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Many companies now have employees from several different offices working on the same projects, making collaborative working more important than ever. This is not to mention all of the employees who are currently telecommuting. Online meetings play a large role in this kind of environment, so it’s important for employees who want to excel in the modern workplace to know how to host and present an online meeting.


Each online meeting tool (such as GoToMeeting, WebEx or even Skype) is different, but all allow for the quick and easy creation of meetings, helping participants share screens, slides and even create polls.


Regardless of the software you choose, there are some guidelines that should be followed when hosting an online meeting.


1. Learn how to use your chosen tool before the first meeting. Your provider will be more than happy to give you a detailed tutorial on all the features that will be available to you during your meetings. Take advantage of that, so you know how to use the software before you schedule your first meeting. On the day of the meeting, log into it at least 15 minutes in advance so you can ensure that there are no problems with the tool and also to prepare all the materials that you will be presenting. Also keep in mind that participants could have questions about the meeting software, and it’s better to answer them before the meeting to avoid disruptions.

1. 在第一次会议之前,学会如何使用所选的工具。软件供应商很愿意在会议中为你娱乐关于可以使用的功能的详尽指导。利用好这一点,你就能在安排第一次会议前指导如何使用这个软件。在会议当天,至少提前15分钟登录软件,保证软件没有任何问题,准备好你需要展示的所有材料。同样要记住的一点是,与会者对于软件可能会有问题,所以最好在会议之前解答,避免会议中断。

2. Decide on the subject of the meeting, and communicate it to participants. This follows the logic of in-person meetings, and allows your colleagues to not only ensure that the meeting is relevant to them, but to prepare themselves for it in advance. Whether the meeting is online or not, nothing is more frustrating than an employee who clearly hasn’t prepared for a meeting and can’t participate in the discussion. This is even more aggravating during an online meeting, because it’ll seem like the person is doing something else on their computer. So it's a good idea to always prepare an agenda and share it with those invited well before the meeting.

2. 定下会议主题,和与会人员交流。这和面对面的会议的逻辑是一样的。这不仅能能让他们确定这场会议与自己相关,也能让他们提前做好准备。无论会议是线上还是线下,最糟糕的是员工明显没有对会议做过准备,无法参与讨论。这一点在线上会议中更为严重。因为这看起来像是这个人在电脑在上干别的事。所以,总是准备好议程,和受邀参加会议的人员共享。

3. Send invitations ahead of the meeting. Chances are that whatever online meeting tool you have chosen will let you easily send invitations to the participants. Invitations should include the meeting’s time and date and also the link that will let people log in to the meeting. Phone-in details for the meeting are also useful, in case headsets don’t work. And because many people live by their Outlook calendars, it’s also wise to ensure that invitations can be saved in those.

3. 在会议前发出邀请。很可能你选的软件能让邀请与会人员变得很容易。邀请函中应该包括会议的时间、日期,还有能登录到会议中的链接。会议中电话互动也很有用,以防耳机无法使用。由于很多人根据outlook邮箱日历安排日程,明智的做法是保证这些邀请能够在outloo日历上保存。

4. Prepare your meeting material ahead. Online meetings need a visual element in order to engage the audience and stay interesting throughout. So you should use the meeting’s format to your advantage and share not only the traditional PowerPoint presentation, but also take this as an opportunity to share interesting links – these can be news articles, pictures or even videos. The more creative you get, the more interesting your meeting will become. Just remember to keep all materials relevant and professional.

4. 提前准备会议材料。线上会议需要可视化元素来让观众参与进来,并全程保持兴趣。所以你应该对你有利的会议模板,不仅仅共享传统的PPT幻灯片展示,还可以分享一些有趣的链接——可以是新文章、图片、视频。你越有创意,你的会议就会变得越有趣。但要记住所有的材料都与会议相关并且是专业的。

5. Consider interactive tools such as polls or questionnaires. There’s nothing less interesting than a one-way online meeting, where the host just talks the entire time, but never asks for any sort of input. This makes it more of a lecture than a meeting. Avoid this situation by not only constantly planning breaks in your presentation to ask for input, but also by using polls and short questionnaires to get people participating. Also plan enough time for a question and answer (Q&A) or further discussion section.

5. 考虑交互手段,比如投票或是问卷。单向的在线会议特别无聊,只有主持人一直在讲,从不发问寻求意见。这更像是一场讲座,而不是一场会议。要避免这种情况,在你的演讲汇总经常停顿咨询意见,也可以使用投票和简短的问卷,让人们参与进来。准备足够的问答时间或者是深入讨论的环节。

6. Do a follow up post-meeting. During the meeting, you should announce that you will be both sending the meeting’s minutes and also following up on what’s been discussed the next day, or at most week. This way, you can ensure that anything that needs to be done after the meeting is clarified and has been assigned to someone. But you shouldn’t make this follow-up only about actions. Also ask for input on the meeting’s online format, so your team can come up with solutions that will work to make these meetings more efficient and effective.

6. 会后进行追踪工作。在会上,你应该说明第二天,最多1个星期,你会把会议记录和要讨论的后续跟进都发送出去。这样,你可以保证会后需要完成的事都说清楚了,并分配到具体某人。但是后续跟进不应该只包含行到。也要询问对于会议在线模式的意见,这样你的团队可以提出解决办法,让会议变得更有效。

As you can see, running an online meeting isn’t that different from a face-to-face one. All you need is familiarity with the tool together with careful planning ahead so you can be sure that the meeting will be relevant, interactive and interesting. And don’t forget to follow-up, otherwise everything discussed could easily be lowered in the priorities list or even forgotten.