Virtual meetings have taken on great prominence nowadays. They allow team coordination in case of long distances, pandemics, or difficult weather conditions.
This tool lets you gather teams of specialists who live in different cities and countries for productive cooperation. It, like the meetings you have in the office, helps you better understand common goals, build collaboration, conduct brainstorming, and more.
A virtual meeting is an event that is held over the Internet or a local digital network. This helps people collaborate and share information in real time, but there is no need to be physically present in the same location.
Virtual meetings are becoming more and more popular every year because they facilitate the achievement of goals and save time. Participants can attend it at the agreed time and get right back to the business at hand.
The success of a virtual meeting, just like traditional ones, depends a lot on smart planning. But in this case, instead of equipping the office, you need to intelligently choose digital tools and draw up the rules with their specifics in mind.
Online meetings are different from in-office ones in many ways. Here, it’s important to choose the right conference platform, consider the number of participants, the time zones in which different people are located, and more.
Below, we will cover a few important steps to help you run an effective meeting.
Today, there are many software tools that allow for group video conferencing, virtual lectures with interactive communication and rigid rules, etc.
When choosing a tool, focus on the following parameters:
Also, make sure that the selected tool will be available to all participants. There may be limitations on equipment requirements, the speed of the Internet, the specifics of the system installed on the user’s device, etc.
Imagine how your meeting will go from start to finish. Document the necessary decisions.
Here’s what you need to pay attention to when planning out the details:
Determine in advance which tools are critical to you:
Nothing is less effective than an unplanned meeting that runs spontaneously. Any meetup needs an agenda and a thoughtful outline. The agenda defines the structure, ensuring that the meeting runs according to its objectives.
What needs to be determined in advance:
Virtual meeting etiquette is a list of rules that will help it run seamlessly. Here are a few rules of etiquette that are used most often:
If your virtual meeting is for negotiations or a business one where certain specialists are important to attend, agree on a time in advance with the participants.
If your meeting involves several speakers and a large number of listeners, it is enough to notify them in advance about the time.
Also, do not forget to send a reminder to all participants a day or even better 1-2 hours before the meeting. Use email, messengers, or other tools for this.
If you are holding a meeting in the office, you should make sure in advance that the furniture is properly arranged, the equipment functions, and the materials for the demonstration are brought.
Before holding a virtual meeting, you also need to prepare:
To make your meeting a success, we recommend keeping the following tips in mind:
Remember that a virtual meeting, just like a real one, should not be overly boring and formal. Even the most solid meeting sometimes requires emotional release. Otherwise, listeners become discharged and stop absorbing information.
At a virtual meeting, it will be useful to:
After the meeting is over, don’t just say goodbye and shut it down with the push of a button, no matter how tempting it may be.
At the end:
You can also disconnect after and allow participants to communicate freely for a while. In some cases, such a discussion will be helpful.
If your virtual meeting needs to conclude with notices, do so as soon as possible. You can include this information in the email:
Also, it makes sense to contact everyone who couldn’t attend the meeting. Of course, they will also be included in the main newsletter. But if they are your employees, it is advisable to clarify the reasons for their absence and make sure that they understand what their tasks are. If they are partners or participants in a webinar, they will enjoy the extra attention.
Often, virtual meetings are not effective enough because the organizers do not understand the difference between real ones and the virtual format. Therefore, they make mistakes. Below, we have collected the most common examples of them.
Virtual meetings are psychologically tiring, and their frequency contributes to a sedentary lifestyle.
How to solve this problem:
In fact, a lot of issues can be resolved through email, messengers, and the shared work environment. So, hold sessions only when you can’t do without them.
During a virtual meeting, don’t get too involved in showing promotional videos, presentations, and reports. People get tired of that format, and their attention gets distracted.
It’s better to create a visual presentation of slides that will illustrate your live report. Send the multimedia materials so people can study them on their own. In this case, you’ll get maximum attention during the call, and the multimedia will be studied the way it merits.
Virtual meetings can be split so that small teams could communicate. For example, you can hold a separate one for each department.
A large meeting is convenient only for delivering information. In all other cases, you need the speaker to be able to spot shy people who are not participating in the discussion, consider everyone’s opinions, listen to personal reports, etc.
The quality of planning directly determines the success of any meeting. Even for the daily fifteen-minutes ones of the department, you need to have a certain plan.
And if you hold a major meeting with a discussion of something new for the participants, without a strict schedule to which you will adhere, the participants may be distracted far from the goals and objectives set. As a result, the fruitfulness of the call will be low or even zero.
Staring at a screen for a long time is tedious, the attention dissipates, and participants lose interest in the meeting and miss important information. That’s why it’s crucial to keep people engaged.
Of course, many meetings involve the study of reports from speakers, and sometimes, they last long. But if in a real meeting, you can only ponder about something, during virtual ones, there is much more chance to be distracted.
So, try not only to make reports that are really interesting to listen to but also maintain a certain level of interactivity. Ask questions that can be answered in a chat room. Come up with quizzes, the answers to which will be displayed in real time. Use gamification methods.
Virtual meetings are becoming more and more common every year. The popularity of remote work, the practicality of such a format, and the time savings contribute to this. But it is essential for the leaders and speakers to evaluate not only the advantages but also the peculiarities of such a format.
We hope that our tips have helped you do that.