Online meeting, virtually not different from personal meeting!

Since the COVID outbreak early this year we have been talking, seeing and meeting each other in online video settings. For more than 6 months colleagues have not had a decent coffee break together, let alone to drink a beer on a Friday afternoon. Managers find it difficult to keep their teams motivated. They lack the emotional bonding and feel disconnected.

Online meetings with purchasing team of a dissatisfied customer

At times of the COVID crisis the businesses experience a strong headwind and professionals have to deal with a heavy workload. The pressure is on in internal meetings but also in external meetings. Especially when the sales team of a supplier has to face the purchasing team of a dissatisfied customer. A joint meeting in the office is not an option and the problem has to be solved! How then to facilitate and steer an online meeting successfully?

Online Meeting

In the second module of the IFFI online masterclass ‘The New Normal’ managers and professionals experienced what it is like to have the proper mindset for an online meeting.


  • Prepare the online meeting well. Divide the tasks between the facilitator and the producer. Agree on a script and agenda, think about what is appropriate for using on this platform. Consider to mail presentations in advance. Plan this meeting well in advance and make a ‘dry run’. Make sure that you have sufficient lighting (allowing the participants to see you) and include 45 minutes sessions with 10 minutes break.
  • Check-in and carry out a virtual ‘handshake’. Connect with each participant in the meeting and check whether the audio and video is working properly. Check also if the participants’ face can be seen and voice can be heard by everybody. Take your time!
  • Introduction of each participant, short, brief and clear. This round is of real importance to make a connection between the participants. The facilitator can ask additional questions to clarify but also to put people at their ease.
  • Agenda to inform the participants about the process and the expected results. Especially the process is of importance to encourage and facilitate interaction between the participants. Agree on mute/unmute the microphone, use the chatbox, insist that the video is turned on and inform that the session can be recorded.
  • Check-out, summarize the agreed decisions, actions and follow. At the same time inform the participants where they can find the produced documentation and recordings. The facilitator closes the meeting and turns off the online session when the past participant has left the meeting.


Smart toolings

The production of online meetings can include toolings such as Merimeter (questions can be answered by all participants and the output can be demonstrated directly), Whiteboard (write down the output of the meeting to be seen by the participants simultaneously) and ‘Break-out rooms’ (small groups can discuss amongst themselves, even in 1-to-1 sessions to facilitate the bonding between participants).


Take away

The take away is that meeting your counterpart online is not very different from meeting them offline. To get the basics right, both process and toolings, guarantees sufficient bonding between the participants and a successful outcome of your online meeting.

Good luck and see you online!