Getting Started with Online Meetings

Getting Started with Online Meetings

Online meetings can be a fantastic productivity tool when used and facilitated appropriately. If you are just getting started with an online meeting, these guidelines will help you make the most of your digital time with your team. 

Select an online meeting tool. There are many to choose from. Zoom, Join Me, GoToMeeting, etc. Each has its own set of benefits. Some will offer interactivity options to help you make the best use of your time. Most of them offer a free trial or month to month billing so you can try it out and then decide. 

Once you have selected a tool and tested it out, you're ready to host a meeting! 

We recommend the first meeting be "How to Do Online Meetings". Help your workforce get comfortable with online meetings, test out their setup, the tool, and have fun doing it. If you can give folks a chance to be successfully connected, you won't waste time in your first (and subsequent) meeting getting folks up and running. 

  • Send everyone the vendor's "Getting Started Guide" that showcases the tools interface, buttons, features, etc. 
  • Schedule the meeting 
  • During the meeting - ask everyone to: 
    • Turn on and off mute 
    • Turn on and off their camera 
    • Change their participant name - all participants in a meeting should show up by name, not the phone number or "Name" 
    • Change between computer audio and phone audio 
    • Test out the interactivity - chat, whiteboard, draw on the screen, thumbs up/down, etc. Ask some funny poll questions to which they must respond using the tools. The larger your team, the more important these tools will become so you can make the most of your air time. 

Successfully connect to the meeting - have one or more people standing by to troubleshoot as needed via phone 

  • Discuss meeting expectations 
    • Prepare for the meeting by reading the agenda and pre-meeting materials 
    • Arrive early to test your technology, every time 
    • No food 
    • Stay on must unless you are speaking; know the facilitator will mute you if your background noise is disruptive 
    • Video? Is that expected every time? Can they choose? Let them know 
    • What they should do if they need to drop off? We recommend sending a chat message to the facilitator only so it doesn't distract all participants. 
    • Meeting notes - let them know you will designate a scribe that will take notes and then email them out after the meeting so folks can focus on the meeting 
  • If necessary, schedule another meeting for those who were not able to successfully join so they have a successful experience before they are expected to connect to a real meeting.

When you are ready to schedule your first real meeting, keep the agenda light, so in case it takes a bit of time to get everyone connected your agenda is not thrown off. Congratulate your team on a successful meeting and thank them for their participation. Encouragement will go far when learning new technology.