3 SIMPLE HABITS FOR MAKING YOUR VIRTUAL MEETINGS EFFECTIVE
Virtual meetings have become the “new normal” for most businesses. It is the simplest way of getting together a geographically distributed workforce to have two-way discussions online and more. But how is setting up a virtual meeting during the pandemic differs from what you know before? This simple guide will leave you in a positive mind on how to run an effective and successful virtual meeting while working from home, pandemic edition.
What Are the Advantages of Virtual Meetings?
Virtual meetings are easy to set up, cost effective and have become an essential part of how modern businesses maintain productivity and continuity. All this is achieved without the need for employees to physically be present in the office. Everything can be done remotely, including the subscribing of the meeting platform itself.
While it may not provide the same experience as face-to-face meetings, it can simplify communications not achieved with normal group calls or email. The best virtual meeting platform can boost collaboration between teams especially when utilised with aids or online tools like a virtual whiteboard. Some of the popular virtual meeting platforms are Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet and many more.
3 Simple Habits for Making Your Virtual Meeting Effective
After more than a year of working from home, chances are your colleagues may already be experiencing online meeting fatigues and are stressed out. Being aware of the challenges theymay have to deal with during this time like having young children to care for or living in constrained spaces, will show that you are a compassionate co-worker or leader, and may even translate to better cooperation in the future.
Follow these 3 habits to make sure the virtual meeting run smoothly and effectively.
#1: Plan the Virtual Meeting
To boost the productivity of any virtual meetings, it is crucial to get certain things done prior to it. After all, no one should be subjected to long, rambling meetings whereby little is achieved.
- Have an agenda and prepare documents and materials. Roughly plan what are the key points that would like to be discussed and the estimated duration each point might take. Have pre-read materials and distribute to the meeting invitees in advanced so they can come prepared.
- Create an invitation list and make sure they can attend. Having the objective of the meeting in mind, only invite functional people who is able to contribute. Try to accommodate for the most crucial people. If they are unable to attend, request to nominate a representative instead. Keep the invitation list short so that the meeting is more effective.
- Check that the internet connection, computer audio and video are working. A good internet connection is crucial for running a virtual meeting. Consider subscribing to high speed mobile internet as a backup. Test the video and audio quality before you start.
- Make sure the meeting link is valid. If you are inviting parties from outside of your organisation, make sure there they received the correct link and it has not expired to avoid any unnecessary delays.
#2: Follow Simple Virtual Meeting Etiquettes
Keep the meetings productive and professional with common sense, right attitude and mindfulness
- Start the meeting on time. Be the first to go online and greets the invitees when they start joining the meeting room.
- Dress appropriately if you are expected to turn on the camera. After all, it is a working day and taking the effort to look presentable only maintain respect from your peers and projects a confident persona. If you expect others to also turn on the camera, make sure to have conveyed this upfront in the meeting invitation.
- Limit noisy distractions. When you are hosting, it’s best to find a quiet place in the house. Or else use a headphone to limit background noises. You may remind others to mute their microphone when not speaking and eating or chewing gum during the meeting should be avoided at all cost.
- Ask for permission if you need to record the meeting. Recording your meeting may be useful as it allows referring back the discussions. However, recording the meeting with everyone’s consent is important.
- Be present at all times. Stay focused and refrain from multi-tasking other work as you might miss out on an important point. Show that you are present throughout the session, ask questions and keep note of any action items that will need following up.
- Moderate the speakers. As the meeting lead your role is also to moderate the meeting. Make sure everything on the agenda gets covered and provide equal time to speak for all the participants. Should the discussion gets heated, ensure they don’t try to talk over each other. Be polite but stern on the rules you make as moderator.
# 3: Use Online Tools like a Whiteboard
You don’t have to be a PowerPoint pro all the time and prepare fancy slides. Certain topics are easier to communicate visually on a whiteboard. Most of the popular virtual collaboration platforms nowadays already come with their own online whiteboard.
For example, the Whiteboard Chat application is accessible directly from the Microsoft Teams platform. You can invite others to sketch and annotate on the whiteboard and the feature can be turned off when you are not using it. Having the tools on one platform makes it easy to run effective virtual meetings, visualize ideas and work creatively.
Once the meeting has ended, you need to keep the momentum going. After all, the meeting is only half effective unless all that was discussed were put in motion.
- Follow through with an email. Use the email to give a quick recap on what was discussed and agreed, as well as remind of deliverables and milestones. Most importantly, show your appreciation and thank your colleagues for their time, effort and contributions to the meeting.
- Share this guide. Make these 3 habits into a positive workforce culture in your company. Share this guide among your employees or co-workers.
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