With the increasing mobility of today’s work force, online meetings are becoming an integral part of many businesses’ operations. Smartphones and laptops mean that employees can work virtually from any location with an internet connection. With the increasing mobility of today’s work force, online meetings are becoming an integral part of many businesses’ operations. Smartphones and laptops mean that employees can work virtually from any location with an internet connection. On top of that, expansion of companies into different regions around the world means that virtual communication is key to continued success. Virtual meetings, of course, present their own unique set of challenges. Fortunately, with a few simple adjustments to typical procedures and the proper technology, it’s easy to maintain efficiency when conducting business online. These three simple changes can make a huge difference in the outcome of an online conference.
1. Adjusting the environment to focus group attentionAttention spans are shrinking fast according to recent research, and lengthy virtual communications can challenge even the most focused employee. One way to combat distractions during online meetings is to transform the office environment. Huddle workspaces are gaining popularity as they redefine the office energy and increase group collaboration and productivity. Constructing a more dynamic, group-oriented office environment with the proper technology can help to refocus group attention. As this style of office organization can significantly increase team productivity and coordination, it is beneficial for much more than just focusing group attention during seminars and presentations.
2. Using file-sharing software to dispense relevant informationOrganization can mean the difference between a successful and productive meeting and a complete waste of time (both in-person and online). File-sharing software enables groups to share and view documents with each other simultaneously. At least 24 hours ahead of time, a pre-planned agenda can be easily shared with every participant to ensure that everyone is on the same page and focused on a unified goal. Any documents that will be relevant to the group discussion points should be collected and shared with each participant for their review before the start of the meeting.
3. Getting the proper technology to support the group’s needsConducting an efficient discussion among team members living in different cities requires proper technology. Travel costs can be drastically reduced with the effective use of telecommunication technology. Unfortunately, too many virtual conferences are interrupted because of poor network connections or unreliable video or audio tools. Valuable time and energy can be wasted in these circumstances, hurting the bottom line. Procuring the right equipment and knowing how to properly use it will make a huge difference. Audio tools, the speakers and microphones, should transmit clear and consistent sound without picking up excess background noise. Still, audio is not enough. Without the video component, online meetings can be difficult to follow. Problems develop as people lose track of who is speaking and to whom they are addressing. Often, questions become redundant as they are continuously repeated for clarification and the group’s focus may dwindle. Both audio and visual components of telecommunication are important for the successful transfer of ideas. With the right tools and an innovative mindset, virtual conferencing is one of the most effective ways to boost group collaboration and a company’s overall productivity.