If you want to keep your online conference calls from being a chore, then you need to change the way you hold virtual meetings. Checking in with your remote teams can be more interactive and effective with the right technologies and strategies. Here are some tips to keep your virtual meetings engaging and focused.
1. Be ready
It’s good practice to check all aspects of your virtual meeting setup before the call to avoid potential technical problems. Test the video conferencing app, especially if it’s one you’ve never used before, and familiarize yourself with its controls and features. Additionally, make sure that your camera, microphone, and speakers are working fine, and that your internet connection is stable.
2. Follow an agenda
This allows you to control the flow of discussions and keep track of who’s responsible for sharing specific information during the meeting. It’s a good idea to send a copy of the agenda along with the meeting invite so participants can prepare beforehand as well. You can also present the agenda at the beginning of the call to remind everyone of the meeting’s purpose.
3. Start with a welcome
Once everyone is in the call, and before you present the agenda, make any necessary introductions. You can also take this time to make some small talk to let everyone feel comfortable. Doing so will make it easier to engage them during the discussion.
4. Have someone take meeting notes or minutes
Assign a participant who will write down and summarize the points made and ideas discussed during the call. You can flesh out the details after the meeting, including issues, questions, decisions, and action items. Then, share these with the participants so that everyone is clear on what was discussed during the meeting.
5. Share only relevant information
Keep track of what you want to talk about with the group by referring back to your agenda. Focus on topics that bring value to the discussion, and avoid sharing content that’s not relevant. Going off topic could eat up a lot of time and prevent you from getting the most out of your meetings.
6. Be mindful of the font size on your presentations
If you need to share content in a document or a spreadsheet, think about how it will look on screen. Not all participants will be viewing from desktop computers with a large monitor — some may be using their laptops or tablets. Make sure your presentation is viewable from any device, or alternatively, send the participants a link to your presentation so they could view it personally.
7. Mute yourself when you’re not speaking
Even if you think you’re being quiet, most microphones can pick up background noises like throat clearing, typing, or cars passing by. These sounds can be distracting or even annoying, so out of courtesy to the other participants, turn off your mic when you’re not speaking.
8. Avoid multitasking
Just like in-person meetings, virtual meetings still require your undivided attention. Avoid checking emails, watching TV, or doing anything else while on a call. It’s easy for other participants to tell if you aren't fully focused, so pay attention when someone is speaking or presenting.
9. Employ virtual brainstorming tactics
You and your team don’t have to be in the same room to have a successful brainstorming session. Many video conferencing apps have screen sharing or whiteboard features that enable you to map out ideas on the screen as participants bounce ideas off of one another. The best way to get great ideas is to just start with lots of it, so write all of them down and go from there.
10. Keep meetings small, if possible
The more participants there are in a meeting, the more likely that the discussion takes longer or goes off topic. This isn’t to say that you should avoid large meetings, but if some employees can get by with a summary or recap, then limiting the number of people in a virtual meeting is the best way to go.
Having the right technology is the foundation to successful virtual meetings. Learn how Safebit can help your remote teams leverage IT to work more efficiently and come up with game-changing innovations. Call us today!