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Top 10 Online Meeting Etiquette Tips In COVID times

Stuart Harper, cloudThing, Chief Operating Officer

Many of us find ourselves working from home but still need to collaborate with our teams, our customers and our end users.

Currently the world’s in a state of quarantine. 

Many of us find ourselves remote working whilst still needing to collaborate with our teams, our customers and our end users on a meaningful and ‘human’ basis.

 

Fortunately, the world’s never been better prepared to undertake this new way of working; with the tooling we’ve seen materialise over the last few years, the internet connectivity and the general cultural alignment to an online world. 

The net results?

When you must work from home it’s entirely possible to do so without reducing productivity, in fact we can actually look to redefine our ways of working to improve productivity!

However…

When working from home for the first time it’s far too easy to find yourself in endless meetings, of debatable value (to you at least), not able to escape to deliver.

 

To help combat this we're going to be talking about how to stay productive with connected Enterprise Agile techniques that not only are we using internally but which we encourage all our clients to adopt.

Teach The Technology

In this online connected world don't assume all people will understand the video conferencing system you’re using.

If you’re talking to this person for the first time, spend a few moments at the start of the call letting them know about it.

If it requires a download, let them know in advance to avoid meetings starting late.

 

Pro Tip: If you continually hear "sorry, it was the tech" you’ve not followed step one!

Think In 15 Minute Chunks

Constantly challenge meeting durations.

Meeting's should rarely be a place to do the work, they should be there to report on or make decisions about work already done.

Microsoft Outlook defaults to 30 minutes but really think if that long is needed.

Conversely book longer if needed.

With our diaries getting fuller it's also important to let the meeting have the breathing space it needs.

Bottom line, ask the audience at the end if the meeting was meaningful and if the duration was appropriate so you can be Agile about future meetings.

Have A Meeting POO

Toilet humour aside, all meetings should have a:

 

  • Purpose: Why have the meeting? How does it fit with the groups remit?
  • Objective: By the end of the meeting, what are you looking to achieve? A decision? An asset? Assignment of work?
  • Outcome: What documents or assets need to be done off the back off the meeting and how are you going to track this?

 

Adding this clarity makes meetings transparent and allows people to ensure they’re relevant to the conversation (see next point)

Leave Meetings That Aren't Relevant

Simply put, it's not rude to leave a meeting that isn't relevant to you; it's rude to make someone stay who isn't.

With people working from home it's possible people will schedule more meetings to get things done; just make sure your audience is as small as possible to complete your POO

Limit Your Audience

Challenge yourself… What’s the minimum number of people you can invite to achieve your POO and who would they be?
A rule of thumb coined by Jeff Bezos… Don't schedule meetings you couldn’t feed with two virtual pizza's.

An easy way to achieve this is by limiting your audience to those you’ll actually be able to see in the Microsoft Teams video display thumbnails.

Let Your Introvert's Contribute

Introvert's and Extravert's behaviour differently; (if this is news to you watch out for future blog around engaging your audience successfully!).

Introvert's have amazing ideas but on group calls they tend not to speak.

Make sure you’re reaching out to them, giving them time to think and letting them come back later in the call with the answer.

If you’ve someone on the call it's because you value their opinion, let them voice it.

Video Rocks!

Order of preference for any meeting should be:

  • In person (well this won't work at the moment!)
  • Video Conference
  • Telephone Conference
  • Telephone Call
  • Everything Else

Always think before sending an email or chat.

If you think it'll be a long conversation easier solved by talking… then talk!

Have A Fall-Back Plan

Expect your tech to fail and have a backup plan.

Maybe that’s a spare headset, a UPS or maybe that's a different meeting solution in case your teams call fails.
Confused? Reach out to our super friendly team… they'll be happy to help!

Always Have A Chair

The meeting will have been called for a reason.

Which reason depends on who should Chair, but all meetings should have one to engage the audience, make a call on decisions and set the agenda.

Record Your Meeting

Most video conferencing and telco conferences allow recording… Especially Microsoft Teams.

Make sure you turn it on so that people who missed it can catchup and so you can play it back if needed rather than distracting yourself by taking hastily scrawled notes (but don't forget to gain everyone's consent on the call before you do start recording!)

Not ready to get back to work yet?

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