Account Director Sophie Easthope has first hand experience managing clients in multiple time-zones and is well-equipped to advise on how to keep video calls just as productive as face-to-face meetings.
For businesses everywhere post-corona, Zoom, Google Hangout and Skype are indispensable. For businesses new to this way of working – or a little rusty – here are some tips on how to stay productive (and sane!)
Let’s start with time keeping. You wouldn’t turn up to a face-to-face meeting 10 minutes late, so why is it that people think it’s acceptable to do it online?
Make sure you set the boundaries with clients and colleagues so they know that meetings need to start promptly.
Secondly, you always have that one person that turns up to a meeting and can’t get the link / camera / sound to work or worst still – you are that person.
Test your own technology beforehand and make sure everyone has the right link prior to the call, otherwise you may well end up with half your attendees on the wrong platform, if they manage to get onto the call at all.
Next point, check in which direction your camera is pointing. Ever had that slightly awkward moment when you realise the camera is pointing at the wall in the office that is in desperate need of paint or right now – pointing perhaps at your dirty laundry pile?
Check the view for your clients and colleagues before the call to avoid any unwanted distractions or conversations during your meeting.
Now onto the serious stuff, be prepared. If you are going to use online documents make sure you have these ready and waiting to go. (Believe me, as much as people will say it is cute, no one needs to see a picture of your overweight chihuahua, while you scrabble around your desktop looking for agendas and presentations.)
Follow this simple checklist to make sure you are ready and prepared to host your meeting:
Wifi. Do you have a good connection? If not, get in touch with your employer and I.T. helpdesk ASAP. You might also speak with your phone provider about any interim package they might be able to give you in the meantime, if the problem looks set to linger.
Technology. Make sure you use a platform that your clients can access and agree to this beforehand – it will prevent wasting the first 20 minutes trying to get everyone on the same line.
Agendas. Do you have an agenda? If so, send it on before the meeting and while doing so, take the opportunity to re-send everyone the meeting link and confirm times.
Documents ready. What are you going to be talking about / showing during the meeting? Open up relevant documents, web pages and screens to ensure that these are ready to go.
Chat. Turn off your chat apps. If you are going to be sharing screens, there is nothing worse than a chat popping up from somebody.
Peace and quiet. Ensure you have a quiet meeting room and that colleagues know not to disturb you, your online guests should be treated with the same level of attention as clients that you meet in person.
Eye on the time. Have a separate clock, to keep track of the time. Online meetings have a tendency to run-over schedule, especially if you are presenting and can not see the time. Make sure that you keep track of how long you are talking for, so you don’t have to rush the most important parts of the call.
Summarise. When you are not meeting face-to-face it is very easy for people to log off and forget about the past hour’s conversation. Make sure you get the most from your meetings by following up with a summary email and actions.
If you follow these simple tips, not only will your meetings run more smoothly, hopefully they will enable you to make them much more productive.
If you would like to find out more about Cognition and how we help our clients become more productive online. Please get in touch here: