Five ideas for running inclusive online meetings

We have all got very used to running and attending online meetings. To ‘zoom’ has become a common verb to refer to online meetings following the recent surge in usage. Have you considered how everyone in your team experiences these meetings, and how do you feel about attending all these video meetings? Here are some ideas to think about if you are organising online meetings.

  1. How many people are attending?

For online meetings, it’s even more important than in-person meetings to really think about who needs to attend. Having too many people crowded on the screen, with everyone struggling to speak, does not make for a good experience for everyone. Plus no one wants to be dragged into yet another video call if they weren’t really required.

2. What are the meeting guidelines?

Say at the start of the meeting how you are running it. Is the meeting being recorded? Do you want everyone to be on mute, with videos off? Should they introduce themselves in the chat? How will you handle questions? If you say all of these things at the start, people know what to expect and feel comfortable with the process.

3. Is the meeting accessible?

Think about how people are going to attend the meeting who have specific requirements. For example, Zoom has just introduced a feature where you can pin or spotlight multiple videos at once, so someone using a language interpreter can pin or spotlight both screens.

There are tools to help with live captions too: Rev.com is a good example and Google Meet has a built-in live captioning function. Make sure you speak slowly, loudly and clearly as meetings online have to contend with all sorts of technology issues – you’ll also need to pause more than you would in person to allow for delays.

4. How is everyone preparing?

As with in-person meetings, you need to think about the different people in the meeting and their requirements. So send out information beforehand, keep control of the agenda, and make sure you follow up after the meeting with actions and timelines, so people are not left wondering what the point of the meeting was. And think about your setup, so people can see and hear you clearly – that’s all part of the preparation.

5. Are you keeping to time?

Online meetings can be exhausting, and people struggle to concentrate for too long. Think about how long your meeting is going to be. Most people can’t concentrate for longer than one hour. Be clear at the start that you will finish on time, and stick to that time so people can relax knowing the meeting is not going to take up longer than it should.

If you need help with tips and ideas for running online meetings, talk to us.

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