When was the last time you had an in-person meeting? Let’s face it: today’s work rendezvous are becoming increasingly more electronic. While online or virtual meetings can be convenient, they also detract from participant accountability by providing more room to lose people’s attention. When people are distracted, meetings lose focus and require more time for repetition.

To keep your meetings—and your schedule—on track, consider these six tips and transform your routine.

  1. Agenda action—Whether your meeting participants are located across the building or the world, it’s important to get everyone on the same page. While formal agendas may not be as in vogue as they once were, reinstate the practice. Include the meeting’s topics in the body of your calendar invite or email out a document 24-48 hours before the designated time. This will provide all parties the chance to set their expectations regarding the meeting goals. And yes—if you’re the recipient of a meeting agenda, read it! Even if you’re familiar with the project or discussion topics, you may learn important information about the perspectives or concerns on the table, and it’s never fun being blindsided.
  1. Prep your (Ps and) Qs—Whether your meeting has a set agenda or not, make sure you know what your goals are. Before the meeting, compile any notes or background information you may need to reference as well as any questions. Having a prepared list or set of bullet points will relieve the pressure of thinking of any questions on the spot as well as allowing you to engage with the discussion at hand. Feel free to jot down questions on the agenda if there is one, or set up your notes document ahead of time with initial goals or thoughts at the top. No matter your preparation style, following this preparation practice will ensure you’re reminded of your own agenda the day of the meeting.

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  1. Troubleshoot your tech—Whether it’s your first online meeting or your millionth, make sure you know how to use your technology. Confirm how to dial in and that your speakers work. If you need internet to access your conference or your (meeting-related) email or notes, check that Wi-Fi! Initial frustrations often develop when that one person needs one more minute to access the conference line. Don’t be that cause—get to your conference room early and dial in. Even if you set your phone to mute until other people join, at least you can focus on the content of your talk rather than getting there in the first place.
  1. Sharing is caring—If you are reviewing any information with accompanying visuals or statistics or if you’re referencing external documents, make sure everyone can follow along. Set up a screen share so that you can direct your audience’s attention and keep everyone on the same page. This step may alleviate the “Wait! Where are we?” questions as well as the “Hold on, I have to get to the right page.” Sharing your screen eliminates the need for those pauses and moments of confusion. Just remember: if you’re sharing your screen, make sure to turn off any email, phone or messaging programs or notifications to avoid any uncomfortable announcements.

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  1. Be direct—One of the challenges of online meetings is knowing who is about to speak or who needs to jump in. Based on the meeting participants and their personalities, virtual meetings can range on the spectrum of everyone talking over each other to long pauses after someone’s finished speaking. To avoid indistinct vocal jumbles or empty air time, frame questions specifically to other meeting participants. If people are working together or relying on other steps in the process to move forward, don’t be afraid to ask them specifically if they have anything to add or additional questions. By being direct with turning the conversation, you’ll ensure that you’ve maximized meeting time while allowing everyone to be heard.
  1. Personality perks—Online, phone or virtual meetings can be a drag—you don’t have body language to read how people are responding or whether they’re following along. To remedy the possibility of losing people’s focus, keep your personality primed. Be as personable as you would be in person—or more so, as the meeting requires. High energy will engage your audience and keep them tuned in to the topics at hand. They wouldn’t want to lose track, especially if you have a habit of asking people directly how they respond to a point. With everyone involved at the top of their meeting game, your meeting points will be addressed quickly, and you’ll cover more material in less time.

No matter the meeting format, there’s no need to get lost in the virtual shuffle. By being prepared and engaging your colleagues, your meetings will be clear and on target with your goals.

Source:  Business Academy

Warner Brothers premiered Batman v Superman to the masses globally on March 25, 2016. Microsoft was a key partner at the red-carpet premiere at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Premiere events are an increasingly important part of movie campaigns, especially to generate buzz and engagement before a release. The live stream of a premiere extends the reach of such events, so fans around the world can feel they’re a part of it. But for Batman v. Superman, the stakes were unusually high and there was only one chance to get it right.

Batman v. Superman was one of the most anticipated movies of the year and one that went on to break box office records. Its massive premiere event was one of the largest domestic events Warner Brothers had ever attempted. The DC Comics universe has a global fan base and Warner Brothers wanted to give all those fans the feeling they were at the event. It needed a battle-tested enterprise grade platform to make this happen.

Warner Brothers turned to an innovative partner with a history of supporting premieres: Microsoft. The company may be the only one with the breadth of technologies that Warner Brothers needed to pull off the live stream of the premiere: Xbox as the “TV station in a box” platform, Microsoft Azure for global reach and scalability, and Skype for video conferencing.

Just two weeks
Microsoft planned and implemented a world-class, broadcast-quality, fiber-based live-stream solution in Radio City Music Hall in just two weeks. The Red Carpet experience featured a Skype in Media booth for the stars of the movie to interact with Skype fans from around the world, the live feed from New York City was sent to the Xbox Live studio in Redmond, Washington and was then encoded, packaged and delivered via Azure Media Services and CDN to create a seamless viewing experience for the tens of thousands of fans from around the world.

Multiple 48-megabits-per-second cables delivered the must-have reliability that Warner Brothers needed for the one-time-only live event, along with the quality and multiple speeds to run on every popular web browser and mobile device—and on the 60-inch monitors inside the Music Hall.

Bringing the live feed into the theater helped to amplify the overall premiere experience for Warner Brothers’ guests, giving them ‘red-carpet access’ and providing entertainment while they waited for the movie to begin.

Maximizing global attention
Warner Brothers used Skype to magnify the global impact of the event. Some of the top Batman v. Superman influencers got to ask questions of the talent on the red carpet while streaming live to a global audience. This was more than just capturing and distributing the premiere. This was shaping the premiere to maximize global attention and engagement.

Warner Brothers found that the right technology for its premiere event was crucial—but not enough. It needed more, and Microsoft delivered once again. The Microsoft team provided excellent service and quickly pulled together the resources to make the premiere a success. It met every editorial request that Warner Brothers made.

3X the typical audience
Warner Brothers measures the success of a live-stream premiere through the amount of editorial coverage and viewership it gains. The Microsoft event had three times the audience that Warner Brothers typically sees during a live stream and generated major editorial coverage. That coverage amplified awareness and led to one of the most successful superhero movie opening weekends of all time.

Not bad for mere mortals.