Virtual meetings have become the new norm in how many meetings are conducted. While some companies have adapted quickly and are able to conduct successful virtual meetings, some companies are struggling with the forced need to make things virtual.
Virtual events are a cost-effective method to achieve a myriad of goals, including webinars, training, and conferences, it’s important to ensure that effective communication isn’t being traded for bottom-line savings.
Lee E. Miller, an influencing trainer and author of UP: Influence, Power and the U Perspective: The Art of Getting What You Want, adds, “The biggest mistake people make is assuming that influencing when you are meeting face to face is the same as influencing when you are interacting virtually. It’s not. The rules are different because people respond differently when they are interacting virtually.”
Here are 5 tips to conduct successful virtual meetings
Clearly define the agenda for the meeting beforehand. Decide on who the participating audience will be and what information is to be shared in the meeting. A good agenda fosters an understanding for the participants.
Make sure your agenda includes the following:
- Key talking points
- Meeting structure
- Members who will be in attendance
- Any relevant documents, research, and data
Guidelines are equally important as the agenda. Establish clear guidelines – the rules and expectations of how the team should operate during the remote meeting. Make sure your team and everyone in attendance are informed about the guidelines prior to the meeting.
For instance – Can everyone speak freely or should the speak only when called upon by the person leading the meeting. Should everyone have their camera on or off? If somebody has a question, how do they put it across during the meeting?
Setting guidelines prior to the meeting ensures that the meeting goes on without any unexpected interruptions.
Tools and Technology
There are so many tools available today to conduct a virtual meeting. Make sure you test the technology once before starting the meeting. Make sure all your files and documents are ready to be shared (if you’re the presenter).
Video-conference meetings should move at a slower pace than typical meetings due to a two to three seconds delay for most systems to communicate.
If you’re the presenter make sure you give enough pauses after each question and after key points are discussed.
The key to conducting a successful virtual meeting is to treat it as an actual meeting. Give your full attention during the meeting – don’t get distracted by opening emails, surfing the web, or texting on your phones.
If you’re a participant, it’s important to remember not to interrupt the presenter. If you have a question or a concern leave a comment or use “raise hand” if you’re using zoom.
Our top 5 Virtual Meeting Do’s –
- Start the meeting by introducing the agenda and the speakers
- Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera
- Dress appropriately
- Be specific and speak clearly
- Movements and gestures need to be slow and natural
Our top 5 Virtual Meeting Don’ts –
- Don’t interrupt the speaker
- Don’t carry on side conversations
- Don’t make distracting movements
- Don’t start the meeting in a noisy environment
- Don’t cover the video or audio
While it’s important to stick to the agenda and be specific during the meeting. Make space on the agenda for interactions with the audience. They might have questions/queries or if not it’s a great opportunity to keep everyone involved in the meeting.
Now, this doesn’t mean you ask open-ended questions. Ask specific questions to specific people. This increases engagement from all the participants and establishes a personal connection.