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Tips for Improving Virtual Meetings during the COVID Crisis

Big events company Ashfield Meetings and Events shares tips for making virtual meetings more effective during the COVID crisis.

As working from home becomes the new normal for office workers worldwide, virtual meetings are quickly becoming an essential way to communicate with customers and staff.

While this is useful for bringing teams together and keeping communication open, virtual meetings can feel disjointed if not properly executed, with feedback from speakers and web cams catching attendees by surprise making communication feel awkward and disorganized.

To avoid issues during your next virtual session, Ashfield Meetings and Events has compiled a checklist to ensure your meeting runs smoothly and is engaging:

1. Turn on “do not disturb” on any instant messaging platforms such as Skype or Slack--this avoids any notifications from colleagues popping up while you are screen sharing--and mute your phone to prevent any calls interrupting your meeting.

2. Have everyone automatically on mute as they join the meeting; this will avoid any uncomfortable feedback noises or loud background noises.

3. Have everyone’s video automatically turned ON during log in--it improves concentration and participation. Be sure to communicate that it will be a video call beforehand to avoid anyone being caught out while wearing their pajamas or gym outfit.

4. Be aware of your surroundings--is your location and background suitable for video dial-in? Not everyone has a home office, but you can create a professional appearance with a neutral background.

5. Limit open windows and applications on your desktop to prevent further notifications or updates and be mindful of Europe’s GDPR legislation if dealing with European businesses--ensure no confidential information or contact details are visible to clients or customers.

6. If you are using a Q&A facility within the platform, consider a second laptop for viewing participant registrations and viewing typed questions to save switching through the program.

7. Ensure that anyone outside your business is assigned as a presenter if they need to be, so that they can share their screen easily without delays to ensure everything runs smoothly.

8. If multiple people are presenting, consider having a moderator for presenters online--it makes moving through the slides on your presentation and unmuting attendees much more efficient.

9. Consider using any break-out room functions within the platform, discussing ideas in smaller groups and connecting back to the wider meeting to further replicate the feel of a face-to-face meeting.

Fiona Geeson is global head of marketing for Ashfield Meetings and Events, a U.K.-based full-service global event management company specializing in serving the healthcare sector. Sister company Spark Thinking is a full-service events agency, devoted to helping brands discover, devise and deliver unmissable live event experiences across the globe. Ashfield is included on the latest Special Events "50 Top Event Companies" list.

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