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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
Jess Stratton here and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers,. I'm sure you've participated in some online meetings before. But if not, it usually involves seeing all the other meeting participants in a list on one side of your screen and maybe in the middle you can see everybody's webcams. Or perhaps just the participant's screen so you can look and see what they are seeing. But what happens when it's your turn to chair the meeting? You initiated the meeting so you own it. This video is all about giving you some leadership methods that you can do to help you run a very smooth and efficient online meeting.
I'm also going to cover some ways that you can effectively communicate with all the participants to keep everybody happy and things running along as efficiently as possible. There's a lot to cover, so let's get started. The first thing that you could do is to tell all participants right away to mute their microphones unless they're talking. You can also advise participants right away that there will be a Q&A after the meeting, so people don't feel like they have to ask the question immediately. Now if you want to be really efficient, try and anticipate their needs and head off questions before they get asked.
Remember when I said a good tip is to tell all the participants to mute their phones unless talking. Add a sentence after that to tell them how to do it. We're anticipating their question in need that a lot of them aren't going to know how to mute those microphones. So say something like, before we start if I could ask everyone to please mute their microphones by clicking the Microphone icon next to you name at the top right of the screen. If you're calling in by phone, you can usually find that mute button once you move the phone away from your face. Always start the meeting on time.
Don't waste everyone's time who got there when the meeting was supposed to start. And remember, all that does is enable people to be late the next time and it shows no consequence for those that were late. It also punishes those who were on time for your meeting. The same goes for catching them up when they arrive. You'll be tempted but the end result is the same. Instead, you can quickly say, you can catch up when we send out the meeting minutes. Or even find some one here after and ask them to catch you up. You just don't want to train them to be late to your meetings.
This is going to train them to know that you start your meetings on time. Here's some more. If you plan the meeting remember you own it. Send out a reminder email to all participants the morning of the meeting. When it's time to start, take charge, and use those very powerful words, let's begin. This tells everybody that the meeting is about to start. Somebody has to do it. It's your meeting, and you're the one that can officially start it on time. Now, sometimes a topic can drag on a bit too long or there's some more go-between and it turns into an irrelevant discussion for everybody else to listen to.
It could also be a discussion that can easily continue after the meeting. So is the meeting owner, you need to be able to cut in with a, I think we've used enough time on this topic, we can either have another meeting to discuss it. Or you can talk about it after the meeting's over. Let's move on. You can be diplomatic but be firm and always very polite. The key though is to be firm. So, I think I've given you enough for one day. So go forth and have productive meetings. I think you'll find that if you can handle these few little pieces of advice I've given you, you'll be much more confident in your meetings.
And everybody will have a great meeting because it's efficient and you're confident and you're in control.
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