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Part III

The Meeting

Most of us have participated in countless meetings. There were times we spent seated on our desk or discussion rooms having meetings all day. It is an important part of the exchange of needed information, discussion, and the formulation of the solution and/or closing of a deal. This is almost the same in online meetings. However, there is a little more that we must consider in conducting them. For those that are not used to meeting online, the predictable structure and content of regular meeting can provide a safe space to get used to conversing online.

In status meetings, we take note of the number of participants present. It is also similar to online meetings. The application can only cater to so many people during calls. Therefore, the ideal number of participants is four, six, and ten. It can equally cater to and facilitate member queries and participation. It gives them the freedom to express their opinions and discover common ground. It is also easier to navigate the online meeting platform with fewer people. Basic technical help and guidance can be disseminated faster, making everyone feel comfortable with the platform and all its uses.

Before starting the meeting, make sure everything is in order including the points of conversation. This will guide you throughout the meeting without going astray from important topics. It is also important that you inform the group if you are recording the meeting and for what purpose. Use the first couple of minutes to give everyone a chance to speak. For regular online meetings, you can develop questions that only require a one-word answer. You and the rest of the team can review the documents needed for the meeting. Screen-sharing is useful during this. Make sure that all documents are shared and can be viewed.

One of the common fears during the meeting is speaking up especially when there is tension or a prolonged moment of silence. Meetings that matter will include disagreements. Disagreements are part of teamwork and they can be useful, but they should lead to action. It is worth creating a space for individuals to stop and reflect when things are heated up. Silence can also be uncomfortable in meetings, but it is also necessary at times. The silence could be what the team members need to raise difficult issues. Remind everyone that its difficult for the organic to and fro conversations to work in the online space.

Before closing the meeting, check if anyone wants to add something. After this, you can summarize what you have achieved. There can also be a suggestion of an article o read or a reminder for the team about the upcoming events. For teams not used to meeting online, clarifications at the end of the meeting would be a good idea. The extra conversation with individuals can make a difference to how the team feels about the meeting. Once you are sure that everything is clear and understood, you can shut down your computer and take a well-deserved break. But its not only the meeting that we have to take care of. It is also the team itslef.