In present days video meetings are the new normal, as teams are no longer working together in the same office. Also, you’re just as likely to be working with someone in a different part of the country or world as you are with someone in a different part of the office.

Virtual meetings may be a regular part of a team’s everyday workflow, but making them perfectly efficient can be a head-scratcher.Though these meetings can pose a few challenges, they can be just as effective as face to face meetings if they’re run properly. Here are some useful tips for running a successful virtual meeting free.

 

Tips to Run a Virtual Meeting Smoothly for Free

An array of virtual meeting programs out there, but with some features that cost money. But if you need only to meet occasionally, the price tag may not be worth it.

You can use free virtual meeting programs that offer some excellent features that will cover for you. However, they lack certain bells and whistles compared with their paid counterparts but can still get the job done.

 

If it’s not necessary, don’t waste time on roll call

Roll call may be a waste of time and the fastest way to ensure that participants are disengaged. If you need a log of attendees, have each participant type their name on the chat window the time they logged on.

 

Set an agenda for a successful virtual meeting

When you are looking forward to a successful virtual meeting, you need to make things as simple and precise as possible. Keeping things on track by setting an agenda and sharing that with attendees at the beginning of the meeting is the first priority. You can put the agenda on a slide to use it as a visual reminder. And, you can always show the slide again as a reference to help attendees refocus when things get off track.

 

A clear meeting agenda may include these:

 

  • Key points to talk about
  • Structure of the meeting (when and how long each topic should take place)
  • Responsibility of each member or team to the meeting
  • Any relevant documents, files, or research
  • Presentation and decision-making conclusion

Meeting Etiquette you must know

Different meetings have different rules, but there are some necessary etiquette practices that everyone should follow to run a smooth virtual meeting. 

You should think of them as the must-do’s of an online meeting:

  • Introduce every attendee during the meeting, and give everyone a chance to contribute in the session
  • Don’t stare at your phone or other staffs while people are presenting
  • Don’t interrupt or speak over other people while they’re speaking 
  • Test all technology before the meeting starts (including internet connection, webcam, screen sharing and other features of the software you are using) 
  • Read the agenda, and come prepared
  • Don’t work on other tasks (like checking your social media feed or texting people) during the virtual meeting
  • You should turn off all notifications and make sure your cell phone is on silent mode
  • Make sure all the participants are in a quiet place and free from unnecessary distractions
  • Taking minutes will help the meeting to be fruitful for future decision making

 

Jump right into the main topic

After Briefly introducing yourself, thanking attendees for coming, you should share the agenda and jump right into the content of the meeting. The faster you can get the meeting started, the less likely it is for people’s minds to distract. It also shows respect for people’s time; they’ll be thankful for less fluff and more content.

 

Provide clear instruction about joining the meeting

It would be best if you made sure that participants have the proper login information before the meeting. Let them know if they’ll need to download any application. And let them know if the meeting requires a password. Also, provide instructions for basic things like presentation, screen sharing and muting audio. Please send all of this in an email or any platform you use for communication, then resend it minimum an hour before the meeting begins for easy access. It will be smoother if you allow for at least five minutes of troubleshooting at the beginning of the meeting for the first-timer.

 

A recurring link for login

If the meeting is a repeating occurrence, use the same login info every time. Which will save both the host and the attendees at least a few minutes each time as no one will have to search for new login info. 

Most platforms offer a virtual waiting room, which allows participants to log in at any time but you will need the permission of the host to enter into the meeting. This is very useful if you have back to back meetings. People will not be popping in and out without the host's permission in the middle of the meeting.

 

Top 5 free video conferencing software

These softwares have outstanding features offered for free which are simple and easy to use.

 

  1. Zoom
  2. Cisco Webex Meetings
  3. GoTo Meeting
  4. Join.me
  5. Google hangouts

Wrapping Up

Virtual meetings can be as much as effective as face to face meetings if you know maintain some meeting etiquettes and follow the rules. Many applications offer some amazing features to hold an effective virtual meeting for free. You should also know what platforms or tools to use and how to use it. Also, tracking the meeting and keynoting the events are essential for any kind of meeting to be successful.

Author's Bio: 

Daniel is a professional blogger and eLearning Industry Specialist.