How To Make The Most Of Your Virtual Meetings

The surge of new cases triggered by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant has recently been pushing many organizations to cancel in-person meetings once again. As it was during the start of the pandemic, holding virtual meetings is currently the best alternative in order to avoid further increases in Covid-19 infections. 

Whether you’ve been hosting online meetings for a long time now or are a newbie at it, we have some practical reminders. These simple tips will help you make the most of your web conferencing experience, so be sure to read on!

1. Be prepared

Successful virtual meetings don’t just happen. It takes serious preparation! 

Having a well-organized agenda is a must. Familiarize yourself with the topics by going over them before you head online. Better yet, make sure that participants receive a copy of the agenda in advance. 

Also, test your internet connection, camera, and microphone before the meeting to resolve possible technical problems.

2. Establish house rules

You’ll need to have rules in place if you’re aiming to have effective virtual meetings. This will help guide participants’ behavior and allow you to maintain order. 

Some examples of common online meeting rules include muting the microphone when not speaking and using the raise hand feature before sharing an insight or asking a question.

3. Turn your camera on

Video calls seem incomplete without the video factor. As much as possible, turn your camera on during your meetings. 

Friendly tip: Look at the camera - not the screen - when you’re speaking. Doing this will help you connect better with your audience because they will feel like you’re looking at them. It’s basic yet often neglected online etiquette that can actually make a big difference. 

4. Keep your online meetings short

Nobody likes lengthy meetings. You wouldn’t want to bore your team members or overload them with information. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a meeting has to be long to be productive. In reality, it’s possible to conduct short but efficient ones. Everyone will have a hard time focusing if you’re constantly running over time.

As Apple CEO Tim Cook famously said on the subject:

“The longer the meeting, the less is accomplished.”

5. Involve people

You don’t have to do all the talking during your virtual meetings. Engage participants by asking thoughtful questions. Encourage them to share their insights and suggestions during discussions.

Saint Leo University’s assistant vice president for Instructional Technology Susan Colaric has a terrific suggestion about this. 

“Ask a specific person a specific question. Asking open-ended questions to a large remote audience will often result in ‘dead air’ and then multiple people talking at once,” shared Colaric.

6. Don’t use your phone

Sure, today’s smartphones have advanced video and mic features but let’s face it: they still can’t come close to the quality you can expect from using a laptop or PC. With bigger screens and better speakers, you will be able to see and hear everyone clearer.

On top of that, desktop versions of popular online meeting tools have better quality and more features compared with their mobile app counterparts.    

Of course, using a phone is acceptable if you’re on the go during the meeting but other than that, it’s advisable to use your PC or laptop instead.

7. Wear your business attire

While it’s perfectly fine to wear your favorite pajamas and slippers while working from home, it’s definitely a huge no-no if you’re having a virtual meeting. Besides, dressing the part allows you to have a more professional mindset.

In a Forbes article, personal branding consultant and Career Relaunch podcast host Joseph Liu explained:

“I recommend dressing as you would if you were meeting the other participant(s) in person. That goes for your bottoms too. Even if those comfy Hawaiian board shorts or jogging pants aren't visible on screen, they affect how you feel which affects how you speak and interact.”

8. Avoid multitasking

Unless you’re sharing your screen, only you can see what’s on your monitor. Despite that, you really should avoid multitasking to minimize potential distractions. Stay focused and give your meeting the full attention it deserves. Stop checking your social media, playing games or watching Netflix on your phone!

9. Choose the right technology

We cannot stress this enough: you need to do some research to determine which online platforms have the features that best meet your needs.

Take time to read reviews and visit official websites so you can gather information and make comparisons. Case in point, Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and GoToMeeting are all web conferencing tools but they each have their own unique pros and cons so be sure to do your homework.. 

Speaking of software, you may also want to check out our article about the top 50 apps and tools you can use when working with a remote team. Our extensive list covers everything from project management and instant messaging, to cloud storage and password management, to employee monitoring and everything in between.

10. Do a proper wrap up


Last but not least, do not forget to wrap things up at the end of your virtual meeting. Dedicating a few minutes for this gives you the chance to get everyone on the same page before going your separate ways. 

Recap the main action points discussed along with which team members are expected to complete which tasks. Mention the target due dates, too. In addition, let everyone know when the next meeting will take place. 

When done right, a proper wrap up eliminates the need for further questions and clarifications after the meeting.

Conclusion

With the right amount of planning and by implementing the practices mentioned above, you can bet that you will take your online meetings to the next level. You’ll be able to accomplish your objectives and grow your enterprise in no time!

Author:

@Mark Rosario

Date:

01-07-2022

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