Ten ways to kick off a successful online meeting

A positive start to your online group will help people feel welcome. It’s also reassuring for the facilitator to know that everyone’s ready and able to contribute. We’ve found that these simple tips can ensure everyone can play a part.

  1. Greet people as they join the meeting to help them feel welcome.
  2. Have a general chat session for the first few minutes to get everyone warmed up. Include some opportunities to increase sense of social presence, i.e. chat about themselves or where they are.
  3. Alternatively, give participants a small task to do at the start, such as introducing themselves in the text chat.
  4. Use the participant list as a means of getting people to introduce themselves and get used to speaking in the room. This is also a good audio check.
  5. Set ground rules and expectations at the beginning of the session – for example, raise a hand if you want to speak, type comments in the text chat – to help people understand how and when to interact.
  6. Aim to have two helpers if you can: one to check the text chat and one to handle technical queries.
  7. Look out for anyone coming in late – perhaps set a reminder to check if anyone is new at regular intervals.
  8. Remind people to turn off their mics when they’re not talking and remember that you have the power to mute them if they don’t follow the instructions. Even for professors!
  9. If you’re recording the session, check that people are happy about this.
  10. Plan to use breakout rooms to prompt participants to share ideas.