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online meeting

Giving an effective meeting is a matter of planning and practice. When done correctly, a video conference is one of the best ways to bring teams together and actually accomplish something. When meetings are done wrong – and they can find so many ways to go wrong – it’s a demoralizing, work-blocking mess that everyone hates. Take some tips on structuring your next video conference, and you’ll find that your meetings have momentum. With IT, you usually don’t have to remind people to test their connections beforehand, nor are reminders to update the app generally needed. However, for meeting novices, it’s a good idea to put some structure in place.



The Harvard Business Review notes that effective meetings have effective agendas, whether they are videoconferences or location meetings. Designing an effective agenda takes several steps.


  • Decide on the purpose of the meeting. Whether you will be running an informative meeting, are seeking input, or coming to a decision needs to be made clear.
  • Invite only those who have something to contribute to the meeting or something to gain from meeting and seek their input.
  • Keep the meeting to topics that affect everyone in attendance allocate a reasonable amount of time in the agenda.
  • List a definitive start time, the amount of time that will be devoted to your topics, and question and answer periods. You should also list a definitive time that the meeting will adjourn so that people can schedule the rest of their day.
  • Specify topic leaders and discussion moderators in advance. These people will be responsible for leading the discussion of their assigned topic.
    Image source Wikimedia

    Image source Wikimedia



When you are running a business video meeting for IT, you may have multiple participants signing in and attending from remote locations using the BlueJeans app. Sometimes the locations from which they will be less than ideal. Here are a few tips when talking about appropriate settings.


  • Ideally the locations should be quiet, well lit, and free of noise and distractions. Conference rooms are ideally suited for this purpose, however riding the Wi-Fi at your local coffee house may be more distracting to other participants than you think. If you have absolutely no other place to sign in remotely, consider using your car – it’s quiet and well lit.
  • Your background should be stationary, especially if you are the one speaking. A mobile background such as a curtain or street scene will distract from what you are saying.
  • Make sure that the lighting shows the speakers faces clearly and without distracting shadows. Glare and uneven lighting can be fixed by pulling the shades and removing any glass framed wall art. Northwestern University also recommends not mixing sunlight and fluorescent light in order to protect the quality of images.
  • Do make sure that the camera is positioned in order to show the speaker’s face. Weird camera angles distract viewers. The point of a videoconference is to get that face time, not to look up someone’s nose.



  • Make sure that attendees know when to arrive and sign on. Make it clear that past a certain point latecomers will not be admitted. This is to avoid disrupting speakers and the meeting schedule in order to catch someone up. Advised that a video copy of the meeting and appropriate documents will be archived.
  • When hosting a meeting with people in multiple locations, speakers should introduce themselves both by name and location.
  • Ask that everyone keep their microphones muted unless they are speaking at the time. Otherwise everybody will hear coughing, shifting, paper rustling, and other distracting noises.
  • Dress appropriately for the crowd. For meetings with the CIO or a new client, office attire is appropriate. For less formal meetings, one may go with office casual. Only those who know each other very well should show up to a meeting and what they would wear to a beach barbecue.
  • Pay attention. Don’t check your email. Don’t text. Don’t play Candy Crush. Take notes. Participate. And ask questions.


After the videoconference, the meeting video should be archived and made accessible to participants for follow-up. This includes all documents used in the meeting, as well as any minutes or transcriptions that are made. Follow-up with an action plan that is emailed to all participants, and check that everyone is doing their appropriate follow-up. Appoint someone to take the lead in doing the follow-up and making sure that everyone is on track.


Successful meetings mean that the topics discussed, and the actions planned are actually followed up on and carried out. It’s easy for team members to lose momentum once they are back in their workspaces and catching up. Making meetings effective, easy to attend, and easy to follow up with is the key to giving great meetings that motivate and even inspire. Get your team on the same page by using video conferencing in the most effective manner possible.


Something regularly asked by business owners is when the best time to schedule meetings is. The day and time a meeting is held does dramatically affect how it turns out. It is much easier to schedule meetings with people across the world thanks to Blue Jeans and other online conferencing software, but the question still remains. This quick guide should give you some idea of when to schedule your meetings so that you can get the most out of them.


  1. Local or International?

The first factor to consider when scheduling your meetings is who will be attending. If it is a local meeting or the only attendees are people in your same country or time zone then it won’t be too difficult. If, however, you need to talk with people in different time zones, sometimes multiple time zones, then it can create a problem. Compromises may have to be made, but the important thing is to ensure that nobody will be attending the meeting in the middle of the night. Depending on the different time zones you need to reach, accept that some of you may need to start your day earlier or stay a little later to make this possible. If you are pitching to an important overseas client then work the meeting around a time which is best for them. If some people don’t need to attend the meeting immediately, record it using online conferencing software then e-mail it for them to watch when it is convenient for them.

Photo Flickr

Photo Flickr


  1. Time of Day

This is probably the main problem that people argue over. What time of day is best to hold a meeting? There is no easy answer as different people work better at different times of the day. You also don’t want to take people away from their work too much during their peak production hours. Many people agree that the best time is mid-morning. People will have had their morning coffee and caught up on their important tasks but their blood sugar levels won’t have dropped too low and they won’t be too sluggish immediately after eating a big meal. Other sources including Lifehacker argue that 3pm is the best time as people are more likely to respond to invites at this time. Lunch meetings should definitely be avoided for online meetings as the sound of people eating through headsets is incredibly off-putting and against all online conferencing etiquette. Again, don’t forget to record the meeting and e-mail it out to anybody in a different time zone who either couldn’t make the meeting or wasn’t at their most alert during the meeting.


  1. Day of the Week

Along with the time of day, this is another key consideration. Many businesses schedule regular Monday and Friday meetings, but business expert Andrew Jensen argues against this. These are the days when employees often take holidays, and Mondays are often when public holidays are held. People will also be less productive on Monday and too eager to go home on Friday. Therefore, the middle of the week, particularly Tuesday, is the best time to hold important meetings. This doesn’t mean that you should never have meetings on Monday or Friday; just don’t expect them to be your most productive meetings.


  1. Preparation Time

Both you and your colleagues will need some time to prepare for a meeting, which again affects when you should schedule them. If you announce the meeting at the end of the day for the next morning, that doesn’t give anyone enough time to prepare effectively. If you announce a Monday morning meeting on Friday afternoon, that means your colleague’s weekend plans are gone down the drain. Unless it is completely unavoidable, schedule each meeting with enough time for everybody to prepare within work hours, without impacting on their regular work load. This is another good reason to schedule meetings for mid-morning or the middle of the week, as it gives people ample time to go over their notes and make any adjustments beforehand.


  1. Meeting Length

Another important thing to consider when making up your schedule is how long you expect the meeting to last. It is advisable to keep meetings as brief as possible as people still need to get on with their regular work and other commitments. This may mean starting a lengthy meeting earlier in the day. If the meeting is going to go on for a long time be sure to schedule regular breaks and put the most important items at the top of the agenda.

While there is no definite right or wrong time to hold a meeting and different time zones make it a little more complicated, using the above guide when putting together your meeting schedule should make it easier. Not everything works for everyone, but you can still schedule meetings that will be productive, well prepared, and even enjoyable for everybody who attends.