Just like any event it is important to have good idea of who is going to do what. If you are used to a formal in-person meeting then moving to online can seem quite a challenge. While you do not have to think about booking a room or providing catering there are other things to consider.
Here are some question s to ask yourself with ideas to think about:
- Does someone usually lead the meeting? It is a good idea to have someone in the role of Master of Ceremonies. The MC’s job is to welcome everyone, check everyone is happy and then introduce the key states of the event. This person does not necessary need to be actively doing much, but they need to keep an eye on times. They might even spend a lot of the meeting sending chat messages to other participants.
- How much time will you need? When you are in-person it is easier to keep to timings. Online there can be delays and pauses when lots of people start at once. It should also be assumed that some of the presenters will get into a mess, so the running order has to be flexible.
- How many people will present? It is tempting to get everyone to show everything at the first meeting, but it is important to pace yourselves. Showing two or three pieces with a bit of detail, or ten minutes of PowerPoint is usually enough to expand based on questions. Remember that it becomes really easy to go back and re-show something or to stop and discuss a detail as you go through the material – all of which will eat into the time.
- What equipment do you need? At the moment kit is expensive and hard to get. It is always best if those presenting have a desktop PC along with a webcam and a headset with a microphone. Some of the better webcams have directional mics, but it’s best never to assume the quality. If a presenter has a laptop then the camera might not be as good quality and might need to be carefully positioned. Sometimes the earpiece that comes with a phone can be great for sound along with a laptop camera. If all else fails then people can use tablets and mobile phones, but depending on the audience you might need to allow a telephone connection.
- Who will be the technical lead? Someone needs to create meetings, send invites and organise the recording of the meeting if necessary. They can also be tasked with taking some screenshots for the organisation records of the meeting.
- What is the purpose of the meeting? This sounds strange, but is this part of a series of meetings, or is it a one-off? Is it a purely formal display, or do you want time for a general discussion and chat? Are the audience familiar with the technology or is it all new to them? It is really important to bring everyone onboard and help them learn how to get the best out of the new medium. This might mean spending a small amount of additional time with certain people to get them invited and setup as well as letting everyone practice clicking on various buttons before the meeting starts. Once everyone is familiar with the technology then it moves from being an “On-line Meeting” to just a standard meeting.