It can feel challenging setting up a large group video call. The good news is that services are designed to handle multiple callers and there are myriad techniques to ensure that everyone feels engaged and involved. For one, unlike on a standard call, the temptation to multitask is far less. After all, colleagues will be able to see each other reaching for their phone or looking across the room.
After getting everyone onto the call, make sure to say hello to each person in turn. Having already shared an agenda via email, it’s a smart move to encourage the use of chat tools within video conferencing to help share thoughts and ask questions, rather than interrupting someone’s flow while they’re talking.
This can also be effective when discussing a particular problem or item. Ask everyone on the call a question and, rather than having each of them give their response using their voice, get them to send their responses via chat during a quick, five minute break. That way, ideas can then be shared by the person chairing the meeting once they have been collated, before being discussed in a group.
The key is to make everyone on the call feel engaged and as if they have something to contribute. The power of body language to boost morale is vital here. A nod or a thumbs-up can be empowering. This makes the call and interaction more transparent and more human.
The best video conferencing software not only allows you to speak with colleagues face-to-face. It also lets you share and annotate your screen in real time. This can be particularly helpful when working through a presentation or new project. Make best use of Wacom’s cutting edge pen tablets and displays to circle or underline the parts of a document that you’re talking about. And encourage others to share their screens in turn so everyone can see what they’re talking about as they discuss it.
This can make video calls every bit as productive as a meeting in the office. Those on the call can see what’s being discussed in real time and delve into documents, presentations or on-screen notes as the meeting progresses, meaning solutions and ideas can be put forward as the conversation flows.
Similarly, shared documents can be worked on together while calls are underway, allowing everyone to put their thoughts and ideas in one place. This is then easily accessible to all after the meeting ends.
Brainstorming sessions can easily go off track in the office and are just as likely to do so in a remote working environment. The good news is that a few simple rules can help make them very useful. First off, be sure to make use of specific online brainstorming platforms that allow for easy visual collaboration.
Most importantly, one person should act as the moderator, running the session and focusing on keeping minutes to action afterwards. Before starting, this person should send around the topic to be discussed and set a time limit, ideally more than a day, for those taking part on the call to come up with ideas. These should be considered alone and not shared with the group before the call, so as to ensure everyone’s voice is heard.
During the call, set a time limit for each person to discuss their ideas. These can be added to a virtual whiteboard tool. A drawing tablet will make this process even easier and more natural. Once all the ideas are in, set a time limit for a discussion about them. Actions should then be shared using a group chat tool after the meeting, allowing everyone to understand the next steps and what they need to make them happen. The fact that people can then go away and work in isolation on their set tasks actually makes this approach better than in the office, where other work projects may serve as a distraction.
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