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The key to running an effective formal meeting is a well thought out agenda. When you prepare ahead of time by writing an agenda in advance with detailed information about the meeting, you will not only save time for everyone involved, but the outcome is more likely to be a success.

Here are 5 items you should always include when creating an effective meeting agenda:

5. Define the meeting goal. (Or goals)

FreeConference Puffin waving handsThis might be the most important part of the agenda. It specifies the purpose of the meeting and the outcome or decision you are hoping to reach at the end. It allows everyone involved to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve and why their participation is valued.

When the agenda includes starting with the goal, you are more focused on the end result. while creating the rest of the meeting agenda, improving the efficiency of your meeting before it even begins.

Check out the meeting list!

4. Outline a list of meeting agenda topics for discussion

Once the goal of the meeting has been established, prepare for the meeting with a list of important topics for discussion.

Each discussion topic should assist in achieving the meeting goal. The list can be brief but should be detailed enough so that team members can prepare for the team meeting to make an effective contribution.

A common method is to position each topic as a question. This kickstarts the thought process for your participants and provides a check-in on its relativity to the meeting goal.

Each topic should have an owner and a specified amount of time to cover the topic. Topic ownership provides accountability. A time frame keeps the meeting on schedule. Download our free meeting agenda here: FreeConference Meeting Agenda Download

3. Identify the list of required attendees

The challenge presents itself, not when deciding who to invite, but who not to invite. Only people who really need to be at the meeting should be on this list.

If you’ve established your meeting goals and assigned meeting topics, you should have a good foundation to work with to finalize your list of attendees. With that in mind, ask yourself three questions when considering each meeting participant. If you answer yes to any of the questions, add him or her to the list of agenda items:

If you’re unsure, consider making his or her attendance optional. You can always send a post-meeting summary, recording, or transcription instead. Meeting minutes from a note-taker, not always required.

One of the biggest complaints about business meetings is that they are a waste of time. Managing meetings becomes easier when syncs stay around 30 minutes. Be respectful of your colleagues’ time without wasting time or losing out on results.

2. Leave a section for action items and off-topic discussions at the end of your meeting agenda

man using phone and laptop for meetingFollow-up is just as important as the meeting itself. At the bottom of the meeting agenda template, it is beneficial to include a section where attendees can take notes, document action items, decisions, and takeaways. Having this section organizes the conclusions made in the meeting and allows attendees to visualize the process that has to take place afterward.

Unexpected topics can arise during the meeting that steers focus away from the end goal. To stay on track and on time, “park” the off-topic discussion in the “Parking Lot”, usually at the end of the agenda, to revisit outside of the previous meeting. Another common term for this is “Let’s take this offline.”

1. Last, but not least, double-check meeting details, such as time, place, and conference logistics

This is particularly important if attendees will be participating in your meeting remotely. Make sure that all conference details are clearly outlined and correct, including dial-in numbers, access code, and any links to your online meeting room.

Or, create a meeting with FreeConference.com and the conference details are populated in all invitations and reminders, along with your meeting agenda. 

Try to send out the agenda at least 48 hours in advance.

Advance notice provides attendees with the time to prepare for the board meeting and to ensure that they don’t have any conflicts in their schedule.

Try to send out the agenda at least 48 hours in advance.

Advance notice provides attendees with the time to prepare for the meeting and to ensure that they don’t have any conflicts in their schedule.

This blog post probably wouldn’t exist 20 years ago (insert modern globalization cliché here), as more companies find employees that are spread all over the globe, the demand for a Time Zone management was formed. Here are Top 7 business tools for managing Time Zone differences for remote team members.

Timefinder1. Timefinder

Let’s start with the big picture, the Timefinder is a simple but handy app that shows time zones on the globe. The app lays out the countries of the globe. The handy tool bar on the left allows you to pick your cities. When a city is picked, the local time is shown on the tool bar and the map.

2. Boomerang

boomerang time zone app

Boomerang helps you schedule emails so they could be sent out later. This is handy especially for team members abroad in case you send something urgent while they are off duty. Boomerang integrates with Gmail to help you send certain emails at certain times, simple enough.

3. Time Zone Converter

time zone converter appLike a calculator or currency converter, this app is as simple as it gets, 2 clocks, the one on the left always displays local time. The clock on the right is where you enter a major city, it will give the local time in that major city, perfect for time zone emergencies and quick searches.

4. World Clock Meeting Planner

timeanddate time zone appEver get frustrated with planning a meeting with colleagues overseas while dealing with different time-zones? Well the World Clock Meeting Planner allows you to enter multiple locations so you get a clear view for the answer to “What time is it there?” Allowing easy planning for trans-national meetings.

5. Timezone.io

timezone.io appTimezone.io allows you to keep track of the local time of your team members. Simply put your team members and their affiliated cities on the website so you get a clear view of all your team members and their local times. A useful visual interface.

6. World Time Buddy

Ever get frustrated with planning a meeting… wait a minute didn’t we go through this already? World Time buddy is similar to World Clock Meeting Planner in that you chose 3 or more cities to see what time it is in other locations compared to a certain local time. This app has Widgets and mobile app integrations too.

world time buddy time zone app

7. Just use your phone (iOS)

Feeling repetitive? You’re not alone, apparently there’s only so much you can do with Time zones. If you have an iPhone, simply use the World Clock feature to add specific locations to compare different time-zones.

world clock feature for iPhone

 

P.S. We have our own!

If you're feeling flustered by all of these choices, don't fret just yet. FreeConference.com has our own time-zone management app to manage your international conference calls! You can find it under the Schedule function or in Settings – > Time Zones.

a pair of hands hold a clock and have three different time from three cities aside

Four happy people, standing, laughing and having a party while video chatting with others using a tabletA virtual social gathering, if you haven’t been to one already, is as close to the real thing but instead, is hosted online using a video conferencing platform. Use the following tips and advice to help you get set up for fun events within your company, circle of friends or family gatherings. All it takes is a couple of invitations, a few mouse clicks and the use of optimized features for you to jump onto a call and start socializing with anyone from anywhere at any time!

Here are a few questions to help you get planning:

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Let’s take a look at how a video conferencing platform enhances the quality of online project management.

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Side view of employee smiling and in mid-conversation, seated at desktop computer in office space with headphones, looking to the rightAs part of a sales team, you know just how critical a sales call is. Especially now that we’ve moved everything online, a video conferencing sales call has to work extra hard at making a good first impression. Here’s the good news: With a few tips and tricks by your side, you can easily navigate a virtual environment to make a connection, flawlessly sell your product and gain the trust of clients.

Read on for a few ways to shine online using video conferencing:

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group meetingEffective collaboration can take many forms but the one key indicator that leads to results is a shared goal. When everyone knows what they are working for, with a clear vision in mind of what the final product should achieve, everything else can fall into place. The end of the team effort, the destination, will set the groundwork for the journey and how to get there.

Sure, that sounds simple enough, however, it’s the “getting there” that requires a few moving parts, like mutual respect, building trust, and great collaboration tools. Thankfully, there are some tried and true methods and boxes to tick that will shape how you and your team get from point a to point b.

Let’s get a closer look at some of the markers of successful collaboration and what it takes to build and maintain a collaborative culture within your team.

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lady-laptopScreen sharing is the go-to web conferencing feature that immediately boosts the productivity of online meetings. If you want a successful meeting, consider how screen sharing promotes better interactions, higher engagement, and improved participation.

Imagine being able to instantly see and interact with other users’ personal desktops. Rather than having to go through the motions of explaining something in a meeting to participants, you can show them with a few clicks of a button.

Let’s dive in a little deeper. (more…)

girl-laptopAn in-person meeting has traditionally been the most effective, and reliable way to convene but with workforces growing and stretching across the globe, conference calls are more important than ever. If you’re a large group or small to midsize business, your unique needs require clear and concise communication.

Think of a conference call as a virtual conference table where everyone is available to participate in the conversation no matter where they are. Conference calls facilitate group collaboration and are a perfect alternative to meeting in person, saving you commuting time, travel costs and accommodation. (more…)

monitorThe benefits of using a green screen for video conferencing, online meetings and creating video content are plenty. As outlined in Part 1, you have complete creative control over the look and feel of your message, brand and output. Imagine having access to endless scenic backgrounds without having to shell out lots of money or step foot out of your office or home? Consider how a clean and polished looking background positions your brand front row and center and gives life to your message, making you extra memorable. And how about a green screen as the secret weapon to making your video content stand out amongst the competition? These are only a few reasons how a green screen can positively affect your business, and we’re only just scratching the surface!

Now that you’ve established your online meetings can be taken up a notch or two, here’s how to incorporate a green screen so you can use it to enhance your meetings or add a sprinkle of “je ne sais quois” to your webinar, tutorial, demonstration and so much more. (more…)

photo lightWhen we hear the words “green screen,” it’s not typically followed by the notion of video conferencing. It immediately takes you back to a B-list horror movie that got lost in the 80s rather than a professional online meeting solution. Spoiler alert… It has now become the latter, not the former! (more…)

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