Tips for running a good online/phone meeting

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These are a few of my personal tips for virtual meetings. (Note, I do occassionally break these rules, but I try not to.)

1. Don't ask "who is in favor?". If you do, you need to wait for 8 responses. I prefer to just go with "any opposition?" or "anyone disagree?".

2. If you ask for volunteers to do something the group has agreed to be done and you have no response, ask "Lucius, will you spearhead this plan?".  You need to keep things moving forward by assigning tasks, either to people that haven't taken on a task in a while, or to someone particularly passionate about the issue.  If they don't have the time to manage the task, it is ok, but they have been appointed to find the person(s) that will and make sure it is completed.

3. Take notes, and if at all possible, have your note-taker NOT be the person running the meeting.  It's usually very difficult to do both at the same time. It is the note-taker's job to make sure that the 2 items below are complete for each topic.  (Note, the note-taker does not need to transcribe the meeting.  Don't take the notes in order to catch up people that were unable to attend... that is asking too much.  Rather the notes should be the topic, decision, action to be taken, who it is assigned to, and the timeline for completion.

4. Make sure that any follow up action is assigned to one or more individuals.

5. Make sure that a timeline is set for the follow up/ completion at the time it is assigned.

6. If possible, get all information to your meeting attendees well BEFORE the meeting, in enough time that they can read it prior to your meeting.  Introducing new information on the spot, during a meeting, makes it more difficult to make thoughtful decisions.


If you have other suggestions, please post a comment below and I'll add them into this page.