When working from home it can be hard to maintain the same level of dedication to an online meeting, even for those of us who are used to it, and something I face everyday being a Salesforce Trainer. So, this article is for anyone who wants to raise their online meeting/training game and overall confidence working from home.
Here are my top 10 tips – enjoy!
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
1. Preparation! There is nothing worse than being in a meeting and waiting for the host to decide where to start or waiting for tech to work. You have 10-15 seconds at the beginning of an online meeting to engage the audience, if you miss this, they are off checking emails and have checked out. Set aside 20 minutes of prep for every meeting, it saves so much time later – you won’t regret it!
2. Set and communicate a clear agenda, this gives you a chance to plan discussion topics and maximize the productivity of a meeting – it also allows attendees to prepare.
3. Refine your content: this mary vary, but generally online meetings should be a maximum of 30 minutes and your points or demo should be covered in less than 10 minutes. It’s always easier to go into more detail on those points, rather than rush through. We, as humans, are generally not built to focus on one thing for long stints without a break. Honestly, think of the last time you managed to keep 100% focus for an hour, it’s far too easy to get distracted, especially when working from home.
4. Consider your audience, who are they? What is their level of knowledge? Do they love detail or the bigger picture? If you can’t answer all those questions, you are starting with the basics! My favourite saying, as a trainer is; “would my Granny understand this?”, not because the person needs it watering down or isn’t capable of grasping what you are talking about, but because we forget that every person’s interpretation of a topic is different. Start at the bottom and work your way up, in bite-sized amounts, to ensure you are all on the same page.
“Simple and to the point is always the best way to get your point across.”
5. Introducing everyone on the call is vital with new relationships, but it is also very important with existing ones. It sets the scene and highlights anyone who hasn’t been able to attend.
6. Allow casual conversation at the beginning of your call, this helps break the ice and generally means relationships can grow. At the current time, many of us have moved from interactive office environments to isolated home working, allow for this time to look after yours and others mental health and wellbeing – we’re all in this together!
7. Call monitor & action takers are a great way to engage your audience in a session. Ask someone to be an action taker and monitor, so they can help keep things moving forward if the session starts to go off topic and ensure all action points are recorded. Actions should then be confirmed and agreed by everyone at the end of the call – plus, don’t forget to share them!
8. Asking everyone to mute ‘actively’ will stop noise distractions but encourage everyone to stay engaged. We’ve probably all been on mute at some point in a meeting and been distracted by something else and in fact, stopped listening. As hosts try and ask regular questions to the group and test to see if everyone is still with you.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
9. Make sure you’re in the right setting, it’s easy to have hundreds of distractions working from home. In my case, it’s my cats who seem to want to join me at the most inappropriate moment! Try to have a dedicated area for working at home. Of course, not everyone has a spare room for an office, but as a minimum you should be sat at a table, with good lighting, clean and clear of clutter.
10. Turn your camera on at the beginning and end of any meeting, it allows everyone to connect, ensures everyone’s attention and it’s always nice to put a face to a name. Yes, it will also mean that you’ll need to get out of your PJs and be ready for the day! 😉 But having a good morning routine has a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing, especially if you ever feel isolated when working from home.
To sum up, treat an online meeting with the same respect as a face to face meeting, while also being aware that 99% of people are more likely to get distracted in an online session. So, keep them short, to the point and plan them well. Whether you are hosting or attending a meeting, by following some of these simple tips, you can help improve your online delivery and make any meeting more productive, but also improve your own wellbeing and focus when working from home.
I hope you’ve found this blog useful, if you would like to contact us to find out more or have any suggestions of topics you would like us to debunk, Click Here.
Katie’s cat, also working from home!