“Can you see my screen?”
“You’re still on mute.”
“Just have to dig up that report…”
These are the phrases that haunt our meetings (and sometimes nightmares), stifling productivity and making us dread those times when we have to hop on a call. Corporate strategist Bob Frisch said it best: “Nothing kills momentum at the start of a meeting like a 15-minute delay because people need to download software [or] can’t get the video to work.”
Really, with the amount of fickle technology it takes to run any meeting today — virtual, in-person, or hybrid — it’s amazing we can get anything done. From faulty microphones and spotty WiFi to glitching backgrounds, poor cell signal, and failed recordings, the opportunities for something to go wrong are nearly endless.
That’s why Step 9 of our 10-step guide to planning the perfect meeting is so crucial: Test your tech ahead of time.
So, the next time you get ready to host a meeting, you can use these tips to prepare your technology platforms, devices, and capabilities beforehand:
- Remind participants about updates. Gently nudge attendees to make sure their operating systems, video conferencing apps, cameras, and microphones are updated for a seamless sign-on process.
- Test your internet connection and bandwidth. You should have a connection of 5-10 Mbps for videoconferencing. You can use an internet speed test tool to see where your network is at. And you can always hook ups to your smartphone’s hotspot if your home or office WiFi isn’t up to speed.
- Prep your desktop. Especially if you’re screen-sharing, make sure your desktop is cleared and organized, and you have any necessary files on-hand. Also, mute or turn off your desktop notifications to minimize meeting distractions and disruptions.
- Use a live transcription service. Enhance communication and accessibility by offering live captions for your virtual or hybrid meeting.
- Try the Zoom Smart Gallery. The Zoom Smart Gallery lets you display multiple video feeds from one conference room, so remote attendees can more clearly see each in-person participant.
- Debrief with attendees. Don’t just circle back about meeting topics and strategies. Also ask team members if there’s anything you can do to make the next meeting more accessible.
Marisa Aubin, senior programs manager at TED Conferences, also recommends starting your virtual meeting or event with some tech housekeeping: “This is where you go over the technology elements of your event, and the agenda of the event so that people can easily follow along and participate. For example, explain how and when they should use the chat feature, whether your event is being recorded, how to mute/unmute microphones, etc.”
As Proggio CEO Yaniv Shor said: “Although it’s certainly worthwhile to explore how to improve meeting processes, let’s be honest: What we all really want is to have fewer of them and the ones we must have to have more value. When progress data is available as it happens, we can then use that time together to brainstorm, discuss options, make decisions and, ultimately, deploy a more efficient process.”
To recap, here’s our quick, actionable tip for Step #9: Taking a few minutes before each meeting to double-check your tech can help prevent additional hours of potential frustrations, interruptions, and missed connections. So use this checklist — or create your own — to make sure you’re prepared each time you host or participate in a meeting.
Looking for new ways to streamline your project management meetings? Learn more about Proggio.
To catch up on the rest of our guide, check out steps 1-8 right here:
- Decide if you really need the meeting.
- Plot your talking points and goals.
- Invite the right people to attend.
- Prepare your data and real-time reports.
- Have a plan for staying on topic.
- Anticipate disruptors at every turn.
- Transform a passive audience into active attendees.
- Fuel up with snacks and drinks.
Watch out for our final installment — step 10 — coming soon!