Running effective meetings is not an easy task. When people are not in the same room, they can feel like they're left out, or that it's hard to have a cohesive conversation. In general, meetings can be time-consuming and stressful for all involved parties.
If you want to collaborate remotely with team members, then use tools for meeting scheduling such as Zoom, Slack, Cubo, Doodle, or Cacoo. These tools allow you to set the agenda and dates from a single location. You can even send reminders to those who need to be present at the date scheduled in advance with attendees' contact details already filled out!
If your company is struggling with virtual meetings due to technical glitches, try using a more reliable platform such as Zoom (or join. me). By doing so, participants will find it easier to chat with one another and share ideas on the same computer screen - there's no need for checking individual computers.
Here are some tips which will help you run effective virtual meetings:
Use structured agenda and daily reminders
Virtual meetings are an extension of in-person meetings. They are becoming more common because they offer a flexible way to meet with people from all over the globe. However, virtual meetings can be difficult to prepare for and may suffer from a lack of clarity on what needs to be accomplished.
Structured agendas and daily reminders help to make virtual meeting preparation easier and enhance productivity during a meeting by setting agendas, giving participants a timeframe for completing their tasks and maintaining the order of the day's agenda through time-sensitive notifications.
Check the bandwidth problem
Bandwidth plays a huge role in ensuring the fluidity of communication over the internet. When setting up a meeting, determining how many attendees will be present is key as the number of attendees has an inverse relationship with the bandwidth needed. The more people you host, the more bandwidth you need.
Host a few people and you will need a few Mbps, hosting a webinar that incorporates chats, polls, and contents that need to be downloaded will need more bandwidth.
Set up the right equipment
Different meetings will require different equipment that will enable sharing of screens, sending and receiving downloadable files, live chats, and other forms of presentations.
Identify the equipment you will need before the meeting by reviewing the objectives of the meeting. Some common equipment that any meeting needs to have include; a computer, internet connection, software to enable video conferencing, a camera, headsets, and a microphone.
Be on time
Time management ensures that the meeting starts and ends as scheduled. Planning for your time adequately means that the meeting will address all matters intended.
Set reminders to alert all individuals hours before the meeting starts. Before the meeting, it is advisable to be ready ten minutes before kickoff. These ten minutes allow you to check if all the equipment is working as well as put everything relating to the meeting in order.
Have a clear objective
Objectives set the tone for the meeting by describing the path or actions that will be taken during the meeting. Objectives are deliberated earlier before the date of the meeting and communicated to all attendees expected.
It is important to communicate the objectives in a timely manner so that the attendees can have prior knowledge of the issues to be discussed. While in the meeting, the objectives should direct the meeting. Check the sentiment of meeting participants and be mindful of personal space boundaries: More than half of people at work report that they feel unsafe during virtual meetings.
Check the sentiment of meeting participants and be mindful of personal space boundaries
More than half of people at work report that they feel unsafe during virtual meetings. Even though online meetings happen in a person’s space, there are some things that might be said in the meeting that might sum up to a violation of boundaries. Treat a virtual meeting like you would a face-to-face meeting, keeping in mind that the things that make people uncomfortable in a face-to-face situation might equally make them uncomfortable online.
Stick to the objectives of the meeting; avoid asking personal questions unless you have to as in the case of a job interview. As the meeting progresses and each individual is required to weigh in on certain issues, allocate an equal amount of time and respect the differences in ideas and appreciate the fact that people view various issues through different lenses and they do not have to agree with you in all aspects.
Keep in touch with participants; don’t forget to share all necessary information
If a meeting is to be successful and achieve all intended objectives, availing information relevant to the meeting is important. This aspect starts before the meeting and extends all the way to after the meeting ends.
Before the meeting, information starts with telling participants what the meeting is all about, the day and time, the objectives, the virtual software to be used, and some of the areas of interest that participants need to look at. During the meeting, stay in touch with participants by calling their names or by asking specific questions to specific participants.
However, do not put the participants on spot; allow them to answer the questions they feel comfortable answering.
Make sure everyone can hear each other
It is possible to have connection issues during a meeting resulting in loss of audio voice.
This situation can as well happen when you click on the mute button unknowingly. Before the meeting, make sure you have a good connection and that your equipment is properly installed. The meeting should be engaging as well as offer other avenues for communication such as a live chat.
Allow participants to speak up
Meetings are meant to be interactive sessions and not one-sided types of communication. Allow every participant to speak, voice their issues and present their ideas.
It is important to remain in control of the meeting without choking the life out of the participants. Remember, if you knew everything, you probably wouldn’t need the meeting.
Use technology wisely
Use technology appropriately to help eliminate the barriers to effective communication.
Use equipment that can sustain long conversations as well as support various input and output devices. Stick to what you know, meeting time isn’t the time to try new technology. If you do not know what that button does, better leave it alone.
Running meetings virtually saves time because people don't need to travel anywhere. They also save money due to the lack of a venue and food. Virtual meetings can be a very effective way of meeting with people on your team, but it is important to make sure that everyone has the tools necessary for a successful virtual meeting. Things like a good internet connection, screen sharing, and recording devices are all essential in order to have an effective virtual meeting.
Virtual meetings are a cost-effective alternative to in-person meetings. They have several benefits including saving time and money and providing the option of meeting from anywhere. But if not done correctly, employees might feel cut off from the company culture and disconnected from their team members.
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