Nobody really loves meetings. Whether they’re online or offline, they’re a necessary evil. However, they’re a natural part of any business, as they’re a good way to bring people together and to disseminate information to a lot of people at once. There are some things to bear in mind when organising meetings online to make them as smooth and accessible as possible. Don’t use chat rooms or messaging apps, as they can make discussions confusing. Use proper meeting rooms like zoom or webinar software, for example, and if the meeting is with lots of people, restrict the chat settings so that people can only respond to the whole group. If people start chatting amongst themselves within the meeting it can be problematic for overall group cohesion and you want everybody to be open and to be able to hear everything.
Try and make an agenda for when the meetings take place and keep them regular. Make sure it’s an appointment in people’s diaries. I would also try and keep each meeting 15 or 20 minutes, any longer and people’s focus may start to wane. Keep them short and sharp. A part of that is setting an outcome in advance and then restating it again at the beginning of the meeting. Agree on what you will have achieved by the time you finish meeting. I think that will set the meeting up to be much more succinct and focused.
I would also try and ask yourself: do you need to have another meeting? Is the meeting on the right channel, or could its outcome be achieved in a better way? Would it be better on a chat channel? Would it be better is just an announcement in an email?
After the online meeting I would follow up with an email, to reiterate what people have committed to do in the meeting. You’re checking that people have understood and agreed to things the way you understood them. Sometimes there can be a mismatch, when one or both of you have made a mistake, and a follow up email or document like a Google Doc can make sure everything is clear.