The general rules of face-to-face meetings apply to video conference calls and to voice-only calls, with a few extras to ensure effective and productive meetings where everyone is clear at to the outcomes.
10 tips for effective conference, video and multi-media conferencing
1. Write your agenda and circulate to all attendees well in advance of the meeting. Focus on the positive points to be covered first and then any challenges and possible solutions.
2. If attendees are to review any information prior to the meeting, make it clear what is expected of them and send it out in good time.
3. Try out the technology available to you in advance so that you feel comfortable when it comes to the meeting. Ensure you have made use of any training available to you to ensure you get the most out of your meeting.
4. Run to time. We all know that time is precious and a well managed meeting should keep to time and any off point discussions be taken offline at a later date.
5. Run through housekeeping with your participants, e.g. when to go on mute, when to ask questions, how any action points will be distributed following the meeting.
6. Encourage participation by all the people taking part in the call, but remember when to rein discussions back in and take control to keep the meeting on track.
7. Ask for any questions at the end and either answer them there and then or schedule a time following the call.
8. Do a re-cap at the end of the call to ensure everyone is clear of their actions and the key decisions or points made. You may want to summarise this in an email straight after the meeting.
9. This may seem obvious but be conscious of your environment. Try and cut down on background noise, ensure that you have good lighting so that people can see you clearly, speak clearly and try and stay fairly still!
10. If anyone is delayed in joining the meeting make sure you feel comfortable and can fill the gap in with some small talk. After all, this is what we would do in a real, live, face-to-face meeting.