A guide of steps to take to help you conduct more productive virtual meetings. It explains the importance of conducting these meetings right and includes a free virtual meeting template.
As employees slowly adapt to the COVID-19 era work from home routine, a new challenge emerges for managers. This challenge is the inability to meet with employees for decision making and other collaboration purposes. Modern technology has, however, made remote collaboration easier through virtual meetings.
Running a virtual meeting is slightly different from running a physical one. For one, in virtual meetings, employees are not physically present, making it difficult to keep them engaged at all times. Since virtual meetings may be the future of companies’ decision-making gatherings, it is vital you join and master the trend now.
Knowing that many of you seek answers to this question, we have researched the best ways for you to run your virtual meeting. But before that, let’s take a look at why virtual meetings are essential to your team’s success
Importance of virtual meetings for your remote team
Running great virtual meetings will benefit you and your team in ways such as:
- Easy assess: In remote work, managers may find it hard to make decisions as they can’t meet with their team when necessary. Running a well-planned virtual meeting will remedy this by easily allowing you to connect with your remote team. This way, decision-making becomes an easier process.
- Better collaboration: Aside from allowing remote teams to make important decisions fast, a good meeting will help team members enhance collaboration Employees who need other team members’ input into their projects can easily communicate their problems and get help in real-time.
- Save time: A good virtual meeting will save you time. By running your virtual meeting well, you will eliminate issues of little or no importance and focus on only significant matters. Meeting also helps solve issues quickly, thereby eliminating the process of going back and forth via emails or texts.
- More productivity: Good virtual meetings are effective in improving your remote team productivity. They will help your employees do more in less time because of the enhanced flow of information and ease of communication. As a result, business decisions will be reached faster, projects will be completed on time, and you will reach your goals earlier.
- It may be the future of meeting: Every aspect of running a company is evolving to accommodate remote work. For instance, in recruitment, more people are adopting the use of video interview tools for long-distance hiring. Knowing how to run a good virtual meeting will mean you and your team are prepared for the future of face-to-face meetings.
Now that we know the benefits of running a better virtual meeting, let’s take a look at how to get it done well.
3 steps to help you run better virtual meetings
It is not enough to know how to be successful at managing remote teams, you must also know how to get the best out of them via virtual meetings. Companies executives already believe 67% of meetings are failures. To be part of the 33% successful meetings, here are what you must do:
1. Before the meeting
Have a clear meeting agenda: Before organizing your virtual meeting, have a clear agenda for your remote team to discuss. Calling up a virtual meeting for just about anything is a waste of your employees’ valuable time. Therefore, ask yourself why the meeting is necessary.
The answer to your question becomes the basis for everything that follows. If you are not satisfied with the agenda in mind, you should scrap or postpone the meeting. If the agenda does not require the full team, you can have a “virtual breakout meeting.” This is when a smaller group of the team meets and later reports to the larger group.
Provide your team with the agenda: Finish setting a meeting agenda, next, you make it available to your remote team. This will help them prepare the necessary documents, files, or presentation materials needed for the meeting. Your meeting agenda should contain key talking points, the person in charge, and meeting structure.
Test your technology: Many virtual meetings don’t live up to expectations due to delays caused by technology mishaps. To prevent this, introduce the technology to your remote workforce early. Make sure you choose an easy-to-use software. Also, make sure your employees download and test this software before the meeting to minimize disruptions.
Schedule right: Scheduling right is vital to the success of your virtual meeting. You don’t want to schedule a time when your remote team members are unavailable - especially if you share a different timezone. Therefore, inform your work from home employees about the meeting a few days before. Also, send a reminder a day prior so they won’t forget.
Lay down the rules: Although your employees are not physically present, they should be guided by a set of rules. The purpose of these rules is to ensure a smooth virtual meeting experience. Some of the necessary meeting rules are no use of mobile phones, no interrupting other people, and no late coming.
2. During the meeting
Select a coordinator: Coordinators are vital to the success of your virtual meetings. They are in charge of moderating the meetings, guiding the conversations, and ensuring no one talks over the other. It is the coordinator’s job to introduce newcomers, the CEO, and any other speaker during the meeting. The host can also play this role during small, quick meetings.
Stick to your agenda: No one likes a long meeting. When running your virtual meetings, try to keep it short and to-the-point. Follow your set agenda and make sure no one deviates from the goal of the meeting. A study shows that sticking to your agenda can decrease your meeting time by almost 80%.
Icebreaker and team building activities: Your work from home employees might need some time to adjust to the idea of virtual meetings. To enhance these meetings, introduce icebreakers and other team building activities to them. These activities will help your remote team stay innovative and productive.
Engage your employees: Keeping your remote team engaged is important to the success of your virtual meetings. You don’t want to prevent an employee from saying what s/he thinks about a particular idea. To do this, make sure everyone participates during the meeting by directing questions at them and encouraging them to speak up.
Prepare for technical problems: One major challenge with remote working is the inability to access the IT team. Hence, when your work from home employees encounter technical problems, they may not know what to do next. Prepare for this by having someone on hand to help employees through any problem when they happen.
Take minutes: Taking meeting minutes will help your remote team members remember vital details from the meeting. Have someone take notes during the meeting with a tool like Google Doc. This person will serve as a live recorder of decisions made during the meeting. Also, software like Zoom allows you to record your meeting, you can try that.
3. After the meeting
Thank the team: After the meeting, thank the team members and coordinator for their time. Next, share the minutes with everyone and ask for feedback to see if you should improve on anything. The feedback you get may include tips on how you can improve their work from home experience, the meeting schedule, etc.
Follow-up: Remote work can be distracting to even the best employees. Check-in with your remote team 1-2 days after the meeting. Make sure they face no difficulty whatsoever when carrying out the task given to them during the meeting.
Get started with our free virtual meeting template
Ready to start a virtual meeting with you team? You can download our free virtual meeting template right here. This free virtual meeting template will help you run a better virtual meeting with your remote workforce. It includes picturesque sections that cater to General, Sales, Marketing, Operation, and Product Updates. Multiple fun team building ideas are also included to help engage your team virtually. The template is easy to customize by sections to match your company’s criteria.