More and more people are working remotely these days, which means more remote meetings. It can be more difficult to run an effective virtual meeting than a real-life one though. With these tips, you can ensure that your meeting is a success.
Table of Contents
Make A Plan
Make sure you have created a plan and have a purpose for the meeting, and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them coming into the meeting – they might need to prepare a report or check in with another member of staff. Also, ensure that you are using a reliable form of video meeting software and have a plan B in case there is a technical issue.
Break The Ice
Once you have got everyone in the meeting, start off by introducing the individuals if they are not familiar with each other, or simply welcome the team and ask how everyone is. No matter whether you are in a meeting with people you have or haven’t met before, it’s always important to warm up the brain and get the team comfortable with each other. There are a number of ways to break the ice on virtual meetings, including just simply having a conversation about something other than work – for example, what you’ve been up to, what your holiday plans are, what movies you’ve watched recently – or you could even play a team-building game.
Because you are seeing these people in real life, it can be difficult to find a connection and build relationships with people through the screen. But by doing this simple step you can engage the team, add an element of fun, and help destress any overwhelmed individuals. Once everyone has loosened up and activated their brains, you will be set up for a good and productive meeting.
State The Meeting Mission
After everyone has switched on and caught up with each other, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty stuff. Begin by reminding everyone what the purpose of the meeting is and set a goal that you want to achieve by the end. Perhaps you want to have generated some ideas for a business event or to make sure that everyone is up-to-date on a certain strategy. Remember that specific goals will help focus your meeting and are more likely to be achieved than more general goals- for example, rather than discussing “how to increase productivity”, you could discuss, “how to streamline the order fulfillment process”.
Actively Engage People
It’s easy for some people to sit back and melt into the background of a virtual, remote meeting. It’s therefore useful to give people tasks to do throughout the meeting to ensure that they are participating properly. Rather than passively listening, you could ask someone to take notes on what has been discussed and decided. Although you may be the leader of the meeting, giving other people responsibility for managing and facilitating the discussion points can give them a sense of purpose and allow them a chance to show off their skills and capabilities.
Identify Before Speaking
When you’re in a remote meeting, keeping on top of who’s speaking can be more difficult than in a real-life meeting, particularly if you’re just using voices, rather than video chat. In a larger group of people, it may be necessary to ask people to identify themselves before they speak so that everyone knows who is currently talking. Just a simple “Hey, Rachel here” before putting forward what you want to say.
That said, this is made much easier by using video calls rather than just voice calls because you can use a setting where the box of the person speaking lights up. It also puts faces to names and voices, which can help build relationships better.
Keep People Focused
Avoid letting side discussions or interruptions occur, unless you purposefully put people into smaller groups to make separate decisions. During certain parts of the meeting, you can put everyone else on mute so that there is less background noise. This can also allow you to finish what you want to say before you take any questions or feedback from others.
Send out a summary of what the meeting discussed and what was decided. It’s then important to ask people to send updates on what the progress and outcome were so you can evaluate how the meeting helped and what you can change for next time.
Overall, a good remote meeting can be achieved by good planning and starting the meeting by breaking the ice first. Make sure to set goals for the meeting and give people things to do to keep them engaged. Then don’t forget to follow up with an email about what was discussed.