The Month of March 2020 will forever in history be recorded as when there was a
sudden spike in the use of Online Meeting Apps. The reason is not far fetched as
Covid-19 almost grounds the world to a halt in business activities, alternating means
have to be discovered while observing the mandatory Social distance.
Since more people now have to work remotely we have turned to Apps such as
Zoom, Free Conference Calls, Skype, Google Hangout, WhatsApp, OnSip etc to try
to get the business going. It is therefore important to give some tips on how to use
these correctly so that we don’t leave each other displeased with the non verbal
Here are some tips for making an effective and efficient conference call.
Send Notice Ahead: it is important to treat online meetings with agenda as a regular
meeting because discussions and agreements are official and legally binding. This
enables participants to prepare ahead – such as download the App if need be, check
their ear & mouthpiece, clear calendar, get the documents / references for the
meeting ready etc.
Confirm your Presence: When you join an online meeting it is important to
introduce yourself or you are introduced especially when the participants are not
your team members Even if the App will show the number of participants ensure
you register your presence with a comment or something especially if you joined the
Reduce or Eliminate Disruptions: It is disrespectful to others in the same call when
there are audible interruptions from someone’s end especially the type that can be
managed ahead e.g. loud ring tones friendly neighbour, screaming kids etc its only
fair to keep such interruptions away from your meeting as these will not likely happen
if you were physically in a meeting room. If you however have disruptions, then
apologize and ensure it doesn’t reoccur.
Be Present: Don’t just join the call because you are scheduled to be part of it and
nothing else. While you may want to multitask in order to optimise your time it is
important that you confirm your presence by contributing to the conversation when
the opportunity presents itself. There must have been a value expected from you to
have been invited for the meeting, this can’t happen if you are silent.
Be Audible: While you may be soft spoken remember that all attendees are relying
on technology to transmit the information to them, so if you have to increase the
intensity of your voice do it just for the period of the meeting. What you don’t want is
attendees asking you to repeat yourself over and over or you are being lectured on
how to use your microphone properly during the meeting.
Don’t Dominate the meeting: While you may be the host or you may naturally have
a deep voice you need to consciously not dominate the conversation all through the
meeting. This will be counter productive as you may not achieve any significant thing
since all attendees just have to agree with you so the meeting can come to an end.
Keep Meeting Official: Don’t fall for the temptation of drifting very far from the
objective and the Agenda of the meeting. There may be many other matters to
discuss, be disciplined enough to keep all matters official. Also do not make any
matter personal, disagreements may occur but it is important to take your official
position as opposed to turning it into a personality bout.
Recap agreements before closing: Before the meeting officially ends, ensure there
is a clear establishment of all that was agreed and the next steps to take. No
attendee would be happy to have spent time in a meeting with no cogent outcome.
Proper goodbyes can follow after agreements are established.