3 Tips for Hosting Virtual Meetings

The modern workspace is almost impossible to imagine without hosting virtual meetings that have become commonplace all over the world. Not only do virtual meetings provide an effective and efficient way to connect with colleagues and clients remotely, but they also eliminate the need for travel, saving time and keeping the costs associated with in-person meetings low.

What’s no less important is the fact that virtual meetings offer room for flexibility, which is especially important in the “turbulent” times we live in today. People can join meetings from anywhere in the world as long as they have an Internet connection, eliminating the need for them to physically get together.

However, virtual meetings come with their challenges, too. One of the biggest is that employees might easily be doing something else while in the meeting, which can hinder the company’s overall performance. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be like this. With the tips we share below, your virtual get-togethers will be just as (if not more) effective as meetings in person!

1. Plan and Prepare Ahead of Time

For starters, here’s a rule of thumb – don’t host virtual meetings just for the sake of doing it. As surveys show, people spend far more time preparing for a meeting than what they spend in it, which may call into question the need for these meetings in the first place.

Therefore, it’s essential that there’s a good enough reason for organizing a video conference. If so, do your best to make this meeting as productive and efficient as possible by following the tips below:

  • Plan an agenda and set clear objectives. In doing so, you’ll avoid distractions, and it will be easier to control the time and the course of the meeting;
  • Test your technology. Before starting a video call, run a quick test to make sure all the hardware required for a video call is working properly;
  • Take the time to learn the platform. There are a huge number of platforms used in the world. Find out which one you need and check out its features;
  • Schedule a meeting with the needs of dispersed teams in mind.

Productive meetings are those that don’t get people caught off guard. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to draw up a list of attendees and send them a detailed agenda in advance with a short brief of questions so that they can properly prepare for the meeting.

In addition, when hosting virtual meetings, think about how to make them informative yet short. This will help prevent multi-tasking and keep people more focused and engaged.

If there’s no way to shorten the length of the meeting, you can still make it a little shorter by dividing its duration into several time slots. This way, team members will join the conference just when the discussion is related to their role and spend their time more efficiently.

2. Communicate Expectations and Guidelines to Participants

The key to the success of any meeting, including a virtual one, is effective communication. It’s essential that all participants of the meeting have a clear understanding of what it is about and what is expected of them. This helps them prepare for it in a more meaningful way.

What’s more, when attendees are aware of the objective of the conference, they are more likely to be more engaged and feel more confident in sharing their ideas and opinions with the rest of the audience.

Last but not least, communicating expectations and guidelines to participants can help prevent misunderstandings, which aren’t uncommon during video calls. Besides, it can improve overall team productivity by ensuring that everyone is focused on the same thing and is looking in the same direction.

Some guidelines and expectations that participants should be informed of before the start of the virtual meeting are: 

  • The purpose of the meeting;
  • The agenda and expected outcomes;
  • The expected behavior and etiquette during the meeting;
  • The role and responsibilities of each participant;
  • The deadline for the meeting, etc.

Are there ways to enhance communication between team members to make online conferences more efficient and productive? Sure, there are. Here are some of the tools and practices you may want to incorporate into your workplace:

  • There are many conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Discord, etc., to choose from. Test a few to see which one suits you best;
  • Investing in a good microphone and headphones are essential to ensure clear communication during a virtual get-together;
  • Create visual aids such as PowerPoint presentations, screen sharing, or a virtual whiteboard to make complex information easier for attendees to comprehend;
  • In certain situations, it may be a good idea to avoid using technical language or jargon that may confuse participants with other professional backgrounds;
  • Instead of just talking, use collaboration tools such as Trello, Slack, or Google Docs to take notes, share your ideas, or keep track of activities.

3. Assign Roles to Keep Participants Engaged

Let’s say a few words about assigning roles, an effective practice used while hosting virtual meetings to keep attendees engaged. When people are assigned roles, they become more engaged in the meeting as they know what specific task they need to accomplish. Plus, there are fewer distractions, which allows them to stay more focused on the agenda.

It’s worth noting that the types of roles may vary greatly depending on the company and the topic of a meeting. However, you can use our suggestions as a template and customize them as you see fit.

  • Facilitator. This role holds people in charge of keeping the meeting on track and ensuring that all attendees have a chance to speak up;
  • Timekeeper. As the name implies, timekeepers are supposed to ensure that the video call stays on schedule and that all agenda items are covered during the given time;
  • Note-taker. Participants assigned to this role are expected to follow the progress of the meeting and put everything in writing to sum up the event;
  • Discussion leader. This is a person who’s held in charge of leading a debate during the meeting.

As was mentioned, these are just a few roles that can be assigned to participants of the virtual conference, but the list can go on.


In the end, hosting virtual meetings is an integral part of any organization that has teams located in different parts of the world. However, whether these get-togethers are going to be successful or not depends on the practices companies use to bring dispersed teams together.

If you’d like to nail virtual meetings and make them more enjoyable for everyone involved, follow the tips and practices covered in this article, and be sure that your online get-togethers will become as effective and productive as face-to-face meetings!