Web conferencing is a great way for businesses of all sizes to ensure that their people collaborate effectively with colleagues and clients across the globe. With nothing more than a browser and a webcam, the right software transforms a computer into a powerful online meeting place integrating video, audio and screen sharing.

An online collaboration solution allows users to have face-to-face meetings with a dispersed team, organise sales demos with far-flung clients or run virtual training sessions from any location: at home or the office.

An essential solution for modern businesses, web conferencing is not only cost efficient, but also wins back precious time from business travel. Collaborating remotely with an international team without leaving the office means less time in airport lounges and more time to spend on other projects or simply at home with the family.

Here are 7 helpful tips for running online meetings and getting the most out of virtual collaboration:

  1.  Keep sessions short and sweet

People’s attention span is shorter online, so keep online meetings to 45 minutes maximum. It is better to schedule a series of highly focused meetings rather than one long unproductive one.

  1.  Start on time and end on time

Be aware that differences in time zones may mean that some participants have to attend the meeting extremely early or late in their working day, respect their time by being punctual.

  1.  Have an agenda

Knowing what you want to cover in the meeting in advance will make you more productive. Share the agenda ahead of the meeting via email along with the joining information, keeping everything in one place.

  1.  Get the technology right

Technology should facilitate not frustrate communication – use a simple web conferencing solution (like TeamViewer Meeting) that is user-friendly and doesn’t require any special software to be installed.

  1.  Communicate clearly

Many participants may be forced to participate in a second or third language so speak slowly and leave regular pauses for questions. Make use of all the presentation facilities sharing slides and graphics with the group.

  1.  Fight multitasking with interactivity

Participants are often tempted to spend time tidying their inbox whilst a meeting is going on. Ask regular questions, specifically targeting individuals who don’t seem to be engaged.

  1.  Allow time for Q&A

An online meeting is not a webinar. Make use of chat functions to log questions and come back to them at an appropriate time in the meeting.