Web Conferencing Best Practices: Tips for those new to working remotely
At Yellow Brick, our team travels across the country helping healthcare organizations activate new facilities. Typically, we are onsite one week per month and then manage remotely for the balance of the month. As we all are contending with unprecedented circumstances, the Yellow Brick team thought we would take the opportunity to share with you our tips and best practices for managing remote meetings.
We recognize that some of you have already mastered web conferencing and have been working this way regularly, so we encourage you all to have patience and assist the team members within your organization who may be struggling. For those who are new to this world, we have all been there. Over the years, we have had our fair share of hiccups and lessons learned to get us to this point, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help from your team as you navigate this unfamiliar territory.
We surveyed our team for best practices to make the process seamless and below is a summary of how to make the most of your remote meetings.
Before the call
- Best practice #1: Find a quiet place in your home or workplace – background noise is very distracting, and you’d be surprised at how much is picked up by your microphone.
- Best practice #2: Test your microphones and headset with a buddy to ensure your voice comes in clearly and without an echo. Often, you may need to adjust your settings on your computer or the platform that you are using to get the clearest sound.
- Best practice #3: If you have never used the link or platform before, test the link at least 15 minutes before the meeting to ensure that you are familiar with the platform and can access the meeting- this will help to avoid delays in getting started.
- Best practice #4: If you are presenting, distribute the meeting materials prior to the meeting. Ensure documents are clearly titled and have page numbers for reference. This will enable participants to reference the meeting documents if they have any issues viewing the live web conference.
During the call
If leading the meeting
- Best practice #1: At the beginning of the meeting, instruct participants to please go on mute unless speaking to reduce distractions.
- Best practice #2: If taking attendance, use the attendee list and either do a quick roll call or ask people to check in alphabetically by first or last name.
- Best practice #3: Speak clearly and slowly so everyone can hear. Speak as if the person that you are speaking to isn’t fluent in your language. Plan pauses during the meeting to allow for comment. Moderate the comments to allow all team members to speak, and then move on.
- Best practice #4: Make the meeting lively and interactive. Share media and visuals to keep your participants engaged and to appeal to those visual learners in the group.
- Best practice #5: Assign one person to take notes and reserve five minutes at the end of the meeting to review action items. Bullets with action items, responsible parties, and due dates are best when a quick turnaround is required.
- Best practice #6: Record the meeting. If the meeting warrants follow-up and clear communication, record the meeting and send the link with the follow-up email. If you are recording the session, ensure that you communicate this to participants at the beginning of the meeting so that they are aware that they are being recorded.
- Best Practice #7: Allow for quick roll call at the end of the meeting to ensure everyone has had an opportunity to speak and ask questions.
If participating in the meeting
- Best practice #1: When joining the meeting, announce yourself and then go on mute until you need to speak. The mute button is in different places based on the platform, so when you join the meeting, confirm the location of the mute button.
- Best practice #2: Set time aside for the meeting and avoid the urge to multitask. Act as if you are in the room with everyone and focus on the meeting.
- Best practice #3: Have a pen and paper handy or electronic method to take notes. Write down questions that arise so you can circle back to them at the end of the meeting.
After the call
- Best practice #1: Send a meeting summary by the end of the day with action items and deliverables, due dates and responsible person(s). Include any attachments or links to the meeting for those who were unable to participate. Closed-loop communication is something our team prioritizes, and by providing a summary quickly to participants, you reinforce what was said and heard.
- Best practice #2: Establish a shared cloud or web-based workspace and ensure the responsible team has access to the materials. We recommend setting up a standard folder structure and using a file naming convention that is consistently used by the team, so they can find they quickly maneuver and find the documents they need. Check with your IT department or your project management teams, as they typically have a standard method to save files and retrieve them.
We hope these tips help you navigate this new world. Feel free to contact us with any questions at [email protected]