Most of us have been involved in an online meeting and they can tend toward the unremarkable end of the (not usually remarkable) meeting scale.

The upheaval we are all going through at the moment means we need to up our online meeting game, the trouble is, there are no free Hobnobs in cyberspace to encourage attendance. So, what are some of the things that you can do to make your online meetings a little more attractive to your colleagues?

A wise person once told me “No agenda, no attenda” and this is probably the most often overlooked but important part of any meeting, online or otherwise. People generally like to know what is going on and if sent with enough notice, can give them time to think about the agenda items instead of giving an off the cuff answer when they are sprung on them.

1.  Set an agenda and circulate prior to the meeting.

2.  Setup the call in advance with a clickable link in a calendar invite, also a good place to put the agenda. We use Microsoft Teams, but Zoom, Google Hangouts and Adobe Connect are also options.

3.  Tell everyone how long the call will take and stick to it.

4.  Insist on videos being on to mirror IRL interaction.

5.  Make your meeting interactive – do an icebreaker, talk about what you can see behind people in their home or office, make it fun!

6.  Encourage everyone to get involved by using the chat function.

7.  Mute your calls when you are not speaking.

8.  Have someone take notes on next steps and actions. If it is a regular meeting, rotate this responsibility around the team. Have a section for any items that come up that were not on the agenda so they can be noted and not interfere with the call timings.

9.  FOLLOW UP! Have the note taker summarise their notes and send out action items to all team members.

10.   If time allows, try and finish a few minutes early – everyone loves a bit of time to reset before their next thing.

Organisations necessarily move meetings online with social distancing, it may even become the norm so it is more important than ever to know how to execute virtual meetings seamlessly.