Virtual meetings have a bad reputation. From video fatigue that plagued remote workers during the pandemic to technology problems that should already have been solved by 2023, it is easy to see why people prefer to meet in person. However, virtual meetings are still very useful when people are far away and online communication is the only sustainable way to do it. Let’s learn together how to make them better!
Follow the checklist
According to this research, more than 70 percent of workers say they prefer to attend meetings in person instead of online. This happens because there are still many issues with virtual meetings. Often, they occur from being run poorly, inviting too many people, or due to bad preparation.
The good news is that you have the power to improve your meetings and make them more effective and enjoyable for everybody. Simply follow this checklist to audit your virtual meetings and then, elevate them. It’s that simple! Let’s go 🙌
Every company has its own best practices for attending virtual meetings. These guidelines ensure everyone is treated fairly and follows the same set of rules for participating in online discussions. One guideline might have to do with cameras. For example, when do you turn cameras on and when do you keep them off? Another guideline might pertain to using the mute button when you aren’t talking in order to prevent background noise and interruptions.
You can write out this set of agreements and review them periodically with new and veteran team members. You should also modify them as your internal best practices shift and evolve.
Keep meetings to essential attendees only
It’s understandable that you want buy-in from multiple teams in your meetings. Yet, this often clogs meetings with people who don’t have to be there. As a result, effectiveness and efficiency are drastically reduced.
And such meetings can also be costly. A 10-person meeting that lasts one hour costs a company around $2,340. The amount was computed by factoring in the employee salary, required resources, and productivity loss.
This gives you a clear financial incentive to cut down on the number of meeting attendees. Put a cap on where possible, ensuring that only the absolute necessary employees are invited.
Factor in time zones
If you’re hosting a virtual meeting with remote workers from across the world, make sure the time of the call works for everyone. You don’t want to make your California employees wake up at 5 am for an 8 am meeting on Eastern Standard Time. Similarly, you don’t want London-based employees logging on at midnight for a client call. This is frustrating for them, which in turn, makes them less effective and engaged in the meeting.
If you’re a meeting facilitator, triple-check call times with attendees, especially during daylight savings time periods. Some states and countries don’t follow daylight savings while others have different dates. Europe and America change their clocks at different times of the year. A quick message to team members about time changes can prevent confusion and missed meetings.
Send an agenda ahead of time
Never host a meeting without an agenda. More importantly, send it to attendees ahead of time. Even if it’s only a bulleted list, this gives attendees an idea of what needs to be covered before the meeting ends.
This can also empower the moderator or meeting leader to wrap up discussions on one topic in order to get to the others while helping everyone prepare thoughts and ideas to share.
Introduce the agenda and goals
Don’t assume everyone read the agenda or knows the goal of the meeting. Start with a quick run-down of what needs to be covered and what’s expected from everyone in attendance.
This is also a chance for anyone else to introduce other items that may not have been on the initial agenda but are relevant to the meeting.
End with a recap
You might be surprised by how much you can cover in short, 10- to 15-minute meetings. Regardless of whether the meeting is a few minutes or a few hours long, end with a recap of what was discussed. What tasks do certain employees need to move forward with? What decisions were voted on?
This step prevents your employees from missing the forest for the trees because they only remember the last few points you covered. A recap is particularly important for virtual meetings in the event that an employee lost part of the feed for a brief period of time.
Get your virtual meetings right
You don’t have to revolutionize your meetings to make them more effective. Instead, look for small ways to improve your virtual conferences so they’ll be more effective and efficient.
This saves the company money and your employees frustration and time.