As the Coronavirus continues to spread, organisations have quite rightly restricted travel and increased remote working arrangements. Not being able to work face to face in the same room with colleagues might become a challenge in these coming weeks/months. It will now be more important than ever to conduct effective virtual meetings, but how can you ensure that these meetings run smoothly and participants remain engaged and involved?
In this blog, we have provided you with some top tips on what to do before, during and after virtual meetings to help you make these meetings a success. A small investment in preparation of your virtual meetings now could have a huge positive impact.
Once people are comfortable with the technology and their ability to use it, your virtual meeting productivity will be greatly enhanced if you follow these basic guidelines for effective virtual meetings:
Before the meeting
- Plan and distribute the agenda and information in advance; confirm receipt.
- Clarify responsibilities (for note-taking, timekeeping, meeting leadership, technical support).
- Identify the appropriate/desired technology to be used. Confirm the availability/accessibility of the selected technology for all participants.
- Arrange for required equipment, information, and people to be involved.
- Test the technology. Make sure that things work ahead of time so you can minimize wasting people’s time with tech-glitches.
During the Meeting
- Encourage everyone to introduce themselves (or verbally “sign-in”) at the beginning of the meeting and identify themselves whenever they speak (except for video/net conferencing or in well-established teams whose members’ voices are recognised by everyone).
- Establish expectations for involvement by all participants (periodically pause to summarise and ask for questions, discussion, clarification).
- Ensure that visual or graphic resources can be distributed “real-time” or in advance to everyone (via email, Internet).
- Remind everyone to speak slowly, clearly, and in the direction of microphones or speakerphones, and to request that something is repeated if not heard clearly.
- Suggest that participants use the “Mute” button on their phones to eliminate background noise that might be disruptive to a virtual meeting.
- Keep to the schedule.
After the Meeting
- Distribute meeting summary in a timely manner, with details regarding agreements and follow-up actions.
- Schedule any follow-up meetings
- Implement any action steps that were agreed to during the meeting.
- Solicit feedback from participants on how similar “meetings” in the future can be enhanced/improved
While face-to-face interaction will always be the preferred choice for creating new relationships and repairing those that have become fragile, virtual meetings — if used thoughtfully and with careful planning — can be surprisingly effective in achieving a wide range of objectives. We know Covid-19 is causing many organisations to work remotely, cancel their events, seminars and offsite meetings. There is no getting around it: virtual meetings will be the most commonly used activity for a while! And we hope these tips will help you make the right adjustment for successful virtual meetings!
For more information, or to discuss your own development, please get in touch.