While we are delighted that we are allowed to get together with colleagues again, the Zoom meeting has become a standard part of our working lives. In 2021, we’ve got past the jokes about cocktails in coffee mugs and secret pyjama trousers, and it’s time to look at how we can make Zoom, Teams, Webex and other platforms work for us. If we’re to embrace this as a positive alternative and not just a stopgap, we all need to up our game. Outsourcing virtual meeting support is important, but so is the way we chair an online meeting.

Here are our five tips for improving virtual hosting skills.

Before the meeting…

  1. Outsource your Zoom support

If you’ve hosted an online meeting before, you probably know that you can’t resend meeting links and advise on keyboard shortcuts while you’re also chairing the meeting. Depending on the size of the meeting, and whether you will need breakout rooms and waiting rooms, it can be a good idea to outsource your Zoom support. That way, you have a dedicated person ready and waiting to troubleshoot and answer questions. They can also liaise with attendees separately from the meeting, minimising interruptions.

If you decide to outsource your Zoom support, remember to let your attendees know who to contact in the event of technical difficulties. It’s good customer service, particularly if you’ve invited people from other organisations to attend.

  1. Outsource your note-taking

An increasing number of clerks have by now developed the necessary skills to take notes during a Zoom meeting. Check that the person who administrates the meeting is confident taking notes in this way. If not, Zoom has a recording option, so the whole meeting can be recorded as a video and the note-taker can refer back to it. Alternatively, you could outsource to someone who has the right skills and experience.

During the meeting…

  1. Introduce everyone

At an in-person meeting, attendees will probably have met each other informally first, either in the lift or at the coffee machine! Zoom restricts that kind of interaction, so it’s important that everyone has the opportunity to introduce themselves.

  1. Make your expectations and intentions clear

If you want everyone to stay on mute until you invite them to speak, remember to make that clear at the start of the meeting. It’s also courteous to let attendees know if the meeting is being recorded. If you’d like people to use the chat function to raise their point, let them know. Or if you prefer them to use “raise hand,” be clear about it at the outset.

Most people can give more to the meeting if they know what’s expected of them – if they’re wondering how they can politely interrupt, they might forget the point they wanted to make!

After the meeting…

  1. Stay online and visible until the last attendee has logged off

It’s polite to the people who attended, and, depending on the meeting, it can also be an opportunity for a “water-cooler moment.” The trouble with homeworking is that every niggle becomes an issue because it can only be communicated in a formal way. But the end of the meeting can be an opportunity for an informal chat that could be more productive than dedicated email.

Outsource your Zoom support

Supporting businesses during virtual meetings was new for Get Ahead last year, but we’ve refined our skills and it’s rapidly becoming one of our most popular services. If you’ve got a meeting, conference or training session coming up, online support could help it run more smoothly. Get in touch today on 01483 332 220 to find out more.

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