Host Your Next Virtual Meeting Like A Pro
Jul 27, 2020
7 min read
With remote working on the rise, companies are adapting to a new way of conducting team meetings and client presentations. When collaborating virtually, the content often remains the same but there is a change in how each person on the call is engaged. The way your content is presented needs to be altered to ensure everyone can access it and has a chance to speak up when needed.
There are several platforms available online to hold virtual meetings efficiently and you can pick one based on your company's needs. Standard conference calls can get confusing and difficult to understand, so choose virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Skype, WebEx, Google Hangouts, or Join.me. Features like audio, video, recording, and screen sharing are the basics required to host a meeting and ensure everyone on the call is on the same page.
Hosting an inclusive virtual meeting with all the required tools is key to better engagement and collaboration between the team. Here are some best practices that can help make remote working and virtual meetings much simpler!
Set up basic rules for virtual meetings
While virtual meetings are commonplace for companies working with clients all around the globe, there may be some team members who have recently shifted to remote working and are new to the setup. Setting basic ground rules for everyone on these meetings can help ease into this new environment and let them know what is expected.
Encourage people attending the meeting to keep their video on during the call as that allows better communication through non-verbal signals. It also helps people put a face to every voice and make things as personal as possible.
Keep the audio muted, especially when there are more than two or three people on the call. This reduces any background noise when others are talking and also helps indicate when someone wants to speak when they unmute their microphone.
Be explicit about basic etiquettes you expect everyone to follow during the meetings such as stepping away to take phone calls and not eating while in the meeting. Relay any specific expectations you may have, especially for client group meetings.
Participation and engagement
A lot of times people don't know how they are supposed to speak up in a virtual meeting without speaking over someone else. This is a simple reason for low participation by team mates in group virtual meetings as there aren't too many visual cues to follow. Detailing a structure for how you expect the attendees to participate will help let them know the right way to interject without being rude.
If your call group is small and only consists of three to five people, then it is slightly easier to just jump in when it is your turn to speak. This is especially true when it's an internal team meeting and everyone is familiar with each other. But on calls with new clients, it's not always obvious how one is supposed to provide feedback and many times there's a pause in conversation because everyone is waiting for the other to answer and aren't sure if they should speak unless addressed directly.
There are several easy ways to remedy this when using the above mentioned online platforms to host virtual meetings. Virtual meeting platforms now come with non-verbal feedback tools that allow call attendees to indicate when they want to say something, without having to verbally interrupt or keep waiting for their turn.
This helps in large group meetings and lets the fascinator know when someone has any inputs to give, so they can call upon them. Another quick way to get feedback from a large team on virtual meetings is by using the chat feature. This allows everyone to share their opinions quickly without talking over one another.
When meeting in person, introductions are much easier as everyone is face to face. But on virtual meetings, the same introduction can get intimidation. If your team is new to remotely attending important meetings, make sure you take the time to break the ice in the beginning. Warm things up and make sure everyone is comfortable before jumping into what's planned.
As the facilitator of the meeting, keep it simple and start by asking how everyone is doing and then introducing yourself. Since you may be the sole person who is familiar with everyone on the call, take it up as a way to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Pass the proverbial microphone around and have everyone introduce themselves and speak about their role in the meeting and if they have something to present as per the agenda. This will help keep the conversation moving along and avoid long pauses or awkward silences.
Plan a clear agenda
To stay on track and meet a time limit, the call facilitator can create a well planned agenda to display what the call will entail and what points need to be discussed. Staying on course and not straying from the main topics in a virtual setting can be challenging and thus a pre-planned agenda can help with that.
Once you've listed down the points to be discussed in the meeting, share the list with everyone who is joining the call. This allows them to stay updated on any details they may need to present their side of work, as well as collate documents for the call.
In a virtual meeting, make sure to pause and ask if anyone wants to clear doubts or has questions. Without people in front of you, you can't be aware of confused looks and quizzical expressions, nor are attendees willing to speak up out of turn. Allowing time for questions lets everyone clear their doubts and move forward with the right information.
Share visual representation such as slides so that everyone is on the same page during the meeting. This will allow them to focus during the virtual meeting instead of taking note down, while also being prepared beforehand on the topics being discussed.
Last but not the least, always consider recording your meetings so that every point spoken about is documented and there is no confusion later. This will also help keep people in the loop who were not able to attend, as they can listen to the convention at a later date.
Switching to a remote working schedule can be challenging at first, but can be very beneficial in the long run for employees as well as companies. By learning the tricks of the trade, you can create a more inclusive environment to facilitate virtual meetings as well as collaborate efficiently with your team when not present in the office.
Using a Customer Relationship Management System can be beneficial for companies working remotely not just for better communication and collaboration, but much more. Get in touch with FIVE CRM to find out more!
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