How to Effectively Run Virtual Meetings
Communication is essential for any business. Even if the nature of your business does not involve any technicality, it’s vital to get on board with digital communication channels. Now more than ever, knowing how to effectively run virtual meetings is critical to running a business effectively.
There are many advantages to learning how to run virtual meetings. For one, it means you don’t have to worry about getting all of your employees in the same place and at the same time. Furthermore, compared to physical meetings, virtual meetings are hugely cost-effective.
In the same vein, are different types of software applications that we can use for virtual meetings. In fact, you can easily install one on your smartphone or computer. This way, it’s possible to attend online meetings wherever and whenever.
However, there’s a slight snag to virtual meetings. Due to the sheer number of people involved, it may prove to be chaotic to get a functional rhythm. Additionally, the absence of physical prompts can reduce focus and productivity. Luckily, there are some tips that prove useful in running effective virtual meetings.
With many companies transitioning to remote work, most project managers and team leads are rethinking their virtual meeting strategies. You should too!
In this blog, we’ll discuss effective tips to make your virtual meetings more effective and productive. Furthermore, we’ll highlight the top software applications for seamless virtual meetings. Let’s get started!
Choose The Right Virtual Meeting Tool
Truth be told, there are multiple applications that you can use for an online meeting. However, the goal is to make your virtual meeting faster, easier, and more collaborative. As a result, there is a need to figure out the right software that aligns with your specific needs.
When choosing a virtual meeting platform, the first thing you should consider is functionality. Do you need to gauge reactions to a fresh product idea? Then, you should use software with video conferencing capabilities.
Do you want members of your team to collaborate on an urgent press release? For something like this, Google Docs may be more appropriate.
If you are going to be sharing a presentation, then a tool with a screen-sharing feature is best. The point is — pick a virtual meeting software that answers your specific needs.
On our end, at the very least, we recommend using software with both video and audio capabilities. Communication is 55% body language and 38% voice . With both concepts in play, you can ensure a communal life-like meeting atmosphere.
Prepare For Your Meetings Beforehand
The success of a virtual meeting is a factor of the effective guidance of the coordinator. Also referred to as the facilitator, such a person has to direct the meeting optimally. For starters, that involves familiarity with the virtual meeting software.
As a facilitator, you must get yourself familiar with the tools and unique features of the meeting app. Most especially, you should be able to maneuver its unique functionalities effortlessly. Similar, you should be able to fix small bugs like a lack of audio on the spot.
Another important tip for running effective meetings is inter-personal skills. Before the meeting, make sure you are on a first-name basis with all participants. Also, have a clear plan for who speaks when.
Finally, a light atmosphere encourages creativity and productivity. One or two icebreakers, causal conversations about sports or other interests, can help lighten the mood.
You can prepare some conversation starters beforehand. This way, there can be interesting small talk before everybody gets down to business.
Schedule The Meeting Time Effectively
Going over the set time limit for a virtual meeting is in bad taste. To ensure that this does not happen, schedule the time effectively beforehand. In doing so, you can keep the discussion on track and focused on the eventual goal.
To do this effectively, the following tips will come in handy:
- Set apart time for dealing with possible technical difficulties.
- Decide the agenda for the meeting and the amount of time each item requires.
- For longer meetings, schedule breaks in-between.
- Send reminders hours before the meeting to ensure punctuality.
When scheduling the meeting time, remember to take the time zone of each participant into account. You can also send out the agenda before the meeting to get every member on board and in the right mental zone for the meeting.
In the same vein, the agenda should also include what each participant needs to have on hand. This may include files, relevant media, research, etc. Finally, outlining the expectations for each participant will help them prepare better. You don’t want team members unprepared, do you?
Set Rules For The Meeting
This aspect of running a virtual meeting effectively is important to avoid chaos. Even for adults, rules are important. Without this, you may have everybody talking at the same time. Or someone constituting a distraction.
Remember, if one person causes a distraction, everybody will see the video and get distracted. As a ground rule, ask everybody to avoid background noise, mute notifications, and take care of their children beforehand. Additionally, ask that everybody sit with a plain background to avoid visual cues leading to a distraction.
Another popular rule is to ask participants to mute audio unless they are speaking. This way, you can keep noise distractions to a minimum. You can go on to add more ground rules depending on your unique needs.
Make Allowances for Virtual Reality
Visual cues like facial expressions and body language are important for effective communication. With face-to-face meetings, these are always present. However, the reverse is the case for virtual meetings.
How then do you make up for this loss? First of all, improve active listening skills. A simple nod here and there can show that you’re indeed paying attention.
Furthermore, comments and questions are highly welcome. For instance: “Jane, I am impressed with your design. But do you think it appeals to a younger audience? What do you think”
Things like this show that you are listening and paying attention. Also, encourage other team members to do the same.
Finally, to ensure your virtual meetings run effectively, always steer the conversation to the next agenda. Silence is pretty common during virtual meetings — and awkward too. A simple “Dan, give us your take on this marketing strategy” will help keep the ball rolling.
Top Software for Virtual Meetings
The software on this list will ensure efficient discussions during meetings. In no particular order, here are some top virtual meeting apps you can explore:
- ezTalks Cloud Meeting
- Zoho Meeting
- Click Meeting
- Google Meet
- Google Hangouts
When you take control and prepare adequately, virtual meetings can be seamless. More importantly, they can be productive. The tips above will help you fine-tune and optimize your meeting strategies. Good luck!