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Social distancing: Running effective online meetings

In unprecedented times, businesses must adapt to remain productive.  If face-to-face meetings are a key part of your daily business operation, here are some tips to take your meetings online with minimal disruption.

Find the best system for you.
There's a range of free or low-cost platforms, including GoToMeeting, ezTalks,, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and TeamViewer.

Before you choose one, consider:  

  • How many people generally attend your meetings?
  • Do you require screen share functionality?
  • How many meetings do you run? (If it’s a lot, a small monthly subscription may pay off due to better functionality)

Schedule your meeting.
Depending on your chosen system, consider how you schedule your online meetings. It may be that you include a link generated by your system into an email calendar invitation.  However you do it, make it easy for your meeting attendees to be reminded of the meeting and access the meeting at the time.

Check your tech.
Do you need a webcam (usually built into laptops) or an audio headset?  These are a must for any online meeting. Communicate the need for this technology to your meeting attendees, and if required consider completing a quick online tech-check before the first meeting.

Set a clear agenda.
Like any face-to-face meeting, you’ll need a well-structured agenda to follow.  You’ll also need to specify the time a length of the meeting, and respect this.  Decide who will take minutes, define the next steps, and if appropriate -   BAMFAM (Book a meeting, from a meeting).

Does it need a meeting?
These unfortunate times act as a friendly reminder that some meetings can be emails.  Consider using free tools such as Loom to document a longer and more engaging message in a video to send via email.  The recipient can view the video multiple times before responding, resulting in a more considered reply.

Online meetings have been a great tool for global businesses for some time; maybe it’s time for your business to adopt online meetings as part of social distancing.  They also create capacity for you to do other, more productive, things through reduced time spent travelling to face-to-face meetings.

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