This year, video conferencing has become a big part of our lives, especially at work. More and more of us have been unable to travel for meetings and conferences, and even though things are opening up again, it seems that online meetings and video conferencing are here to stay.

Leading the way in this new virtual world is video conferencing platform Zoom. If you’ve never hosted a meeting on Zoom before, it can be a daunting prospect – not only do you have to deal with the usual tasks of running a meeting, you also have to be familiar with the technology and be prepared for connection issues and time delays. If you’re planning to facilitate a Zoom meeting, we have a few tips to help make sure things go smoothly.

1. Check in with the participants

At the start of the meeting, it’s a good idea to go round the group and get everybody to introduce themselves. You could ask everyone to answer a quick question (e.g. “What are you working on today?”), so that everybody gets used to talking on camera. Doing a round of introductions will also help you to establish who has a time delay – make a note of their names so that you can allow for this during the meeting.

2. Lay out the structure of the meeting

Let everybody know at the start of the meeting what structure it will have. How long will it last? Will the group be discussing together, or will you do most of the talking? Will there be time for questions at the end, or can people ask questions throughout? If it’s the latter, how should participants let you know that they want to speak? Laying out the meeting very clearly at the start should help things run more efficiently and stop people from talking over each other.

3. Break into smaller groups

Having a group discussion over Zoom can be tricky – there may be technical issues, or people might feel nervous about speaking in a large group. You can make this easier for everyone by breaking up into smaller groups (in Zoom, these are called ‘breakout rooms’) to make discussion easier. Have each mini-group nominate a speaker to take notes and convey the group’s ideas to everyone else when you come back together.

4. Link to the resources

If your meeting has any associated resources – like a document of key points or a PowerPoint presentation – let the participants know at the start where you will make these resources available to them. Using the ‘Chat’ function on Zoom, you can post links to online documents that the participants can follow during the meeting, or you might like to email everyone a link afterwards to where they can find the information you discussed.

5. Hire a professional host

If you don’t have the time, the technical knowhow or the confidence to host a Zoom meeting yourself, you can always bring in a professional. Get Ahead VA offers a virtual conference facilitation service, where one of our virtual assistants will handle the technicalities of your online meeting, so you can concentrate on presenting or managing the discussion. To find out how we can help you run an efficient, productive meeting on Zoom, get in touch today on 01483 332 230, or email office@getaheadva.com.

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