Online meetings can be far more effective than face-to-face discussion, but if attendees ignore your invites you'll never see the benefits. Roger Courville from VirtualPresenter.com shares eight tips to create more effective invitations that will guarantee everyone signs on and shows up — plus you can download a full ebook guide with 102 tips for maximising the effectiveness of online meetings.
Meeting picture from Shutterstock
System-generated invitations are convenient, but they usually only include generic stuff about the mechanics of the meeting (such as the phone number, login URL, and so on.). If you stop there, you're often leaving money on the table.
1. Change the subject line of a system-generated meeting invite
People make an "open this/don't open this" decision from the subject line of an email. Make sure your subject line is more informative than the system-generated one.
2. Put the most important action item first
Someone who's busy may miss something added at the bottom of the email.
3. Include WIIFM in the invite
"What's in it for me?" is a common reminder that people are motivated, in part, by self-interest. For example, instead of "New benefits plan", consider communicating "Learn how to save money with the new benefits plan."
4. Add explicit instructions to the body of the email
Edit the body of the system-generated invite to include the appropriate instructions. For example, "Action Required: This meeting will start and end on time. Please log in a few minutes early to ensure you are ready.
5. Let people know in advance that they'll be on camera
Remember that many people will think of the online meeting like a conference call…and give themselves permission to not brush their hair (or whatever they're inclined to do or not do).
6. Send a reminder email so invitees don't have to look for it
Don't assume invitees saved the original meeting invitation to their calendar. Most systems include options to reinvite attendees. In GoRight-click the GoToMeeting daisy icon in the system tray, log in (if you haven't already), select the meeting you want to (re-)invite attendees to and choose which way to send them another invitation.
7. Be mindful of time zone differences when you schedule the meeting
Remember that many people do not regularly deal with other time zones, and those who do are often used to their email or calendar program adjusting for those differences.
8. Include a link to a time zone converter
Never mind how simple it would be for someone to search for a time zone conversion website,you will get the occasional email asking.
Want the full set of tips? Free instant download
The complete ebook includes 102 tips on how to improve online meetings, covering these key areas:
- How to generate value beyond saving travel expenses
- Unexpected ways to use web conferencing
- How to improve satisfaction with online meetings
- Ways to improve meeting management
- And much more!