When you lead a team that is either partially or wholly comprised of remote workers, virtual meetings are the most important way to stay connected so your team can function in harmony. Online meetings can be a tough nut to crack, though, so for the benefit of your team, it’s important to keep in mind these 6 things to remember when running a virtual meeting:
You’re not going to get the most out of your meeting if there’s a disconnect between the people involved in said meeting. It’s important to make sure everyone feels included in the discussion and connected to one another. Designate a part of the meeting for catching up so your team has time to work on building relationships. And, as you lead the meeting, make sure to use people’s names throughout the meeting, which creates an added sense of community amongst the group.
Consider Using Video
There’s a void that often exists in virtual meetings as a result of the lack of physical proximity. Online meetings can feel de-personalized and de-humanized, which makes it harder to get involved in the meeting discussion. Video is often under-utilized in virtual meetings, despite the prevalence of video conferencing software. If you’re feeling disconnected in your virtual meetings, consider making the move to video. Physically seeing your team members in your virtual meeting will instantly make everyone feel more connected and in sync.
Preparation is key to conducting a good meeting, and being prepared becomes even more crucial when your meeting is virtual. Have a technological backup plan in case your web conferencing software gives you trouble so you don’t waste valuable time scrambling to overcome technological snafus. And don’t forget to distribute an agenda before the meeting begins so all your team members will know what to expect from the meeting and will have the chance to think about how they can contribute to the meeting discussion.
Put a Hard Stop on Your Meeting
Meetings are a necessary evil but can interrupt the daily rhythms of the workplace. If your meeting runs over, you can almost guarantee that everyone involved in your meeting is distracted thinking about all the other work they should be doing at that moment. In an online meeting, you also have the added obstacle of varying time zones, basically ensuring that your meeting participants will be disgruntled if the meeting runs over. Put a hard stop on your meeting and make sure that it ends on time. Your meeting participants are sure to be more engaged as a result.
Let Remote Team Members Speak First
If you have a blended team comprised of remote and non-remote employees, prioritize the remote members first when seeking verbal feedback during an online meeting. It can be easy for remote members to be forgotten in the minds of meeting participants, so by letting remote members speak online first, you are emphasizing that they have just as much stake in the discussion as the in-person meeting participants.
Take It Slow
When you’re using web conferencing software (and especially if you’re using video conferencing software), it’s important to run your meeting at a slightly slower pace than you would an in-person meeting. Many web conferencing platforms have a two or three second delay, so be sure to account for that delay when relaying important information.
Virtual meetings can be more of a challenge than in-person meetings, but there’s no reason your online meeting should be any less efficient that a normal meeting. By remembering these virtual meeting tips, you can ensure that your virtual meeting is productive and engaging despite the added obstacles. Ready to make sure your next virtual meeting is a success? Try PGi’s iMeet, free for 30 days.