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Online Meetings: Questions to Consider Part 1

Online meetings can be a forum for lack of engagement, multitasking and frustrating technical issues OR they can be an efficient and effective way to work together in teams and coalitions.  When you host an online meeting, you need to know your meeting’s purpose, maximize participation and be productive. Join me this week as we reflect on three questions to consider as you lead your next online meeting.

  1. Why are you meeting? This is an important question for every meeting whether it is online or in person. If you haven’t yet downloaded my free ebook on “How to Lead Your Best Meeting Yet” click here. There are principles that can be applied to online meetings as well.  For online meetings, this is particularly important because of my post from last week. There are SO many distractions. We need to get a clear sense of why we are meeting and what we want to accomplish during this meeting first. It’s easy for us to try to do accomplish different things during a meeting (online or in person) but when we do, we may run out of time for good discussion or miss the most important reason we are meeting. When we are really clear on why we are meeting, it helps our participants know what to expect and to stay more engaged. Keep it simple. Knowing folks have a short attention span, consider addressing one or two things and consider scheduling your meeting for 30 minutes (instead of an hour) in order to maximize participation and engagement.  
  2. Who needs to be part of the meeting?  Is this a small group or large group? This question follows naturally on the first question focused on why you are meeting. Once you know why you are meeting and what you want to accomplish, you can consider who needs to be part of the meeting. If you want to focus on developing or editing a document or resource, I recommend keeping the meeting small and include only those who can provide active engagement in the process. Then, you can host a larger meeting for review and discussion.  If you want to provide a training or resources, you may want to have a larger meeting that includes less discussion and more presentation (with chat options). If you are focused on why you are meeting and then you are focused on who needs to be part of the meeting, people will be more likely to actively participate in your meetings because they know it’s a good use of their time.
  3. Have you scheduled a time for the meeting that allows for maximum participation?  Once you know “why” and “who,” it’s important to ask the people you want to meet with you if that time/date works for them. Rather than picking a time that works for you and hoping people will join, consider sending a brief electronic survey to find out preferences on days, times and even methods for meeting.  Then you can provide advance notice based on the most preferred time. Another option (particularly if it’s a small group) is to do a “doodle poll,” but this depends upon your “who.” I know several of my partners and colleagues have become weary with doodle polls so you may want to try to keep things really simple and email out a couple of dates/times. If you are planning a large online meeting (likely a webinar), consider emailing a few of your key leaders who can help you know if your proposed date/time conflicts with any other major events. While there are many ways you can assess your team or coalitions availability, the key point here is to ask them. Find a simple way to determine the best dates/times for the “who” you want to include in your next online meeting!

Join me next week for more questions to ask and also a link to a new freebie focused on online meetings!  

Which of these questions or considerations have helped you the most in your recent online meetings?

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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