Conducting virtual meetings successfully can be challenging given the technologies involved and factors like time zones. However, virtual meetings can effectively promote collaboration and boost engagement. With 70% of professionals working remotely at least once a week, virtual meetings are becoming a necessity. Luckily, there are ways to make virtual meetings less dreadful for those involved and more productive. Here are five tips for facilitating virtual meetings so that they are successful.
There are numerous platforms to conduct virtual meetings ranging from Zoom and GoToMeeting to Skype. While these platforms facilitate video meetings, each platform has unique features that support different functions. Before setting up a virtual meeting, take into account your needs; for example, if you have to share screens, conduct a poll, or utilize whiteboards for discussions. The cost, as well as the size of your meeting also matter when choosing the right platform. Consider a platform that is convenient for everyone while allowing you to carry out all your set activities successfully. It is crucial to conduct a test-run on all your devices so that your meeting is not interrupted by technological hitches
The key to a successful meeting highly lies in planning and preparation. Have a clear agenda that includes key discussion areas, date and duration of the session, participating members and their roles, as well as any other relevant documents. By sending out a detailed agenda to the concerned parties prior to the meeting, each member will have a clear understanding of their roles. It is also a great way of ensuring everyone is on the same page before the meeting. While virtual meetings should be short and straight to the point, make room for casual discussions to promote engagement and help build a connection among members.
Ground rules keep any meeting in order and regulate the behavior of members. Before holding a virtual meeting, it is pertinent that you collectively come up with rules for everyone to follow. A great way to go about it is by holding on to the same norms observed in face-to-face meetings. These include punctuality, not picking calls, or moving about during the meeting, muting the line when not talking and stating your name before speaking. Also, ensure that everyone limits background noise to promote clarity and ensure that the rest of the participants follow what is being said.
Before setting up a meeting, you already know the objectives and topics of discussion. Based on the agenda, decide who is going to be part of the meeting to avoid wasting time and creating distractions. Try as much as possible only to involve key members to make the process smooth, fast and efficient. As you schedule your meeting, consider the time zones of members so that you set a time that is convenient for all. Also, ensure that everyone gets time to voice their contributions, raise concerns, or provide updates. This way, you avoid a few members dominating the meeting, which may leave others feeling left out.
Your first virtual meeting may or may not be as successful as you expect. Take note of what worked and what didn’t after the meeting. When debriefing, you can ask the rest of the participants for their opinions concerning the success of the meeting. This way, you get an idea of what worked and what needs improving so that future meetings can be successful and productive.
With the above tips, you can effectively facilitate a virtual meeting and successfully meet your goals and objectives.