Mastering Online Meetings

by | Jul 15, 2020

Judy suggests that, in the current climate, she is spending her time teaching companies not how to run webinars, but instead to create online sessions where everyone can actually connect with one another.

Judy suggests that there are key skills for running a web event that actually connects people, and that these skills can include providing a formal introduction, ensuring someone is the designated host and follows a regimented schedule, and setting yourself up with a well-prepared workspace, including high-quality lights and an aesthetically pleasing background.

Judy demonstrated how easily distraction can affect a work meeting by sending each member of the call out into breakout rooms. Each pair were told to listen to eachother for 20 seconds before becoming obviously distracted by their phone or email.

Once back in the central meeting room, members of the call explained that when the person they were talking to became distracted they felt as though they lost their own train of thought. Lots of participants mentioned that they began to doubt themselves or proceeded to give a bad summary of everything the other person missed and then became annoyed with themselves for not articulating their point well.

Judy also explains why it is so important for everyone on a call to have their camera on and to be in gallery view on the screen. Whilst she acknowledges this method can be extremely tiring, she emphasises that it makes the meeting and engagement much more interesting and powerful. ‘You wouldn’t sit on your phone inside a physical meeting room, so why would you do it online?’

If you were in a meeting room full of 100 people, each of them would be able to walk around to interact and speak with other members, they cannot do that in Zoom. The host is the only person with access to the breakout rooms and as such it requires a lot more effort on their behalf.

Judy explains that when you as a host decide to run an event, you decide where to hold it, usually in a nice space. You also decide whether alcohol will be sold, whether there will be natural light or the opportunity to leave the room. But online, each participant brings their own space, and the quality of the conversation had is in part determined by the space they bring with them. The higher the quality of the place that you bring, the more interest you will be to those around you. Judy suggests there are three things to consider:

  1. Your Audio Quality: If you’re wearing a headset your colleagues will be able to hear you much more clearly than if you’re shouting at your laptop.
  2. Lighting: Can we see your eyes and facial expression, or is all of the light behind you.
  3. Seating/Body Position: Are you occupying your box on the screen? Having the camera at the same height as your eyes is often optimal for engagement.

Judy’s final exercise has the participants of the call each ask eachother questions using the words already spoken by the other person. Drawing on topics they mention and asking direct questions back. She suggests this encourages a sense that the two people having a conversation are alike to one another.