We have all had to adapt to working remotely and virtual meetings over the course of the past few months.
Despite lockdown restrictions, many businesses have found ways to move their operations online, with all staff working remotely. This has given rise to an increased volume of virtual meetings on services such as Skype, Zoom, Teams, WebEx or other popular online meeting services. This has resulted in a new challenge – how to have an effective virtual meeting.
Just like any meeting, take the time to set an agenda and circulate it in advance of the call along with any supporting documents.
Setting an agenda and sticking to it helps to keep the virtual meeting on track. If there are lots of documents, make sure that you circulate them in time to allow people to read them well in advance. Set meeting ground rules, take breaks, and clearly outline next steps (including timing and accountabilities) after each section and at the end of the meeting.
There is nothing more frustrating than dialling into a video or conference call and not being able to connect due to a technical glitch. Before you set up your virtual meeting, check with the attendees that they are comfortable (and able) to use your platform of choice. If possible, use a system that allows users to join via a web browser – most platforms such as Skype, Teams, Zoom, WebEx, etc. allow this.
A virtual meeting is still a meeting, so make sure you give it your full attention. Ask all attendees to use video – this makes it harder for them to do something else during the virtual meeting as they will be on everyone’s screen. In addition, seeing people on screen can help those who have been working from home during COVID-19 to feel more connected.
Don’t waste time (yours or other people’s) during virtual meetings. Keep it short and get straight into the agenda. Aim to follow up within 24 hours of the meeting with any relevant action points as it keeps people’s attention. By sending the notes around 2 weeks after a meeting, momentum on any actions may be lost.