Top tips to get better at online meetings by Beth Kanter (video)

Tereza Litsa
Digital Engagement Manager
21 Apr 2020

We’ve hosted a webinar last week with nonprofit expert, master trainer and author Beth Kanter to share tips to get better at online meetings. There are more meetings than ever happening right now, both internal and external ones. It’s easy to be tired, distracted, confused. That’s why we’ve asked Beth Kanter to join us in a practical and interactive session that will teach us how to improve our online meetings using Zoom.

Beth Kanter is an expert at meeting facilitation, nonprofit engagement and virtual meeting planning and we are happy to have her as a Senior Advisor at Lightful leading our masterclasses for the BRIDGE programme.

There was a big demand on the webinar and we’ve had great feedback so here is the recording along with Beth’s tips and resources.

Tips to get better at online meetings

Here is an overview of the tips that we’ve discussed.

Don’t wing it alone

It’s easy to wing meetings with no formalised planning or an agenda. According to Beth, a good meeting is based on good design. You can plan the topics, the minutes you allocate on each topic, the speakers but also the roles for each attendee (facilitator, tech steward, note-taker, etc).

An online meeting is more effective when you have at least two facilitators. This makes it easier to focus on the content while handling additional questions, troubleshooting and technical problems.

Embrace new workplace norms for meetings

We need to embrace the new workplace norms. It’s hard juggling parenting with work and you need to acknowledge it.

Children (and pets) are welcome

We all need to be more understanding of the new norm. Children and pets can be welcome in your meeting if needed.

Encourage being on camera

We are not used to seeing ourselves on camera. And it can be exhausting staring at a screen most of the day. But it can also help you feel closer to your colleagues when attending a meeting. If you want to look better on camera, you can raise the level of the laptop or use a light close to you!

Use Zoom backgrounds if you want to hide your messy house

Zoom backgrounds have become very popular lately. It’s a quick way to hide your background but also to have fun with your colleagues when picking a background. Canva have even introduced a template to create your own Zoom backgrounds now! Reminder: when you are not using it anymore, make sure you change the settings.

Use ice breakers and energizers

Ice breakers and energizers are helpful to check in with your colleagues or even to share optimism and fun. You can find out more about them in Beth’s blog post on virtual meetings and check-ins during a pandemic. You can also check a few ice breakers and energizers on our video recording of the session.

Just say no when you have too many meetings without a break

Try to avoid a busy calendar with too many calls. Aim for a break after 60-90 minutes of a call. It’s helping you to stay focused while avoiding the so-called “Zoom overload”. If you need to have a longer meeting, consider splitting it into two meetings instead.

Use Zoom breakout rooms

Breakout rooms are a feature in Zoom that allows you to put people in smaller rooms for more intimate conversations. They can be very useful when you want to have an icebreaker, brainstorming, decision-making, etc. We’ve modelled them as part of the webinar session and it allowed us to brainstorm in smaller teams on how to be more engaging in our meetings from now on. It also included a “dot-voting” to discuss everyone’s favourite ideas.

Resources on tips to get better at online meetings

Here are all the resources that Beth Kanter has shared with us.

Virtual Meetings: General Tips

Icebreaker Collections

Interactive Meeting Techniques

Planning and Design

Virtual Board Meetings

Virtual Socializing in the Workplace

Virtual Meeting Tools

Zoom Tips and Tricks

Feel free to share the recording and the resources with your team to improve your meeting facilitation from now on.
Keep an eye on our social channels @lightful and our emails for an update on our next webinar sessions.

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