Virtual meetings may have been forced upon you by COVID, but that shouldn’t be viewed negatively. If anything, you should be embracing video meetings.
For some, the thought of attending virtual meetings on Zoom, Teams or Skype meeting (other platforms are available) is akin to tooth extraction. However, they are a far better alternative to audio conferences. All participants are visible, which prevents attendees ‘zoning out’ or multitasking and not taking in what’s being discussed.
The greater visibility also makes for closer relationships, which has to be a good thing for both internal and customer-facing scenarios.
Even if that doesn’t have you convinced, what about these three reasons?
- Improving your green credentials and lower costs – no unnecessary journeys
- Increasing efficiency and productivity – bringing a larger number of people together quickly to collaborate in real-time
- Becoming a great place to work – you become an agile company, allowing your people to work in a flexible manner
Now you can see why you should be embracing virtual meetings, let’s move on to how to make sure they run efficiently.
Make sure your online meeting runs smoothly
In all honesty, running a video meeting is no different to running a real one; it’s just that all participants will be in other locations. Therefore, your general meeting prep should be the same.
Have a clear agenda
A successful meeting (virtual or otherwise) always starts with a clear plan. Make sure it’s sent to all participants well in advance along with the meeting invite. It’s also a good idea to set automated reminders using Google Calendar, so no one has an excuse for forgetting to attend.
Appoint a moderator
Just as a face-to-face meeting will have a chair, so should your virtual gathering. The moderator will make sure the discussion remains on track and act as a referee when it comes to who speaks when.
As with ordinary meetings, there’s always the chance that the more prominent personalities will dominate proceedings. The moderator is there to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.
Make sure you prep your software
This one is for all participants. There’s no point trying to log into the meeting at its allotted start time if you haven’t already got the software set up on your system. Make sure your camera is working, and your microphone is on to prevent the fast-becoming-a-cliché-phrase of “you’re on mute.”
Have a firm stop time
The best way to keep focused is to set a firm stop time. Whether that’s ten minutes or half an hour, if everyone has the same deadline, you are far more likely to get everything achieved that you set out to do.
You’ve all seen the hilarious moments when interviewees are interrupted by their children or pets – make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted and use headphones to keep yourself focused.
Be clear on what happens next
Vague promises of action aren’t good enough. Make sure you allocate all actionable items to specific individuals with clear deadlines.
Share notes from the meeting
Tying in with the previous point, sharing notes of the meeting with all actionable points and those responsible will make sure things get done. It’s also a good idea to ask all participants to acknowledge they’ve read and understood the notes.
Virtual meetings are not scary
Although the thought of organising and participating in online meetings might seem daunting at first, they are very straightforward.
COVID may be the driving force behind their increased popularity; however, many companies are now seeing the advantages of reduced costs and greater efficiencies, which means they will probably be the go-to-meeting format for the future.
Time Wise VA works with a wide range of small- to medium-size businesses to make their working day that little bit easier. They understand the challenges that companies of this calibre can face, especially regarding financial and time constraints.