Five Ways To Make Your Virtual Meetings More Effective

Ending meetings late is a tremendous source of stress for individuals, so don’t run over. My research suggests that only around 50% of meeting time is effective, well used, and engaging — and these effectiveness numbers drop even lower when it comes to remote meetings. Of course, the burden isn’t only on the organizer of the remote meeting. Attendees also need to ensure that they’re well equipped, present, and practice the proper etiquette to ensure a successful online meeting. Just because everyone is at home doesn’t mean they’re available to go beyond the allocated time. Treat remote meetings like in-person ones, and respect a hard stop time.

Hopefully you have an effective way to share them! If you can attach the notes to the meeting agenda itself, even better. This one is a mixed bag because sometimes, you just don’t know what you need until you see it in action.

It was hard for them to grasp the needs of a remote team member and therefore consider those needs when organizing meetings. Everyone can’t attend every meeting because the number of meetings in a typical organization grows every day. Using Microsoft Teams chat helps people engage and participate.

While you can’t control others’ meetings, you can make excellent meeting choices and demonstrate stewardship. You can be the example that you hope others will follow. Let’s commit to fixing our meetings, one meeting at a time. Research-based insights can improve your remote meetings and keep participants engaged. Choose someone on your team to steer the meeting. They will need to present the agenda, stick to the allocated time frame, and drive the discussion forward.

Shared Meeting Agendas

If you’re the host or organizer of a virtual meeting, one key thing to remember is the meeting agenda! It’s one of the most important parts of a productive meeting. The worst thing you can do is to see hybrid meetings as a burden. Empower your remote team members to skip meetings to eat lunch with their families. Start your meetings with a minute-long discussion on the weather in your various locations. Pick rooms with strong wifi connections and all of the technology you’ll need to enable hybrid meetings.

They would forget I was on the line and not ask for input. They would run whiteboard sessions that I couldn’t see or participate in. And sometimes, the meeting would end and everyone would leave the room while I was still sitting there on the phone.

How do you run an effective meeting remotely

“The beauty of remote working is the opportunity to improve the way you work, to cut way back on meetings”. Though we know Jason Fried and his company really, really dislike meetings, you notice he doesn’t say “eliminate all meetings”… The way teams work and collaborate have changed, and not just in response to COVID-19. A study released by Zug in 2018 found that 70% of professionals worked remotely at least one day per week. An Owl Labs study from last year shows 20% of respondents would take a pay cut of more than 10% to work remote. We all know it, distributed teams are the new norm, even beyond the post COVID-19 world.

Ensure that your remote meeting isn’t a waste of time by clearly establishing the next steps and sharing outcomes with the team. Use a meeting management tool to track the outcomes. It can be as simple as starting a Skype conversation with one or more people, or as complicated as scheduling a video conference call with numerous dispersed speakers.

Make Meetings More Inclusive

As companies shifted to remote work, many added a pile of new meetings to try and regain visibility into the work of their teams. But if your organization is planning to stay partially remote, your focus should be on reducing the number of meetings, not adding new ones. Environmental challenges are less common in the office but still exist. One common situation is the size or layout of the room makes it hard for employees to hear or see and engage with remote participants. Break the meeting into sections with a different person leading each section or part of the agenda. Switching up presenters helps refresh people’s attention span and encourages attendees to feel ownership over a topic or project.

According to Owl Labs, the number one challenge for remote workers during hybrid meetings is being constantly interrupted or talked over. We’re all trying to find our way and be as productive as possible in this, still fairly new, remote world. Challenge yourself and your teams to think differently about meetings; keep them fresh, fun, engaging and on topic, and you’ll no doubt see the benefits. Let people settle in with some chit-chat, then get to the point.

These are platforms that allow meeting organizers to schedule calls in advance, send out mass email invitations with unique access links and call-in numbers. They also enable users to choose how they want to join the call. This type of platform is ideal for larger remote meetings or town halls that host attendees from various locations. Luckily, technology has more than caught up with the growth of online meetings. So, there are now numerous tools that you can use to make the process easier.

With a tool like Unito, you can make sure important updates aren’t trapped in your work tools. Imagine a scenario where 10 people are gathering for a quarterly OKR planning session. Six are meeting in your company’s board room, coffees and dry erase markers in hand. Then, on a screen at the end of the room there are two floating heads.

Speaking clearly and deliberately helps everyone on the call hear and understand you better. Make sure you’re in a quiet, distraction-free environment that allows you to concentrate on the call. Make sure you give your undivided attention to the conversation. Home office distractions and technical limitations. A reliance on screen sharing as a way to illustrate talking points.

Share Notes

If people aren’t 100% clear on what they’re supposed to be doing on the call, they’re more likely to zone out. To mitigate this, designate tasks ahead of time via a reminder How to run a successful remote meeting or email the day before the call, clearly outlining what everyone’s responsibility is at the meeting. The first step is to understand common hybrid meeting challenges.

  • If employees have laptops, you should have everyone in the room join the virtual meeting on mute but with their cameras on, so the people at home can see all participants.
  • You’ve decided to meet, shared an agenda and have people attending in-person and dialling in remotely.
  • Silence does not indicate understanding or agreement.
  • This is especially important for calls with a larger number of attendees.
  • If you’re working in a hybrid team, account for time zones.
  • Pretty costly at the end of the day, but with virtual meetings, all those costs are virtually eliminated.
  • The worst thing you can do is to see hybrid meetings as a burden.

Have attendees, both in-person and virtual, raise their hands before they can chime in. If people are being silent, the leader of the meeting should call on them for input or ask questions relevant to their expertise. In general, it’s hard to take part in really long video calls. Then, when you’re in the meeting, make sure to stick to the agenda and keep to time. Everyone — no matter where they’re located — will appreciate that. It can help to select a timekeeper to move things along.

Best Practices For Virtual Meetings

Avoid formal, lengthy icebreakers like “What three celebrities would you like to have a dinner party with? Encourage people to have their cameras on and try to be as personable as possible. Sometimes just a fun new video call background can trigger some pre-business chat. It’s also helpful to schedule a deadline or a time when someone will check in on progress.

How do you run an effective meeting remotely

How can we expect our remote meetings to be effective if we never talk about what makes for a good one and what we should avoid? With your attendees, periodically create mutual expectations about what makes for a good remote meeting. Surface expectations, like “let’s keep all contributions to no more than 60 seconds so everyone has a chance to speak,” and give colleagues a chance to reply. To combat meeting fatigue in longer meetings, it’s helpful to set norms about when folks can take breaks, stand up, and stretch.

Prepare in advance to have a clear purpose and lead for the meeting. Send a detailed meeting agenda or any pre-reading well in advance so everyone knows exactly why they are there and how they can contribute. Keep the meeting on track, focus the group on the task at hand and avoid going off on tangents. Involve everyone and capture and share any rolling action items or hot topics on a shared document — and actually look at it at the start of the next meeting. Simply put, a virtual meeting is a meeting that you have online rather than in-person.

What Is A Virtual Meeting, Exactly?

They have the potential to enhance working life and draw out the very best in the time you have together. On the other hand, they can flop and go south pretty quickly. Designate a primary note taker for the meeting and have them summarize any key takeaways or decisions made from each agenda item. Before you close out the item, have the note-taker read the summary to the group to ensure everyone is on the same page. If you aren’t, this gives people an opportunity to voice that NOW. Jason Fried, cofounder/CEO of Basecamp, has been advocating on behalf of remote work for 20+ years.

Microsoft Teams Client And Service Architecture

Feel free to make other attendees optional if you want to be inclusive. This ensures that you’re not forcing employees into a bunch of meetings where they might be unable to provide value. We recently dove deep into the research and synthesized the best advice for running effective meetings. Many of these general meeting tips will also help you run better hybrid meetings. The key is to double down and increase your commitment to making meetings as organized and efficient as possible. Surprising absolutely nobody who has taken part in a video call these past few months, IT issues are the second most common challenge in hybrid meetings.

Likewise, remote calls are limited to audio and screen sharing. Be overly descriptive of what you’re talking about to ensure everyone understands. GetApp recently collected 15 software vendors offering free plans, trials, services, and more to help businesses with their video conferencing during COVID -19. That everyone has the proper technology to handle a remote meeting. The need for tools and storage platforms to centralize notes and to-dos. Hold people accountable by assigning follow-ups, deliverables, and next steps including due dates during the meeting.

If you have to, then compromise and schedule the next meeting during your own morning or night. But now there are no excuses; we’ve all experienced remote work. You need to approach every hybrid meeting with your remote colleagues in mind. Remote work wasn’t a reality for anyone else in the company.

Not all platforms are easy to use, so make sure you check for this when you’re trying out different options. Traditionally, meetings would usually bite into your wallet a little more than you bargained for. You’d have to pay for travel, sometimes even covering for your team to make it to locations—and let’s not forget about the impromptu breakfast / brunch / lunch / drinks. Virtual meetings might seem straightforward—and they are—but they’re not always easy to keep productive. Meetings are the bread and butter of business—they bring people together, inspire collaboration and spark interaction. Asynchronous work is best when you don’t have to negotiate tool differences.

Establish Meeting Guidelines

‍The platform you choose to run your remote meetings should be chosen with a variety of factors in mind. These factors should be unique to your team and organization. You may even find that having multiple conference platforms is a viable solution to cover your needs for smaller and larger meetings. Conferencing technology for online meetings typically involves either a basic video calling platform or one that integrates video and voice-over IP .

It’s not ideal, and it’s worse in hybrid meetings because those in the office can have a normal conversation. Since early 2020, most organizations have allowed their employees to work from home, and now this is become a trend and going to be there for the long term. One thing that everyone is frequently using is online meetings for their work and individual needs. To be more productive, virtual meeting needs to be more effective and straightforward. Recently Microsoft announced that more than 75 million people using Microsoft Teams as their hub for digital teamwork, including voice and video meetings. Have people write down their questions during the meeting.