So what do you do when you have to plan projects with collaborators from all over the country? Thankfully, you won’t have to hop in and out of planes to meet in person.
All you have to do is set up an online meeting. With today’s technology, you can easily set up a platform where you and your contacts can communicate on the same page regardless of geography and time differences.
Here’s a 5-step plan to help you prepare:
1.) Find the perfect platform for your meeting
There’s more to online meetings than just asking people to jump in on a Skype call. The first step is to choose the perfect platform to conduct your online meeting. There are plenty of websites that offer software optimized for a hassle-free way to connect with a large group. You can go to sites like join.me and GoToMeeting.
You can also try ON24 and AnyMeeting. Explore the merits of each program before making a decision. You can also ask your contacts for their input. A few of them might already have an online meeting software installed.
2.) Send out invitations right away
Send out invitations as soon as possible, even if the date you’re eyeing is still weeks away. This will give everyone enough time to sort out their schedules. If a few people are unable to participate on the date you set, correspond through email and try to find a schedule that works for everyone.
In your invitation, include details about the online meeting platform you chose to use. This will allow first-time users enough opportunity to familiarize themselves with the program.
3.) Let everyone know the agenda before the scheduled date
Plenty of factors can impede the success of online meetings. One of you might have a bad Internet connection. Someone else could be having trouble with the software you all agreed to use.
To minimize distractions, make sure everyone is on the same page about what your discussion will be about. As the person leading the meeting, it’s your responsibility to send out the agenda a week before the scheduled date.
4.) Plan how you’ll use the time you have
As with the nature of business, it’s possible that the people in your group only somehow managed to squeeze in your presentation into their schedules. Respect their time by strictly following the schedule you agreed on.
If you can, try to wrap up your presentation 20 minutes before the time limit. This will give you and your collaborators enough time to have a meaningful conversation about the points you raised.
5.) Create PowerPoint slides that are simple and concise
Simple PowerPoint slides are important to any presentations. But for online meetings, they are practically a requirement. There is a strong possibility that some of your contacts might not have a steady connection.
PowerPoint files that are too large can easily weigh down Internet speed. Make sure you include only the most important points. Visuals are vital but try to compress your images before sharing your slides. If you want to incorporate a video, it’s best if you could just provide a link. Avoid any animations and slide transitions.
These days, the boardroom isn’t the only venue for a meeting. With these tips, you can prepare an online meeting that will allow you and your collaborators to come up with fresh ideas. Don’t let distance stifle the flow of creativity and productivity.
Featured Image: William Hook via Flickr