The technological advancements of the modern era has given birth to the idea of having a group of people geographically dispersed working as a team. Although this phenomenon brings in a lot of advantages but also has some problems. One of them might be conducting virtual meetings effectively. Since most of us are used to having face-to-face meetings therefore conducting a virtual meeting that yields the anticipated results might become difficult. Here are some tips to overcome the usual problems and run successful virtual meetings:
1. Set Clear Meeting Agenda
As Jaleh Bisharet suggests, “Before every meeting, ask yourself: What should we leave with that we didn’t have before we started?” Asking this question will help you identify a set of goals that you want to reach at the end of the meeting and enable you to set an agenda. Once you have set an agenda you will be able to asses who the meeting participants should be what you expect from each of them. Setting the meeting agenda and circulating it among the participants beforehand will help ensure to keep meeting on track, and achieve what you planned on.
2. Encourage Participation
As Esther Schindler mentioned, “Common pet peeves among frequent online meeting participants reflect the tendency for people to become distracted from the matter at hand.” In a virtual meeting there are high chances of participants trying to get other things done simultaneously, however multitasking will not lead to achieving the desired meeting goals. A good way to avoid this is to encourage participation and engage the participants so that they pay attention to matters at hand rather than checking emails or trying to multitask.
3. Turn the Video On
Keith Ferrazi believes that it is important to turn on the video in a virtual meeting. “Since everyone on the call is separated by distance, the best thing you can do to make everyone at least feel like they’re in the same room is to use video.” In a video meeting everyone can see each other’s facial expressions, which matters alot. It will also help in minimizing chances of people getting distracted. With the video turned on everyone will feel connected just like in a normal meeting.
4. Take Notes
Brad Volin suggests that “Meeting minutes play a critical role in helping team members remember what was said and what’s next.” He suggests that Minutes-On-The-Go method offered by Arvind Malhotra, Ann Majchrzak, and Benson Rosen. One person is assigned for taking minutes during the meeting. At the end you can view these minutes and summarize action items and due dates for these easily.
5. Meeting Equipment
In order to run a successful virtual meeting, it is important to choose the correct tools and technologies. Depending on your meeting requirements, you can start with just an internet connection, audio (from computer speakers, microphone etc.), and a webcam. For larger groups you may use some more sophisticated video conferencing equipment, if required.
“The most effective web conferences are those that only use the technology that is needed. KIS—keep it simple— is the best way to have people focus on your message and not the technology”. Make sure to check the video conferencing system before you start the meeting to avoid any delays and technical glitches during the meeting.