Physical meetings are now being replaced more and more by virtual meetings as organizations embrace technology. Virtual meetings are not as easy as “normal” meetings due to the lack of physical presence. Here at NoCo, we’re always open to ways to make remote working easier and more productive for both employers and their teams, so here are some top tips you can adopt to ensure that your next virtual meeting is an efficient use of everyone’s time.
Organize meetings well
Good organization is key to running effective virtual meetings. Ways you can be organized in advance include
- Setting up a group calendar so that all members are sent an invite well in advance of the meeting and make sure that everyone confirms whether they are attending or not.
- Setting up a notification system. A notification system can be of enormous help in making sure all participants attend the meeting by receiving a notification at least 15 minutes before the meeting.
- Using a communication tool that suits your business for example: Zoom, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, Slack etc.
- Having a clear structure/agenda for your meeting. An easy way to keep your meetings organized is having a consistent structure every week.
Focus on what’s important
Each meeting should have a clear objective. Remember that you are taking up everyone’s valuable time. Make sure the topics you are discussing are relevant and that they are issues that cannot be resolved on your own. Also, remember to stay focused throughout the meeting giving your full attention, avoiding distractions and multitasking.
Work from a quiet space
Ensuring you’re working from a quiet space will ensure minimal background noise and distractions from the important virtual meeting.
Adopt a ‘video-on’ policy
Many companies have a mandatory “video-on” policy and here’s why:
- Communication is more effective when non-verbal clues are involved.
- Humans respond well to faces and facial expressions humanize your virtual meetings so using video in your virtual meetings is a must.
- It helps team members to bond and feel more comfortable with each other.
Introducing a ‘video-on’ policy early on in the virtual meetings process will create a habit among employees and lead to better relationships.
Allowing all parties to have their say
There should always be one person coordinating the meeting, however, all participants should have the opportunity to offer their input. Here are some ways to try involve more introverted team members during a virtual meeting:
- Ask their opinion on specific tasks/projects (especially if they are not involved in the project)
- Ask for quick updates
- Ask if they have anything to add
- Ask them if they need help with their workload
Use neutral background and create good lighting
While professional-looking plants, bookcases, or picture frames in your background aren’t necessarily a problem, the safest approach is to simply have a neutral-coloured wall in the background. Shades of grey or white can work especially well. Anything distracting in the background will distract from the content of what you’re saying. Similarly, dimly lit rooms feel unprofessional and dated. Ensure your desk has a strong but soft light that can illuminate your face during your video conference.
Keep the meeting short & sweet
Keep your meetings between 15 to 45 minutes so everyone stays focused and makes optimum use of the time. If you are unable to achieve all the objectives within this time frame then it is possible that more preparation may have been required before the meeting. After the 45 minute mark meetings become boring to your team and may waste the time of your co-workers.
Test out your technology
- Set up your camera properly. People tend to leave their laptops on their desks during virtual meetings, but this often results in webcams being awkwardly positioned with the camera tilted upwards . Ensure your webcam is at eye level so your image will look more natural, as if you were both sitting across from each other at the same table.
- Make sure you are in the optimum spot for wifi connection to avoid lagging video and delays in audio. Wifi drops can be distributive and distracting during meetings therefore they should be avoided, if possible.
- Make sure your co-workers can easily hear you without interruptions. This may mean you need to invest in a microphone in order to have clear and crisp audio.
Even though virtual meetings seem straightforward, we’ve all attended ones that go awry so it is important to be prepared and organized when attending or hosting a virtual meeting. Virtual meetings should be taken as seriously and as thoughtfully as physical, in-person meetings.