Tips for Productive Online Meetings

Five ways to keep remote meetings on track

Attendees spread around the globe? Destination meetings are a great way to bring guests together. But if your event requires multiple follow-up events, online meetings might be more convenient.

That said, online meetings come with their own set of challenges, namely that when they run off course, as any gathering is apt to do, the lack of in-person interaction can make it harder to steer guests back on track. 

Technology aside, here are five tips to keep online meetings flowing despite the distance.

Communicate the agenda beforehand.

Start your online meeting off on the right foot by setting attendee expectations from the get-go. Send out an agenda to guests prior to the meeting’s start time that clearly outlines what topics the meeting will cover, as well as assigned roles or speakers, should there be any. 

Set time limits …

When you send out the agenda, share how much time you intend to spend on each topic. Not only will time limits guide the meeting, but they also tell guests which topics should be prioritized and prepared for accordingly. 

… and designate someone to watch the clock. 

Outlining time limits is one thing, but sticking to them is another. Assign one attendee the role of meeting monitor to keep watch over the clock. As an agenda item approaches its time limit, have this person give a two-minute warning. Should a conversation start to run over, the monitor can then politely interject and steer the group on to the next part of the schedule.

Make time for software lag.

It’s important to keep the meeting moving, but planners also need to recognize that video- and audio-conferencing tools often come with a two- or three-second delay. If you’re moderating the meeting, make sure to pause after asking questions to account for the delay in time and minimize the risk of interrupting other participants. 

Leave time at the end to go over next steps.

A meeting is only as productive as its next steps. Spare a few minutes at the end of the meeting to address next-action steps, and if another follow-up is needed, start the planning process all over again.