We live in the digital age, and whether we like it or not, telework and virtual meetings are here to stay.

So how do we get the most squeeze out of virtual meetings? What do we need to do in order to ensure those meetings are productive and efficient?

We’ve done some research and come up with a few tips for making remote meetings more effective:

  1. Structure a plan.
    Establish a clear meeting time, agenda, and objectives. This one goes for virtual and in-person meetings. There is nothing more frustrating for employees than to leave a meeting and say, “what the heck was the point of that?”

    In terms of virtual meetings, there is no such thing as overcommunicating your expectations. Let everyone know ahead of time whether their mics should be on or off and what participation you are looking for.

  2. Be ready to adapt.
    “Technical difficulties” are pretty common for virtual meetings. Whether you are the lead or a participant in the meeting, you should prepare as much as you can to make sure your technology works and brace yourself for things to not always go as planned. Just be patient and remember that everyone has dealt with it at one time or another. Being flexible and having a good sense of humor can help you through any glitch.

    Sometimes things happen that are not related to technology. Have you ever had a kid walk in asking for a snack during a zoom call? Trust us when we say that people are pretty forgiving when it comes to those types of interruptions. Prepare yourself as much as you can ahead of time, and try to block out the time and space to have your meeting. But when the unexpected happens, just mute yourself, do what you need to do, and come back as soon as you can.

  3. Encourage participation -- from everyone.
    Some organizations have a mandatory video-on policy. This can help in many ways: it puts faces to voices, ensures that non-verbal cues make the communication more clear, helps to forge relationships between team members, and prevents people from multi-tasking.

    As a leader, it is important to acknowledge everyone in the meeting, and encourage each person to share. Direct questions towards specific people and get their opinion if they haven’t already expressed it. Having input from all of the talent on your team should result in a better final product.

  4. Wrap up the meeting with next steps.
    Before anyone signs off, perhaps the most important part of the meeting is to ensure everyone understands where to go from there. Next steps and follow up items should be assigned when appropriate, and meeting minutes should be sent out to remind the team what was discussed.

Moving to a virtual workspace can be a difficult transition, but when done right, teams and relationships can grow stronger when you put effort and purpose into your remote meetings. If you’re interested in training for your team or organization, contact us!