The world is facing a pandemic and virtual meetings have become increasingly popular. Before the pandemic virtual meetings was something that many companies and organizations wanted to avoid as much as possible. This was because conventional intelligence says that in order to achieve better team collaboration, there is a need for face-to-face meetings.
Virtual meetings pose a number of concerns such as lack of engagement and social isolation. For these main reasons, most companies are trying to strategise on ways of discussing their agendas by running a successful and fruitful virtual meeting. But how to do it?
The guiding aspects of running a great virtual meeting are attributed to things that are done before the meeting, and things that are done during the meeting.
Preparations done before the meeting have a great impact on how successful the meeting is going to be, just like the things done during the meeting. The following is a comprehensive list of the best yet most simple practices to ensure the virtual meeting is great.
Preparing For the Meeting
The first thing is to make sure that all the members who are expected to participate are informed prior to the meeting. The meeting invitation should be a few weeks or days before the actual meeting to give the members time to prepare adequately. The agenda or agendas of the meeting should be included in the invitation. The invitation is made through an email, text or call.
It is important that before the meeting, all the problems that might occur during the meeting are identified and solved before the meeting starts. These problems might include different time zones, poor network coverage and availability of participants.
Choosing the best digital facilitation tool, such as Howspace, to hold your meeting is directly related to the success of the meeting. The rules to be followed during the virtual meeting should be clearly indicated.
Things To Do Before the Meeting
It is best to use videos when having to have a virtual meeting. Video is the best way rather than using conference calls; it brings a personalized conversation and every participant is engaged. Since participants can see each other, they are more likely to pay attention.
The facilitator should ensure there is a dial-in option. The video option should be turned on and the audio off to avoid unnecessary noises and confusion.
The participant should be ready with their opinions about their agenda. Both the participants and facilitator should ensure to check the tech they are using. There is no need to delay a meeting by 20 minutes because participants don’t know how to join the meeting or the software is outdated and requires an update.
To run a great virtual meeting, preparing participants is crucial. This will make them focused and feel safe.
Preparing Is the Key
The more the participants and facilitator are prepared, the easier it is to achieve a successful meeting. As said earlier, the facilitator should ensure that everyone is informed prior to the meeting.
The agenda should be stated clearly so the participants can have time to prepare questions or output. When it comes to running the actual meeting, the facilitators and participants have an easier time and more of the meeting’s agenda is achieved.
Things To Do During the Actual Meeting
During the meeting, everyone should ensure their video is turned on and the audio is turned off.
Whenever it is a participant’s turn to engage, they can turn on the audio. After everyone joins the meeting, the facilitator opens with a slight remark and everyone should get down to business. Since everyone knows the agenda, everybody should stick to basics.
The facilitator should establish the etiquette of the meeting before tackling the agenda.The participants and facilitator have the task of ensuring that the schedule is followed as strictly as possible. This can be achieved by reducing the presentation time. Getting participants to engage without talking over each other is difficult.
The facilitator should call out on each participant at a time before the final decision for the meeting is made. This creates a safe space and participants are more engaged.
We have also had a virtual meeting with a team of 15 members. The facilitator was very engaging and no one was bored. The meeting was very productive since everyone was given a chance to speak their mind.
On the other hand the facilitator did not communicate the agenda in the invitation. This brought a lot of confusion for about 10 minutes as we were trying to figure out the agenda of the meeting. Luckily, after that all was done in a very professional and efficient way!
Things To Do After the Meeting
A successful virtual meeting is also attributed to what participants do after the meeting. After the agenda of the meeting has been discussed, the meeting members can have a light talk. The facilitator can ask for any other business that is not included in the agenda. Participants are likely to open up more and share any doubts or reservations. The light conversation can take 10 to 20 minutes.
For the future, to make sure that next meetings go smoothly, the facilitator should ask if there were any issues in the meeting. If any issues have been raised, the facilitator can then ask if there is any way that it can be made better next time. The last thing to do is summarise the meeting and debrief the members.
Summarizing It Up
The first thing the participants should set is the location of the meeting. It should be quiet and there should be minimum distractions. The facilitator should send an agenda before the meeting. The participants should be in time for the meeting and keep it simple and straight to the point. It is also important to include a manageable number of participants, to ensure a more productive virtual meeting.
With a wide selection of software for holding virtual meetings, it is important to choose the best tool for the meeting. This can be done by checking the software available, checking their limitations and also their advantages. Another important thing is ensuring that the software and tech are working properly to avoid delays. Having a strong network connection is also important so that all the points are heard and clear.
Read Next: Best tools for videoconferencing