Whether you’re pitching to a corporation across the country, or just having your weekly team meeting while some of your employees are working from home, virtual meetings can either make or break someone’s experience.
I’m always impressed when virtual meetings are pulled off without a single hitch. Now let me be clear – I don’t mean Webinars, which are usually just controlled by a single moderator and are geared toward a particular subject matter. Virtual meetings are done in places like Google Hangouts, Skype, or GoToMeeting where multiple people are actually engaging with and participating in the meeting.
It can go from awesome to ineffective, though, pretty quickly. Here are a few ways to help you keep your virtual meeting productive:
Make sure all attendees know the bells and whistles of your virtual meeting software. It may be beneficial to run through the interface of the virtual meeting software. Important features like muting, screen sharing, hand raising, and chatting are good places to begin.
Have a VERY clear agenda. I think this is a goal for each and every meeting, whether digital or face-to-face. However, with a virtual meeting, it is incredibly important. You must keep to an agenda, otherwise there is room for awkward silences, confusion, and general disinterest.
Take the meeting from a place that’s private. Yes, there are times where we all need to take a meeting from a Panera. But in most cases, especially if you have a significant role in the meeting, you should make sure you’re in a place where you can be heard clearly without any background distractions. This includes children while working from home.
Keep the meeting short and sweet. No one likes to sit in a meeting for longer than they need to. But people really hate sitting on the phone for extended periods of time. Remember that distractions are plentiful when people aren’t sitting face to face, so keeping content succinct and discussions on topic during virtual meetings is that much more crucial.
What are your tips and tricks for running a good virtual meeting? Share them with us in the comments section.