In the wake of the current situation, countless people have suddenly been thrust into the world of remote work. And with increased encouragement to maintain social distance, there’s a distinct possibility that in-person meetings with teams, customers, or suppliers may not be possible for, potentially, weeks. In circumstances like these, it is quite apparent that Virtual Meetings and Online Conference Calls take center stage.
Virtual meetings are more valuable than traditional face-to-face meetings. Other than the fact that they are inexpensive to get your team together as there are no travel costs and readily available technologies. But still how to make them fully efficient can be a bit of a head-scratcher: What is the best online meeting platform to use? And how to make sure you cover everything before everyone hangs up or disconnects? If running an online meeting feels like one big question to you, don’t worry. Let’s take a look at the things you need to know to run an effective remote meeting.
Tips to Conduct a Successful Virtual Meeting
While the basics of etiquette still apply, running a virtual conference requires a different approach from chairing face-to-face ones. Use the strategies below to plan and host a successful virtual conference.
Work From Home carries with it a plethora of advantages, it also has the potential to deteriorate the productivity levels of an individual. While working from home, far away from each other, maintaining effective communication among the team members becomes critical, and virtual meetings take the center stage in ensuring effective coordination and progress on various team initiatives. Therefore, to establish a fluent communication level and also, to maximize the performance of your employees while working from home, we provide you with the following tips that will help you conduct successful virtual meetings:
We can divide the important tips to consider into three parts:
Before the meeting:
1. Choose the right online meeting tool.
Technology is abundant out there that makes the process of running an online meeting easier, faster, and more collaborative—the key is figuring out which of these tools is right for your team.
When choosing remote meeting tools, ask yourself:
- What is the key functionality I need for this remote team meeting to be successful?
Do you need to see everyone’s reactions when you share your new product ideas? Try video conferencing software. Do you need everyone to work on a copy collaboratively? You should consider something like Google Docs.
- How many people need to be involved in your remote meeting?
The online meeting tools that are most effective for a one-on-one chat aren’t necessarily most effective for running a video conferencing with 20 people spread across different time zones. Make sure the meeting platform you choose can accommodate a large number of participants.
2. What is the objective of the meeting?
Who should attend? What exactly do you need to discuss? Decide what you want to cover, and estimate how much time each item will take. Be clear with your start and finish times; just because your meeting is virtual, that doesn’t mean anyone can arrive late or leave early.
3. Test the technology ahead of time.
Testing the technology before your virtual meeting timing is very critical, make sure that the necessary software and programs are working correctly. Go through things like internet connection and software settings.
4. Provide an audio dial-in option.
Smooth video calling requires a good internet connection; therefore, for any potential interruption related to the network, for example, internet breakdowns, power cuts, device failures, etc., it’s better to keep an alternative. Using the audio-calling feature, you can overcome network issues and maintain an uninterrupted communication flow.
5. Send Meeting Invitation One Day Before.
It is advisable that one should send the meeting invitation link to the participants a day before the meeting so that everybody can prepare and schedule accordingly. You can also send a reminder about the meeting one hour before the meeting so that nobody misses.
During the meeting:
1. Turn the video on.
Since everyone on the call is far away from each other, the best thing we can do is to make sure everyone feels like they are in the same room. There are many options to choose from for video callings, such as WebEx and Skype. The video will make the team feel more engaged because it allows team members to see each other’s reactions, which humanizes the room.
2. Connect People.
People perform better when they are comfortable with each other, which affords a greater degree of openness and mutual interest. How? You can have a personal-professional check-in at the beginning of a meeting. Have team members take one minute and go around to talk about what’s going on in their lives personally and professionally.
3. Be Humane.
As a leader in the current COVID-19 times, the topmost priority is to show empathy towards team members and ensure their well-being.
In essence, it is essential to enforce interpersonal relationships and togetherness — especially when people may be feeling isolated at their home. Therefore, always open up your virtual conference by greeting your team members and ensuring their family and friends are safe in this challenging time.
4. Be respectful of a colleague’s time.
Before a virtual meeting, set clear objectives, and send a pre-read to the team members if needed. To be more efficient in the meetings, keep an agenda, define meeting ground rules, and clearly outline the next steps after each section and also at the end of the meeting.
The next steps should clearly outline accountabilities and timelines to accomplish the tasks before the next meeting. If someone has to present, ask them to use the screen sharing feature, so everybody can literally be on the same page.
5. Ensure everyone’s point of view is respected.
Getting everyone’s inputs in an online meeting is essential. The best practice to conduct successful virtual meetings is virtually ‘going around the table’ before finalizing a decision.
This practice ensures that everyone’s opinion in the conference is heard — avoiding the risk of excluding any introvert attendee’s views.
After the meeting:
Conducting successful virtual meetings is an iterative process. Ensure to gather feedback from your colleagues after each meeting so that those learnings can be incorporated in the next meeting. Let everyone share what they would’ve done differently in the meeting. This exercise will help you understand what would make your virtual meetings super productive.
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