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4 Tips to Stop Wasting Time on Online Meetings

In an increasingly collaborative and global workforce, conference calls and online meetings are an essential, everyday activity for many. They let you meet when you’re not all in the same place, saving time and money on travel and increasing productivity. Sometimes conference calls are enough, but other times being able to share your screen is a must, which is where web conferencing, or online meetings, comes in. Sharing visual content with others on the call can be more effective – and faster – than trying to explain your point verbally. It keeps everyone on the same page and reduces ambiguity. So, online meetings should save you time, but if you encounter hard-to-use software or bad meeting etiquette, they can leave you frustrated. Here are 4 tips to stop wasting time on online meetings.

1. Make sure you know how to use it before the meeting

Web conferencing software can be feature-rich with a complicated, unintuitive user interface. If you’re running a meeting and you’re not comfortable using your web conferencing service, be sure to get comfortable in advance of the meeting, or you will waste time (and potentially incur embarrassment) during the meeting trying to figure out how to do what you want. Better yet, find a service that’s easy to use!

2. Send out a simple invite

Make sure that participants don’t need to think too hard about how to join your meeting, so choose a service that lets you send out a simple invite, ideally just containing a link to join the meeting (rather than needing a list of dial-in numbers, a separate link and long instructions). If people are unsure how to join, they will likely be late, or email/call you asking for help, all cutting into your productivity.

3. Make sure there are no downloads required to view

A lot of online meeting providers require participants to download software to be able to view what you’re sharing. If others on the call don’t already have this software downloaded before the meeting, they’ll be trying to download it during the meeting, which takes up valuable time, and may or may not be successful. So, unless you’re confident that everyone will have all the software already downloaded, use a service that doesn’t require participant downloads so that everyone will automatically be able to view your screen when you share it.

4. Treat it like any other business meeting

There can be a tendency to treat remote meetings with less reverence than face-to-face meetings, since you are not in each other’s presence and therefore not subject to the same scrutiny. Start times can be taken as suggestions and multitasking certainly increases. If left unchecked, this lack of focus can lead to less effective meetings which actually last longer than they need to. Instead, for effective, efficient online meetings, you need to be disciplined with some of the same meeting etiquette you observe for face-to-face meetings. So, be sure the meeting has a clear objective and involves the right people, be on time (and keep it on time) and end the meeting with an action plan.

For more posts on communicating effectively, check out:

Top 5 Tips to Stop Wasting Time on Conference Calls
Online Sales Meetings: 4 Tips to Keep Online Demos on Track
4 Tips for Communicating Across Multiple Time Zones

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