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Making Video Conferences More Efficient – Tips for Better Online Meetings 2/4

Online video conference illustrated on laptop with 12 participants


An online meeting wants to be well prepared. To help you organize better meetings, we’ll give you a few tips in this post.

Due to the ongoing Corona pandemic, many meetings continue to take place online. Even after the pandemic, it is likely that online meetings will continue to be implemented as they offer many benefits.

In our last article in this series “Making Video Conferences more efficient – Tools for Online Meetings”, we already introduced you to the right tools.


Define the Goal of the Meeting

First, ask yourself what the purpose of the meeting is. For example, do you want to inform about a topic and give an update on a project or is there a direct problem that needs to be solved? Also, consider how and by when the decided goal will be achieved.

The goal of the meeting should already be clear from the invitation that is sent to all participants. This way the team is informed and can also prepare well for the meeting.


Plan the Agenda

An agenda will structure your online meeting and increase the effectiveness of the meeting. It is the common thread of your online meeting. Attach the agenda to your meeting invitation as well.

Your agenda should include the following items:

  • Who is attending the online meeting?
  • When and where will the meeting take place? If possible, you can already provide the access data for the first time here
  • Which points will be discussed and in which order?
  • How much time is set for the whole meeting and for the individual points?
  • Is there a break because the meeting is expected to last longer than an hour?


Set Meeting Rules

Each of the participants should know and follow the meeting rules. You can communicate these at the beginning of the meeting or include them in your invitation as well.

Rules can be as follows:

  • Start on time: Ask participants to check in on time. The meeting starts on time.
  • Quiet environment: No noise and please turn off the microphone when you are not speaking.
  • Turn on the camera and stay focused: This allows you to see who is listening intently or who is doing something else on the side. If you notice a person who is busy doing something else, you can call on the round to stay focused and read emails, etc. later.
  • Keep statements brief: Comments, questions, and statements should be brief and clear.
  • Let other participants finish


Assign Topics and Contributions

Ask participants to take an active part in the meeting. This will increase engagement and variety. Also, allow enough time for discussion sessions. This gives all team members a chance to present their views. During speaking and discussion sessions, keep track of the time allotted so that the time frame of the meeting is not blown.


Interaction – Include Inquiries or Quizzes

When the air is out or concentration is waning, polls and quizzes are good ways to lighten the mood. Participants are actively challenged, and you get an instant overview of knowledge and different opinions. With different tools you can create polls easily and and quickly, for example with Google Form or Mentimeter. Quizzes can also be created without much effort with Kahoot or Quiz-Star. In Zoom there is even an integrated possibility for short and spontaneous polls or votes.


Write a Protocol

Minutes provide the most important information about a completed meeting and document the results. It serves as a written summary and important reminder for all participants. Appoint a minute taker for each meeting to ensure that the workload is distributed fairly. The minutes are then emailed to all participants. The minutes are also very helpful for people who could not attend your meeting at short notice. In this way, discussed topics can be easily reworked.

With these tips, we wish you every success in planning and implementing future online meetings!

Responsible for the content of this article are Eva Tiede and Morgane Overath.

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