8 Tips to Run a Great Virtual Meeting (Even During a Lock-down!)
The Coronavirus crisis has led to unprecedented nation-wide lockdowns in many countries. This has not only affected the personal lives of individuals, it has also changed the face of business. Companies in every industry, and of every size and type are now scrambling to find ways to keep their operations going on and their profits going up. To this end, leaders are trying alternative ways to coordinate their staff and keep them working as a team.
One of these ways is through virtual meetings.
As the name suggests, a virtual meeting is not held in person but ‘virtually’. It allows geographically dispersed people to share information, discuss challenges and brainstorm ideas in real time. Anyone can join a virtual meeting, regardless of where they’re located, as long as they have the right software installed on their device (e.g. a laptop or Smartphone) and the right ‘credentials’ to enter the meeting.
However, like regular meetings, virtual meetings can also be unproductive and worse, a complete waste of time. To prevent this from happening, it’s very important for the meeting organiser to ensure that:
Attendees stick to the agenda: No rambling, storytelling or going off on tangents!
Outcomes match expectations: If a decision has to be reached, make sure it happens
A few attendees don’t dominate the discussion: Especially if this negatively affects the meeting’s outcome
The meeting starts and ends on time
Minutes are documented and shared with all attendees immediately after the meeting
In fact, most of the problems of virtual meetings can be avoided if certain best practices are followed.
If you plan to organise a virtual meeting anytime soon, here are 8 tips to help you (and your attendees) make the best of it.
Test the technology beforehand
Make sure everyone has downloaded the software, familiarised themselves with its features, and tested their microphones and cameras. If they do all of this after the meeting has started, it will lead to delays, cause frustration and **** the meeting’s momentum before it has a chance to really take off.
Create an agenda with clear objectives and share it with all attendees before the meeting starts. This will ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them so they can prepare accordingly.
Set ground rules
Along with an agenda and objectives, it is also important to let everyone know what is and is not acceptable during the meeting. For example, going on mute is okay but interrupting another speaker is not. You can either send these rules prior to the meeting or talk about them in the first 5 minutes. Let everyone know that these rules are non-negotiable.
When everyone is working from home, it can be especially difficult to maintain team harmony, not only because we can’t ‘see’ each other, but also because we miss out on important ******, non-verbal and other behavioural cues that make human-to-human communications so powerful. Since working from home is now a necessity instead of an option, try the next best thing to face-to-face communications – video.
Instead of traditional dial-in conferences, use video technology (e.g. Zoom or Skype) to keep participants engaged and conversations personalised. To recreate the intimacy of in-person meetings, ask individuals to sit close to their webcam so faces are clearly visible.
Provide audio dial-in options
All your attendees may not have strong Internet connections. This could affect their ability to join a video call. To ensure that these people don’t miss out on the meeting, give them the option to participate via audio. Do let them know that they should join via video if they can and only use the audio option if video does not work.
Control presentation lengths
During a virtual meeting, it is very common to have one person rambling on and on while everyone else ‘tunes out’. This defeats the purpose of the meeting – to collaborate, to build team unity and to brainstorm.
Limit the amount of time a person is allowed to speak, especially if they are making a presentation. In this case, use screen sharing so everyone is on the same page. Once the presentation is done, bring everyone back on screen so they can all ‘see’ each other.
Often, attendees interpret virtual meetings as a license to multi-task. When they do this, their attention tends to waver. Another problem is that attendees may all talk over one another, leading to confusion and even resentment.
To avoid these issues, the meeting organiser or facilitator must guide the conversation, calling on people when required. You can virtually ‘go around the table’ to ask for inputs, suggestions or feedback before a decision is made. This is especially important if the facilitator knows that some of the participants are introverts and unlikely to contribute to the meeting unless they are expressly asked for inputs. If your software includes a ‘raise a hand’ feature, use it to drive discussions without excluding anyone.
Also, it’s perfectly okay to use an icebreaker if it helps make everyone comfortable. Start the meeting with a joke, check in with a certain participant who has a sick relative or ask everyone what they’re doing to stay fit during the lockdown.
Don’t limit your discussion to ‘easy’ issues
A virtual meeting does not mean that you cannot discuss tough issues. It’s natural to think that difficult subjects – say, the death of a senior manager or impending layoffs due to the crisis – are better tackled in in-person meetings. But with the current crisis showing no signs of abating anytime soon, waiting for a face-to-face meeting may not be the right strategy for now.
Don’t shy away from controversial topics. Encourage participants to ask questions and share their concerns. You will be amazed at how much you can achieve from a virtual meeting once you and your team become more comfortable with this new normal.
We’re currently living in strange times. We have to work but the way we work has changed. As we get used to terms like social distancing, quarantine and self-isolation, we have to find newer ways to still stay connected with our colleagues. Virtual meetings are a great way to do this – but only if we follow certain ground rules and make a few adjustments.
Prime Infotech Solution offers a number of world-class virtual meeting solutions. We are the preferred partner of GoToWebinar, the world’s preferred virtual meeting solution. For more information about GoToWebinar or for help in setting it up for your team, contact Prime Infotech Solution today.
Do You Know What’s Hidden In Your Word Documents? And Why Should You Care?
Anybody who uses a computer in the course of work or play has used Microsoft Word (or one of its open-source variants) at some point.
But have you ever wondered what makes up a Word document?
How does a document get created?
What elements does a Word document contain (whether you know it or not)?
And most importantly – why should you care?
For starters, having this knowledge can protect you from a data loss event and potential damage to your finances or reputation.
Read this quick guide for more info!
What do you know about METADATA?
Your Word document is not a passive entity! When you create a Word document and start working on it, it starts creating metadata. This can include elements like comments, timestamps, tracked changes, revision marks or document properties; or even personal information like the author’s name, company details, watermarks, etc.
Metadata information is relevant to the document and can be very useful. It usually gets hidden within the file and is often forgotten. However, if it’s left in the document and the document is then shared with others, it can reveal more than the author ever intended. At best, this information can cause embarrassment. At worst, it can cause serious financial or reputational damage due to loss of market confidence, clients or even disciplinary legal action, especially if Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is involved.
This is why getting rid of metadata is important, more so if a file will be reviewed or shared multiple times.
MULTIPLE WAYS of creating Metadata
There are as many ways of creating metadata as there are types of metadata!
Here are 10 of the most common!
Thanks to Workshare for the below information. For a cool infographic about the metadata elements mentioned below, check out this page here!
Headers & Footers
Track changes & comments
SHARING & REVIEWING Documents
When a Word document is shared and reviewed by multiple parties, the volume of metadata within it increases. This often s happen when new text is added to a file while retaining the original version or when authorship notes are added to show reviewers’ details.
If markups (from one or more reviewers) in a file are turned off and the file is shared again, all those contributions can be retrieved – very easily as it turns out – and cause embarrassment or data loss.
How to REMOVE Metadata
Now you know why it’s important to remove metadata from Word documents before they’re shared. However, doing this manually is impractical and time-consuming.
The simplest way to remove metadata from Word documents is automation.
To remove hidden metadata from Word documents, try Workshare!
Method 1: Open Word
Select the Workshare tab and click Content Risk. The Document Risk Report opens, showing you which metadata is in your document.
The Advanced Options dialog opens. Select all the metadata you’d like to remove.
Method 2: Clean directly from your computer
Right-click one or more documents or folder
Select Send to > Workshare Batch Clean. The Batch Clean dialog opens.
Select all the metadata you’d like to remove.
You can also use Workshare to remove metadata from Excel and PowerPoint files.
Prime Infotech Solution is a leading reseller of all Workshare solutions that are trusted by firms all over APAC. To know more about these products, volume discounts, and free trials, contact us today!
Phone: 022-2308-0666, +91-9833650378
5 Effective Tips To Grow Your Business With Content Marketing
“Content is King!”
If you have launched a Digital Marketing campaign (or hired a specialist agency to launch one for you), you have probably come across this cliché dozens of times, if not more.
Digital Marketing (DM) goes well beyond occasional Facebook posts or Instagram stories. A DM strategy that is well-designed, well-thought-out, and well-executed can help today’s organizations build their brands’ reputations (reputation = trust!), bring in new qualified leads, convert prospects into customers and build relationships with them, and create a niche for themselves in a crowded and noisy marketplace. In short, DM can help a business grow and stay relevant.
And to do all of the above, brands need good content built around a solid Content Marketing strategy.
But what exactly is ‘good’ content?
The actual meaning may differ from one industry or audience group to another, but in general, content that:
Resonates with the target audience
Addresses their pain points
Provides useful information
Shows them that a brand cares about them
is considered good content.
So how can you grow your business through Content Marketing?
It’s not difficult but it does require some time, effort, and patience.
Here are 5 time-tested ways!
#1: Know your audience!
Sounds like an obvious ‘duh’ tip? That’s because it is! But, it is also the most ignored!
Are you churning out articles for your company’s blog without checking if your audience actually wants/needs those articles?
Are you using keywords that are cost-effective for you without confirming if they are relevant for your audience?
Is your content strategy focused on volume overvalue?
Content Marketing works best if it starts with audience analysis.
What is your audience trying to achieve?
What are their challenges?
What problems are they trying to solve?
What kind of information are they looking for?
Instead of forcing your ideas on them and expecting them to work, why not understand their ideas first and then create content accordingly?
Needless to say, you need to know who your audience is first!
#2: Set your mission, goals, and KPIs
Once you know what your audience is looking for, create your content marketing mission statement. Make sure it outlines your target audience, what kind of content you need to create to reach them, and what benefits you expect them to get from it. Knowing all of this will ensure that your Content Marketing strategy stays on track in a systematic manner.
Now, your mission will tell you what your audience will get from your Content Marketing efforts. Your goals will state what you will get.
Your goal could be:
Increasing revenue by making more sales
Getting more qualified leads
Improving lead-customer conversion
Boosting traffic to your site
Better social media engagement with your customers
Greater returns on marketing investment
or anything else that is relevant to your business. You can even have more than one!
#3: Establish your KPIs
It is not enough to simply set your goals because a goal without a plan is just a wish.
Therefore, after setting your goals, you need to identify and set your most relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
Your KPIs will provide solid milestones and numbers that you can compare your content strategy against. In other words, KPIs make your Goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).
Here are some KPI examples that may apply to your Content Marketing strategy:
X% increase in site traffic
Y number of email subscribers
Z% increase in revenues or profits
Improve the search ranking of some of your key pages by N number
S number of followers on social media
#4: Identify the best content channels for your business and create content accordingly
Some brands play the ‘more the merrier’ game when it comes to Content Marketing. Large, established firms have the money and resources to devise a content strategy that straddles multiple channels and media. These are the firms that have blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, and Pinterest boards, and even send out newsletters and WhatsApp messages on a regular basis.
If you don’t have the wherewithal to do all this, you don’t have to! Be strategic about where you want to create your online presence by answering the following questions:
What kind of business are you in?
Where does your audience ‘live’?
Where are you most likely to be most successful with Content Marketing?
Focus on a few channels, figure out what’s working, and expand from there rather than trying everything at once. For this, analytics tools are very useful. Then think about the types of content you need to create. Check out what other successful content is out there for inspiration (no plagiarism!).
Should you have a company blog?
Create a Facebook page with useful posts?
Is video marketing the way forward?
Are our email newsletters worth the time and effort?
#5: Allocate resources and create a content calendar
If you know what types of content you need to create and what the goal/KPI of each type is – creating a content calendar will be a breeze.
A calendar will help you plan your output, assign resources and control your schedule. Just make sure that you leave enough room for tweaking in case you need to suddenly change your Content Marketing strategy for some reason (e.g. in response to a particular unplanned event).
Identify your content team and then create a content workflow with roles and responsibilities clearly identified.
Next step – create content!
Use tools and analytics to measure your results. You may have to adjust your strategy a few times before you get it right. Be patient and Content Marketing will pay huge dividends in the long run!