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Whether you're new to online meetings, or an experienced professional, having the right skill set to organize and lead an effective online meeting is essential. Seen as an alternative to expensive travel, many organizations are electing to hold meetings online to cut back on travel expenses, which include the loss of productivity while you are out of the office. The concept of hosting a meeting online isn't new. With expanding Internet band width capabilities and inexpensive voice options, the adaptation of online meetings as a preferred platform has been growing in recent years. Ideal for shorter meetings, or meeting with large groups of people in remote locations, the ability for organizations to gather and connect stakeholders through multimedia platforms has never been easier than today. While online meeting adoption rates have increased, so it seems has the listing of attendees. As a result of the ability to gather people together inexpensively using online tools, comes a hidden cost - time. An unfortunate reality of these meetings is the stigma it can be a waste of time for certain attendees. This lack of value for many attendees can often be attributable to the inability to actively participate in the meeting. To ensure you organize an efficient and effective meeting, consider implementing the following: 1. Set a specific agenda 2. Streamline list of attendees 3. Determine the proper meeting platform (Display and Voice) 4. Follow up after the meeting with notes and action items 1. Set a Specific Agenda: The first question you need to ask is, "do I need to hold a meeting ?" As you have probably observed in meetings you've attended throughout your career, not all meetings need to occur. Sometimes collaborative emails or individual meetings are better suited. If you determine that you need to hold a meeting, determine what the purpose of the meeting is, what the agenda will be and correlating time frame. Be conscious of other's time. If you think a meeting is going to take 45 minutes, don't block off a 30 minute meeting. Once you have determined the agenda and goals of the meeting, write them down. You'll want to allow your attendees to see this agenda to help confirm their attendance is necessary. 2. Streamline list of Attendees: A common problem associated with online meetings that is generally not seen with face-to-face meetings is having too many attendees. When preparing your meeting request, make sure you identify the attendees that really need to be present at your meeting. You may want to additionally streamline the attendee list by breaking out required versus optional attendees. This extra organizational step will also help the recipient of the meeting request determine the priority of their


attendance. 3. Determine the Proper Meeting Platform (Display and Voice): Holding an online meeting has two essential components, a visual and voice. Voice can be defined as a one way discussion, or it can be collaborative such as in a conference call. Display offers more challenges and until recently more restrictions. Look for an online meeting software package that is flexible enough for your needs, but also allows for an easy to use experience for attendees. Note: Online web conferencing software is typically sold as a per seat (i.e. per user) basis. If you are not using a conferencing software platform currently, look online for online meeting free downloads and test it out with your organization. 4. Follow Up after the Meeting with Notes and Action Items: By following the first three recommendations you should be able to hold a meeting with the right agenda, the right attendees and the right medium for broadcasting. Completing these steps does not indicate an effective meeting without the addition of distributing meeting notes and action items to the meeting attendees and any other interested parties. This follow up, typically through an email, should list what occurred in the meeting, what decisions were made, who has actions items, and what those actions items are. Complete this final step and you have successfully conducted an effective meeting online. When looking for an online solution you might want to look for a solution that gives you the ability to collaborate during the meeting and save your collaboration document so you can forward your meeting results directly from your meeting.

Ginger Ackerman has in interest in online meetings, including online meeting software and the Jigsaw online meeting platform.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ginger_Ackerman

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