Have you been in a virtual meeting that felt like it was going nowhere? Maybe the conversation went off on tangents, people were not engaged, multitasking, and not paying attention at all. If you have, then you know how frustrating it can be.
Virtual meetings are an integral part of today’s business world since they allow diverse team members to communicate regardless of location. It can also save time and money for businesses by allowing people to communicate remotely rather than traveling for in-person meetings.
While this technology has undoubtedly changed how we communicate, it can also be tricky to execute a successful and productive meeting. Here are our six recommendations to help you make the most of your next virtual meeting.
Critical Factors for Hosting an Effective Virtual Meeting
1. Define the purpose of the meeting
There’s more to consider than who to invite and what to discuss when planning a meeting. The objective of a meeting is one of the most important factors in determining its efficiency. Everyone is more likely to be productive and keep on schedule if they all understand why they’re there.
A meeting might be held for a different purpose, from brainstorming new ideas to making decisions on a project. Determining the specific purpose of your meeting will help you focus on the most relevant things and make certain that everyone understands what needs to be done.
2. Distribute an agenda before the meeting
You can guarantee that everyone is on the same page and that the meeting runs smoothly by providing an agenda ahead of time. Plus, it’s always helpful to have something to refer back to when the meeting is over.
Agenda topics can include anything from specific items that need discussion to updates on projects or goals. Sending out an agenda helps things move smoothly, avoids unnecessary confusion, and demonstrates that you value your team’s time. This will help to keep things on schedule and avoid any unnecessary confusion.
3. Choose the appropriate platform and tools
Different platforms and technologies may be better suited than others depending on the number of people attending and the type of communication you require. Some popular platforms and tool choices include Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, and GoToMeeting.
Also, make sure your tools are working properly before the meeting begins. Testing your tools beforehand can help avoid any technical difficulties during the meeting. Take a quick online webcam test before the meeting to ensure your camera is functioning properly. Ensure you have a stable signal and enough bandwidth. Nothing is worse than hosting a meeting and being unable to because of a faulty connection.
4. Use proper body language and tone
It’s critical to be aware of your tone and body language, even during a virtual meeting. Your words may not be able to convey your true feelings, so make sure you are aware of the way you’re acting and speaking.
A positive attitude and engagement will help keep the meeting on track. It will also help put the other participants at ease and make them more likely to listen to what you have to say. Conversely, if you’re feeling disengaged or negative, keep those thoughts to yourself. Acting out inappropriately can disrupt meetings and impact employees’ productivity.
5. Prepare visual materials
If you’re presenting any information during the meeting, it’s important to have visual aids prepared. Something as simple as an infographic can help provide some context and make things easier to understand. Consider creating a short video clip to help explain a complicated concept or process.
When preparing your visuals, try to avoid using too much text. People will have difficulty reading and understanding a large amount of text on a screen. Instead, focus on using images and short bullet points to get your point across.
6. Keep things professional and on track
When hosting a virtual meeting, it is critical to keep things professional to ensure success. This means making sure everyone can see the presentation or screen sharing window. If someone can’t see it, they can’t participate in the meeting. Keep your visuals compelling and engaging. If people are bored, they’ll tune out. In addition, pay attention to audio quality.
Make sure everyone can hear each other clearly, and there’s no feedback looping or echoing. Wear a headset to guarantee clear audio quality and reduce background noise if feasible. Next, go over the meeting agenda and any materials used. Finally, professionally lead the meeting by keeping it on track and ensuring everyone has an opportunity to speak.
If you have participated in a virtual meeting, you know that they can be a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s great for connecting with colleagues or clients located in different places. On the other side, staying organized and productive can be difficult.
If you’re responsible for leading a virtual meeting, the outlined tips can help make sure it goes smoothly. Remember to define the purpose, send out an agenda, and choose the right platform. Preparing visual materials, using proper body language and tone, and keeping things professional are also important aspects to consider.
It’s not limited to only these tips, but they should give you a good foundation.