The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced almost all employees to work from home. As more and more businesses adapt to their new remote policy, it is clear to team leaders that virtual meetings are becoming the backbone of everyone’s business strategy. So, whether virtual meetings have been a part of your team’s normal everyday workflow or they are the new normal for your team, the following tips can help you lead more successful virtual meetings!
1. Focus on Organization
According to LearnLight, an award winning EdTech company, organization is the key to running a successful virtual meeting. They outlined the following tips to keep every virtual meeting organized:
- Choose the best tool that works for everyone. There are many platforms to choose from when it comes to online meetings. The important thing is to choose one that everyone is able to easily download and use. There may be a short trial and error phase, so do a few practice meetings that are just casual to make sure the platform works correctly before a necessary meeting is held.
- Create a group calendar and send out an invitation for upcoming virtual meetings. This not only helps employees plan ahead and organize their day and week around the meeting, but it also allows people to confirm they will be attending.
- Set up a notification system to remind employees at least 15 minutes before a meeting starts. In the workplace, employees are connected and more aware of when meetings are. However, remote workers are disconnected from their team for most of the day and it can be easy to get distracted and miss a meeting.
- Have an agenda and send it out beforehand. This way employees know the topics that are going to be discussed, and if they have a specific question or comment they can see on the agenda when the best time to bring it up would be.
2. Improve Engagement
Getting employees to be more engaged during virtual meetings actually takes more effort outside of the meeting. When working remotely, many team members may not feel comfortable interacting with others over technology, so they are less likely to voice their opinion or contribute during the meeting. To help everyone feel more comfortable communicating with each other, create a virtual “water cooler.” The water cooler is asymbol of camaraderie and communication for work colleagues. This is a place where employees can bond, which helps everyone feel a sense of belonging and can often spark great new ideas. For those who are new to remote working in combination with social distancing requirements, virtual watercoolers can also help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, all of which can help improve engagement and participation in virtual meetings. Examples of virtual water coolers include: Group chats in Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, or Slack, holding virtual check-ins where employees discuss nonwork related topics, virtual book clubs, virtual yoga classes, or even movie nights using Netflix Party. Overall, a virtual water cooler is a way for employees to interact and socialize, which strengthens their bond and helps them become more comfortable communicating over technology.
3. Keep it Short
According to a Harvard Business Review article, virtual meetings should be kept short and should maximize on the time spent in discussion mode so that everyone stays focused and productive. If someone needs to present something, consider sending out a handout and other background information ahead of time. That way everyone is on the same page and the presentation is only a small part of the meeting. If the discussion starts to slow down or stall, don’t be afraid to call on people or initiate a “go around the table” kind of discussion. This helps the meeting stay on track and gives everyone the chance to offer their opinion.
For even more tips on holding a successful virtual meeting, click here!