10 Strategies for a Successful Virtual Meeting
Just a few months ago, a fully remote team was something very few businesses would have ever imagined to be their reality. Work happened in the office, and the ability to work from home was, in many cases, considered a luxury. Now, amidst a Coronavirus “new normal,” businesses are needing to adapt to the obstacles imposed by stay-at-home restrictions.
One of the business processes that has required most adaptation has been conducting effective meetings. With a need for a substitute for in-person meetings, virtual meetings have now become the new norm.
A little virtual meeting levity
The Internet is full of common virtual meeting gaffs that include forgetting to wear pants and accidentally bringing your phone into the restroom before logging out of a Zoom meeting. Outside of avoiding these painfully obvious faux-pas, there are a number of other things you can do to streamline your virtual meeting experience.
Below are 10 strategies to help you navigate the reality of virtual collaboration.
It may be awkward at first, but it’s a great way to ensure that everyone pays attention. Plus, the visual element can improve communication significantly as people will be able to read body language cues.
Keep a dial-in option available
While you should let everybody know that video-first is the norm, you should also have the option of dialing into the meeting for anyone that doesn’t have a strong internet connection to support video or is having internet issues at home.
Check the tech
Make sure that everything is up and running before it’s time to meet. All participants should check that their audio and video are working properly and that their software is up to date. There is no excuse for having a 15 minute delay because of technical difficulties.
This is much more important when having virtual meetings with customers or suppliers because they might be using a different software and it is important that you get used to it before heading into these meetings.
Stick to meeting basics
Just because it is a virtual meeting doesn’t mean that all meeting conventions should be thrown out the window. A successful virtual meeting is no different than a succesful in-person meeting when it comes to the protocol that should be followed.
This means setting clear objectives before the meeting, using an agenda to guide the conversation, establishing ground rules, taking breaks when needed, and outlining next steps.
Prioritize conversation not presentation
A successful meeting is not the same as a successful presentation. A meeting should be a discussion and limiting presentations makes sure that you maximize the time everyone spends actually discussing with each other. If unavoidable then make sure to use screen sharing when presenting.
Assign a facilitator
A virtual discussion can be a little harder to manage than an in-person one. By assigning somebody to guide the conversation you make sure that everyone can focus on the content and that everybody has their say. The facilitator can also help others with basic troubleshooting of the software that is being used.
Go “around the table” virtually
A common difficulty that comes with virtual meetings is that it is difficult to get everyone to participate while at the same time keeping people from talking over each other. To remedy this it is recommended that you periodically call on individuals to speak or, better yet, use software that allows participants to “raise their hand” when they want to. This helps ease the facilitator’s job tremendously.
Tackle the tough issues
Although you may be tempted to avoid controversial topics until you can meet face to face, a virtual meeting is perfectly suited to have difficult conversations with your team. So don’t be afraid to tackle the tough issues in virtual meetings.
Ease into the meeting
This sudden change in people’s lives has everybody feeling weird and so an icebreaker might be in order to make sure everyone gets into the right mindset before starting the actual meeting. A simple check-in can do the trick.
Get feedback in real time
Getting the feel of the room can be very difficult in a virtual meeting. In order to deal with this issue, you can use a phone-based survey to collect feedback from attendees in real-time.
Quest Workspaces supports a safe, undisrupted and compliant work environment. Our workspaces focus on private offices with onsite support that enables social distancing, and also offer virtual office packages and remote services to keep your business moving forward from your home or Quest office. Contact Quest today to find a flexible solution that works for you, and discuss how to benefit from our services while also complying with local COVID-19 mandates.