Managing teams remotely and working with multiple projects can be challenging for leaders. Technology has the solutions but there are inherent challenges in getting everyone to understand how to maximize the technology to ensure meetings are productive without the hassles of technological glitches.Prior to any meeting ensure everyone knows how to use the technology, has had a practice run and knows how to troubleshoot.
Many leaders have been using GoToMeetings, GoToWebinar or other web based meeting tools. These are all great but for those times where you want a fast, easy and no cost solution Skype or Google Hangouts can be a wonderful choice.
The challenge with using either Skype or Google Hangouts is band with but I have found that ensuring you have the latest version of Skype, testing your microphone before a session and scheduling calls during non peak times can help with this.
Google Hangouts is preferable for video meetings as I have used it and it doesn’t seem to have the same tech or sound quality challenges of when I have used Skype video.
Both Skype and Google Hangouts allow for screen sharing which is great for sharing reports, slides, videos and more.
You can schedule a Google Hangouts meeting with GMail or calendar and you can join the meeting from you laptop, tablet or smart phone. Skype has an app that allows you to also access through tablet and smart phones as well.
Whether you choose Skype or Google Hangouts or both here are 3 ways to maximize either for successful meetings:
1. Ensure that you have a delegated meeting leader to manage agenda, facilitate interaction and to keep the call on focus- successful meetings on line typically have no more than 15 participants- in fact that’s the maximum for Google Hangouts.
2. Create fun ways to have everyone contribute, typing into the IM box on Skype or using the emoticons and facial fun cartoon images in Google Hangouts. Just like face to face meetings you want to ensure there is some fun and humor built in to the session to keep everyone engaged throughout the call.
3. Have the key discussion points or strategy items on Powerpoint or Keynote slides so that everyone has a visual of the discussion items, you can include videos to further anchor a point and you can have a slide dedicated to action items and ‘who does what’ after the call.
Oh and a bonus suggestion- in Skype you can record the call using Call Recorder for Skype- you may want to do this for detailed meetings where you need to ensure that you have all of the contributions from the attendees.
Recently I did an interview with Terry Brock and he recorded the interview using Screenflow- edited it in seconds and uploaded the interview to his site for all to see.
As we continue to look for ways to be effective working with remote and global teams we need to be maximizing the technology.