9 Tips for Hosting Virtual Meetings That Actually Work
Virtual meetings can bring remote teams together, but they also cause new challenges—here’s how to overcome them
Virtual meetings are becoming more and more common these days, and for good reason. They are a cost-friendly option when team members are too far apart to meet in person. And with online meeting software and apps available now, it’s never been easier to conduct a virtual meeting. But to get the best out of a virtual meeting, it’s critical that you prepare well.
Successful meeting planners will not only do their homework before the meeting begins, but they’ll also know how to keep a virtual meeting on track to maximize efficiency. Try these nine tips to make sure your next virtual meeting is a success:
Tip #1: Send Reminders
A big benefit of virtual meetings is how much travel time is saved. But you won’t save much if you need to wait for stragglers to sign in. Give attendees plenty of notice by scheduling and announcing your meeting with enough time to allow everyone to attend. Also, a friendly reminder about an hour beforehand can help ensure that you start on schedule.
Tip #2: Ten’s Company, Eleven’s a Crowd
Managing a virtual meeting with more than 10 people can lead to chaos. Include and invite only the people who are essential to the discussion to keep things streamlined and efficient.
Tip #3: Make an Agenda
One week before the meeting, send a meeting agenda to the participants so they have a clear idea on how to prepare themselves. This will save time and make your online meeting run much more smoothly.
Tip #4: Test Before Going Live
Online meeting software is a must for virtual meetings. Make sure you test how your chosen software works and ensure that all participants are familiar with it. Problems with technical tools during the meeting can waste time and make the meeting inefficient.
Tip #5: Choose a Ringleader
Having a designated leader can help the team adhere to the meeting agenda and get everyone back on track in case of distractions. During a virtual meeting, people can easily become preoccupied by things like emails or other work. A facilitator can keep the meeting moving to prevent attendees from tuning out or getting caught up in other tasks.
Tip #6: Don’t Butt In
Communication relies on more than just spoken words. Facial expressions and body language keep conversations fluid and the speakers’ intentions clear. In a virtual meeting, these nonverbal aspects are less obvious. Because of this, attendees might miss the cue of another person taking her time to speak up. Ask the person who spoke before you if she has anything else to add before taking your turn.
Tip #7: Make It Inclusive
If you’re running a virtual meeting where some attendees are gathering in person while others are attending virtually, make sure you include everyone equally to help with remote team-building. For example, if someone tells a joke in the meeting room and everyone laughs, try to make sure the remote attendees are in on it, too.
Tip #8: Give Everyone a Focus
To cut down on distractions and make sure everyone is engaged, take advantage of the capabilities of most online meeting software platforms to share your screen, slides or charts. This will give everyone something visual to focus on during the meeting.
Another good way to do this is to give attendees roles such as scribe or timekeeper. Asking for their input on a specific topic or aspect of the gathering also works to keep people interested.
Tip #9: Nail the Closing
To make sure everyone leaves the virtual meeting with a sense of accomplishment, give them time to individually point out things they want to share. This could be about the subject of the meeting or about the meeting itself.
Online meetings can be tricky to manage, but with proper planning and strategy, they can be a great way to foster teamwork and collaboration, even if team members are separated by long distances. And if you’d like some help with your next meeting, why not book a board meeting room with us and allow our experts to set up the virtual meeting space with the right tools and backdrop for a successful meeting?