The Internet now makes it easier than ever for businesses to connect with people around the world. While this opens up many new avenues and opportunities, it can make communications expensive if you travel regularly for face-to-face meetings or lengthy if you rely on emails.
Whether you need to speak to remote employees, international customers, or vendors across the country, Skype is the business communication tool that can keep things simple and personal while saving everyone time and money.
The key to running a successful business meeting on Skype is simply being prepared. While you can’t prepare for all technical setbacks and glitches, there are many ways you can prepare to mitigate interruptions and keep your attendees engaged, here are our top tips:
Create a group list with everyone’s Skype ID
The first thing to do is make sure you have the correct Skype ID for everyone who will be attending the virtual meeting and put them on a new group list. In this way, you can call everyone at once quickly and easily throughout the day.
Make it clear who’s calling who
To avoid confusion, make it clear in the meeting invitation that you will call everyone to avoid receiving multiple calls just when the meeting is due to start.
Set start and end times (and consider time zones)
Carefully consider the timing of your meeting if you are including people in different time zones. Set a start and end time for the meeting that you know you can realistically stick to.
Create and spread an agenda
To avoid a stereotypical “pointless” meeting, make sure you have an agenda in advance of the meeting and circulated it with the invitation so everyone has time to think about the points being discussed. It is a great idea to try to involve everyone involved in the agenda to keep people alert and engaged.
If you’re online early, it gives you time to resolve any issues you or other attendees have with microphones, Wi-Fi connections, or webcams before start time to avoid wasting precious time on setup.
During the meeting
Use video if possible
While it may not always be possible for everyone to use video, it is good to encourage it whenever possible. It’s so much easier to keep meeting attendees engaged if everyone can see each other – not only does it make the experience more personal, but it also makes people less likely to give in to distractions.
Turn off distractions
On the topic of distractions, be sure to minimize any distractions by choosing a quiet room to call the meeting in and closing your emails during the session. There’s nothing more annoying than an intriguing-looking email that rings at the bottom of the screen when you’re in the middle of a sentence.
Decide actions on the call
To avoid turning your meeting into a lot of talk followed by little action, be sure to allow time in the call to decide what action will be taken as a result of the meeting. Once the actions have been decided, you can discuss who will be responsible for each and when they can be reasonably completed.
After the conference
Distribute notes and agreed actions
Finally, to tie everything very well and for the sake of total clarity, it is useful to send a copy of the minutes of the meeting and the agreed actions to all attendees.