Article by Irene Moore, Business Coach and founder of Savvy Startup Club® – the mentoring and marketing agency for female entrepreneurs.
Just when we thought we thought working from home brought a small sliver of hope for less meetings, the likes of Zoom are making it even easier for organisations to host effective meetings online.
As an online entrepreneur for the last 5 years with a remote team that spans Denmark, South Africa and London and Jamaica, I’ve learnt a thing or two about what it comes to online meeting etiquette.
Unlike in-person meetings, online meetings can quickly become confusing and unnecessarily painful if they aren’t organised properly managed throughout the process with a light planning.
Here’s 7 top tips for making your new normal feel, well…more normal:
- Be Human. Just as you would in an in-person meeting, allow time to connect and check-in where possible. In a small group (less than 5) you can invite each participant to share and answer to a question that you shared in the invitation, in larger groups you can ask them to share in the chat box. It’s a good way to break the ice and bring everyone into the Zoom room.
- Be mindful of your environment. If you are hosting the meeting, ensure that everyone is either on mute on arrival to avoid a sound clash of barking dogs and Pepper Pig re-runs in the background. If you are joining as a guest, mute yourself on arrival.
- Find a quiet, private and bright space. We’ve all seen some of the epic online meeting fails circulating the interwebs over the last few weeks. It’s worth trying to find a quiet spot/corner that can act as your home office and setting some clear boundaries with loved ones so they know when they can and cannot disturb.
- Set clear intentions and outcomes. This agenda can sometimes slip during in person meetings, but even more so online! With minimal body language and facial cues to read it can be easy for online meetings to feel ‘hijacked’ and a little out of control. Setting a clear agenda of what you want the outcome of the meeting to look like AND allocating the person responsible for delivering each update will really hold the space for everyone to feel heard. Bonus points for allocating a timescale to cover each point – which brings me to my next point.
- Keep a close eye on time. For some attendees online meetings feel like the opportunity to share every presentation they have ever created for the benefit of the group. With no ‘next meeting’ to run off to, it can be harder to encourage meeting guests to come to a natural close. To avoid anyone feeling like they are being stopped abruptly or not being heard it is sometimes easier to set a phone timer for each section so that they become aware that time is up without causing embarrassment.
- Make use of all the online meeting functions. I’m a huge fan of Zoom and all the features it offers, such as sharing screen, polls, Q&A and of course the chat. If set up in advance, using these is not just easier to capture general consensus on key decisions without having to go round the room, but it also captures this data so you can download and circulate later. You can also record to the cloud or on your laptop and circulate the meeting to those that couldn’t attend live.
- Appoint a ‘Key Outcomes/Next Steps’ taker. When meeting online, it’s hard to resist the temptation to multi-task when you can email notifications and other distractions coming through. Appointing a note take ensures that the key agreements and actions are captured and circulated within 24 hours.
About the author
Irene Moore is a brand consultant and business coach to female entrepreneurs looking to launch and grow their business online. She consults for global brands, including L’Oréal and Dior, and her Savvy Startup Club provides mentoring and done-for-you marketing services to female entrepreneurs who are ready to scale without the stress.