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How to make the most out of remote meetings

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

One thing that we are now all much more used to - remote meetings. In fact TCS has been used to this for some time but like face to face meetings there are rules of engagement. This list is neither exhaustive or complete but it is my view of what I think you should do to get more from this way of woking. One of the key points is that we get right into the meeting rather than the usual drinks and small talk. When faced with this new reality there should be some professional courtesy shown between attendees without leaving a blank space and ensuring you have a clear and concise chairperson.


Setup.

Always give yourself time to prepare for the meeting or to be prepared for the meeting, if you are late or if you have a day full or some urgent matters to deal with you may not be able to keep control of the diary so get your setup right.


Backgrounds.

Sometimes backgrounds work, others don't, they take extra bandwidth so if your bandwidth is slow then you may need to consider either switching the camera off or keeping your real background shown. If you do keep a real background the most effective I have seen is a plain wall rather than a busy display of your life, it takes the focus off you.


WFH Rules.

There are some un-written rules about working from home, but now it is different so if like me your dog barks or you get 20 deliveries each day fear not. Make arrangements to be clear about what may happen at the outset of the meeting and be clear about the potential hiccups along the way. it makes it easier and in fact less stressful when any of the other issues come your way.


Structure.

Every meeting needs a good structure and a reason for you to be in it. Make sure that where you can you share an agenda or some slides ahead of the meeting. If you need participants to contribute, make sure that you have no disputes before you arrive as disagreements in an online meeting can be interesting to watch but disruptive for the flow.


Minutes.

Common sense really, take minutes as they are important and if you are working in a project you'll need to follow up the actions that have been allocated in the meeting. Share the minutes and make the individuals who are involved accountable for the actions they have otherwise they will not deliver them and when you next update you're left in a difficult position (see Structure)


Respect.

The overriding rule for all online meetings is showing respect for your colleagues, don't speak over someone and don't shout, you will get your turn, be constructive and assertive if required, to make your point. The physical space is replaced by a virtual one but the impact is the same if you don't show the right level of respect it will not be shown to you in return.


Agreed Outcomes.

When you have a good and constructive meeting and you have agreed the outcomes, align with your colleagues so that you are all clear on what you have agreed. You will be able to define what you will do to meet the agreed deadline and don't leave anything to chance or anything incomplete or without a timescale. .


Next Steps.

Simple, unless it is a one off meeting always agree the next steps and always allow the team to provide feedback in the forum of the meeting. Allow, in turn, each of them to have their comments and opinions heard and accepted before you conclude the meeting. SS


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