For many companies that hold video meetings, the last thing they want is to be ill-prepared and ineffective. In fact, virtual meetings take more than just having the right technology and “normal” rules on how discussions should be run. Yes, virtual meetings are more than just being tech savvy and being polite, especially since more and more people are taking up remote work nowadays.
Here are 6 effective ways that you can run virtual meetings for your company, while accommodating to those who are working from home:
1. Prep Ahead Of Time
“Like with any other meeting, virtual meetings have to have enough preparation,” says Son Hooks, an HR expert at Writinity and Last minute writing. “Don’t just prep your technological devices beforehand, think outside of the box and see what needs to be adjusted, added, or cut out prior to the virtual meeting.”
As you prep ahead of time, keep the following objectives in mind:
- Your meeting’s purpose (What you hope to accomplish)
- Meeting objectives
- A timed agenda
- Clear roles: facilitator (or chair), timekeeper and scribe (to take down minutes)
- Ground rules that are agreed upon by everyone in the meeting
- Agreed-upon actions that will be recorded, communicated, and followed up
2. Set Some Ground Rules
Ground rules are extremely important for virtual meetings; and every participant has to agree to said rules. Here are some possible rules that you can implement that can be customized to your employees and business environment:
- Find a quiet place for virtual meetings.
- Be on time.
- No multi-tasking.
- Webcam only.
3. Be A Moderator That Encourages Participation
It’s important to moderate each virtual meeting, or have someone moderate for you. Moderators have the following responsibilities:
- Make participation comfortable for all members of the meeting. Chances are, a comfortable environment allows people to actively participate in the meeting.
- Promote honesty and respect for each other, so that everyone is comfortable with the meeting environment.
- Ensure that all attendees have something to say about the meeting’s chosen topic. Ask attendees about their thoughts if needed.
- Make sure that everyone is on track. Don’t let attendees trail off on something else.
- Have a support staff on stand-by, in case any attendees are having technical difficulties.
4. Focus On The Important Stuff
With a clear objective, your virtual meeting will run smoothly. Remember to not take up anyone’s time with insufficient topics. If desired, coordinate the discussion based on key topics.
5. Take Minutes
“Once the meeting is over, you have to create a short synopsis of what was accomplished during that time,” says James Gettysburg, a leadership blogger at Draft beyond and Research Papers UK. “To do this, you’ll need to take minutes during the meeting, or have someone take them for you.”
The minutes should include the following, and be mentioned in the synopsis:
- Any agreed-upon actions,
- A timeline for completing said actions
- Who is responsible for completing said actions
- When the next meeting will be held (if these sessions are recurring)
- Where each participant is located, along with their time zones
6. Use Feedback To Improve
Finally, it’s important to accept any feedback from attendees on the meeting. You can:
- Set aside time after the meeting for people to suggest any changes or concerns on how virtual meetings should be run in the future, OR
- Send attendees a survey (print or digital), and they can check-box or write down what they would like to see in future meetings
So, as you can tell, virtual meetings are a fundamental way of getting things done for companies who have remote workers. While some virtual meetings can be frustrating and ineffective, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little prep and brainstorming, and by following these 6 tips, virtual meetings will not only be stress-free, but also effective for everyone involved.