Virtual meeting management is a skill. It requires understanding the technology and using it competently, as well as being knowledgeable enough to guide your executive, team members, and other meeting attendees through the process.
I conduct many virtual meetings each month – from one-on-one calls with my team to webinars with attendees from all over the world. I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s almost second nature to me, but I still have documented procedures that I use each and every time. (You can download a sample checklist I use to conduct my webinars here.)
When conducting a virtual event, it’s important that it runs as smoothly and successfully as possible. The best way to do that is to get comfortable using the tools your organization uses to conduct the meeting, and learn as much about them as possible. Then document your procedures so you and others can follow them each and every time you need to set up and orchestrate a virtual meeting.
The following are some of my top tips to help you better prepare for virtual meetings.
- Download the PDF user guide for the meeting platform you use. Pull out the most relevant pages to use in running the meeting, and keep them in your procedures binder for quick access. You may also want to print out a copy to keep next to the phones and computers you use for the meeting, and send them to attendees ahead of time so they can familiarize themselves with the process.
- Create a virtual meeting startup and shut down checklist. The startup checklist will include everything you need to do in order to initiate and oversee the meeting once it’s set up in your online booking tool. It should include a check box for “start recording” so you don’t forget. The shutdown checklist should include everything that needs to happen immediately following your virtual event, such as converting the recording into an MP4, loading it to a shared team folder so that others can access it, notifying people who couldn’t attend the meeting to fill them in on important details or directing them to the recording, etc.
- Whenever possible, test the system with the presenters ahead of time so you all know how the technology works, and what to expect when using it. This will help you troubleshoot conditions like poor lighting or audio before your attendees arrive. It can also help you get comfortable with where and when to advance slides, show your webcam, screenshare, etc.
- Communicate best practices with attendees in advance of the event, or include it with your meeting invites, to help participants know what to expect and how to get the best audio and video quality possible. Some tips you may want to pass along include:• Use a wired phoneline with a headset for best audio quality.
• Avoid using the speakerphone – opt for computer earphones or headsets, instead.
• Instructions on how to mute and unmute the line.
• Pointers on how to ask questions or join in a chat.
- Be prepared to troubleshoot throughout the meeting. If a call is disconnected, you need to have instructions for your attendee on how to get back on as soon as they can. If there’s a problem with audio or video, it’s important that you can walk them through logging out and back in. Know that recordings aren’t foolproof – a crucial meeting may need a backup recording option or someone taking detailed notes – just in case. The better you know the platform you use, the easier it will be to troubleshoot common problems and deal with them quickly.
For admins just getting into virtual meeting management, the process can seem complicated. But when you document and follow your procedures, learn about the technology you’re using, ensure your attendees and presenters know what to expect, and prepare yourself to troubleshoot, you’ll be a more organized and professional virtual meeting manager!
© 2018 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.