Considering that thousands of people around the globe have been working from home the past few months, it’s safe to say that many of us have participated in a virtual meeting or two. Virtual meetings are a great way to stay connected to your employees and coworkers, especially throughout these uncertain times.
We are all fortunate that technology has given us the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with one another in ways that wouldn’t have been possible five or ten years ago. Though, just because many companies have gone from in-person group meetings to communicating through Zoom and video conferencing, doesn’t mean that all virtual meetings are effective. People can become easily distracted, uninterested, and may have a hard time following along.
If you feel like you need some advice for communicating with your team virtually, here are some tips on how to hold an effective virtual meeting:
1. Set a Date and Time
One thing about working remotely that’s different from working in the office is that employees are surrounded by their home lives. Sometimes, they may need to step away from their computers to help their kids get lunch, take the dog for a walk, etc. This is why it’s extremely important to set a date and time for any virtual meeting.
Have a group calendar where you can invite all of your employees and coworkers to the meeting with the specified date and time. Then, they can accept the invitation and the virtual meeting will be marked on their calendars. After all, you can’t have a meeting if your team doesn’t know about it!
You need to prepare a plan for a virtual meeting a little bit differently than you would prepare for an in-person meeting. Besides setting up your technology a half hour before your meeting, there are certain things that you’ll need to address once your virtual meeting begins:
- Discuss the purpose of the meeting
- Set objectives that need to be met by the end of the meeting
- Come up with rules that everybody can agree on such as muting your computer’s microphone when you aren’t talking, and saying your name before speaking
3. Keep Your Employees Engaged
One flaw of virtual meetings is that it’s very easy for your employees to become distracted – notifications popping up on their screens, text messages coming in, and browsing the web are some of the culprits. Some things you can do to keep your employees engaged include:
- Using visuals such as a whiteboard
- Getting your employees involved by asking them questions
- Telling stories from time-to-time
4. Keep Your Virtual Meetings Short and Sweet
The best thing you can do to make sure a meeting is effective is to keep it short and sweet. Once your meeting starts to go into the hour-plus range, you’ll start to lose your employee’s interest, and frankly, may be wasting valuable work time.
If you tend to host long meetings, try to prepare more beforehand. Create a timed agenda that hits on all of the topics you want to cover and stay within that plan. Short and sweet meetings are the best way to increase your company’s productivity and are extremely important in hosting an effective virtual meeting.