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How to conduct or participate in an English online meeting

Mar 30, 2023

Since the pandemic started three years ago, online meetings have replaced many face-to-face meetings. For those of you who have experience with online meetings, you may find that you are unsure about online meeting etiquette, such as what to say in some situations.

Today, I am going to give you some tips.

1. Preparation

First of all, you need to prepare for a successful online meeting. That includes testing the microphone and camera in advance, especially if this is the first time you and the participants are using this platform. You can send an email to the participants a day before. You can also inform the participants that you will open the meeting 10 minutes early so that they can check the audio and video before you start.
Instead of a blank screen, you can create an image or slide that says:

"To prepare for the best experience, please check your audio and video before we start.  Use headphones during the discussion."

2. Introductions and greetings:

If you are the host of the meeting, greet others and lead introductions. Include your name, position, and company name. For example: 
"Hi everyone, I am Audrey. I am a junior analyst at ABC company, and I will be leading the discussion today."  

If there are new faces that will participate in this meeting, say, "There are some unfamiliar faces today, so let's do a quick round of introductions. Be sure to call on each individual person."  

3. Next, establish ground rules for active listening.

In a face-to-face meeting, we use verbal cues to show that we are listening, such as saying "a-ha," "that's right," "that's interesting." These verbal cues don't always work on an online platform.  
In an online meeting, try to utilize the tools on the platform, such as sending emojis or using the chatbox. You can tell the participants the following:  

"If you have any questions during the meeting, please let me know by using the raised hand emoji."

"If you like or agree with something, use the clapping hands or thumbs up emojis."

"You can also use the chatbox to send me a message."  

4. Etiquette  

It would be a good idea to tell the participants to turn off distractions, such as their phones, and use mute if there are background noises. When you want to make a comment or ask a question, use the raised hand emoji, or you can simply raise your hand. 

When the host asks you to speak, say:  

"I am sorry to interrupt, but I would like to ask a quick question." or

"I am sorry to interrupt, but I want you to clarify something that you said."  

What if there is an interruption, such as a technical difficulty? If possible, send the host a message; if not, send an email.  

The next scenario is if you are the host, and you are showing a presentation and need some time, say, "Please bear with me for a moment (or please wait a moment) while I get ready to share my slides." When you are ready after the short disruption, say, "I apologize for the wait." 

Closing . Now it is time to end the meeting. If you are the host, summarize the meeting, repeat the main points, and thank the participants. "We got so much done today; thanks, everyone, for coming."



This column was published by the author in their personal capacity.
The opinions expressed in this column are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Cafetalk.

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