simply show the room, but with remote conferencing you may need to send a link to a shared folder, upload a PDF, or direct everyone to a website. Make sure you have these ready so when it’s your turn you’re able to get the information across quickly and clearly.
What is Truly Necessary?
This closing section isn’t really about giving tips, but rather to point out some things to consider during this time. No one was expecting this sudden change, so please be gentle with each other as we all navigate this.
- Some people are uncomfortable sharing their video during these conferences. If it isn’t essential to use video, then allow your meeting to be conducted over audio only or let certain members leave their video off.
- Many people do not have a proper office at home or can’t leave their kids unsupervised so be flexible if someone needs to contribute less often on account of poor audio.
- One final consideration is to think about whether a meeting is required or not. Even in the office, we would routinely interrupt work for a meeting that could’ve been accomplished in an email, so make sure you’re calling a meeting for a good reason as remote conferences are even less effective than in person meetings.
I hope this series has helped you improve your virtual conferences as you navigate COVID-19 adjustments or as your company shifts to a remote workforce. This is a new way of conducting business and it will take some time getting used to. The most important thing to remember is to speak clearly and avoid interrupting each other. We all have important things to say and important things to hear.