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virtual meetings

It’s no secret that the world is changing. With technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, more and more people are working remotely. And as the trend of remote work grows, so does the need for effective virtual meetings.

Whether you’re leading a meeting or attending one, there are certain tips for virtual meetings that can help to make them more productive, efficient, and successful.

If you want to skyrocket your team’s productivity and success, read on for the 20 virtual meeting tips you need to know.

Challenges of Virtual Meetings

Before getting into tips for virtual meetings, it’s important to first understand the challenges that come with virtual meetings.

For starters, online meetings may be difficult to organize and manage. Without the benefit of seeing each other in person and communicating face-to-face, it can be challenging to effectively collaborate and brainstorm ideas.

Additionally, virtual meeting participants may struggle to communicate their thoughts and opinions effectively. This is often due to technical limitations such as poor audio or video quality, distracting background noises, lag time, etc.

Other challenges that can impact virtual meetings include:

  • Different time zones
  • Language barriers
  • Different levels of technological understanding/skill
  • Lack of meeting organization or structure
  • Difficulty maintaining focus and attention span

Keeping these potential challenges in mind, it’s important to put extra thought and planning into your virtual meetings.

virtual meeting

20 Tips For Effective Virtual Meetings

1. Consider Everyone’s Time Zones

When planning virtual events, it’s important to take into consideration everyone’s time zones. This way, you can ensure that the meeting starts and ends at a time that is convenient for everyone.

If you’re leading a meeting, be sure to send out a virtual meeting agenda in advance and make sure to include the start and end times for each segment of the meeting. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows when they need to be online.

If you’re attending a meeting, be sure to check the start and end times of the meeting before you agree to attend. This will help to prevent any overlap or conflict with other commitments.

2. Set The Ground Rules

Before a virtual meeting begins, it’s important to set the ground rules. This will help to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them.

Some ground rules that you may want to consider include:

  • All attendees should be present and on time
  • All attendees should have their cameras turned on
  • All attendees should mute their microphones when they are not speaking
  • All attendees should avoid side conversations or multitasking

By setting these ground rules, you can help ensure that everyone is focused and engaged throughout the duration of the meeting.

3. Create a Meeting Agenda and Share it in Advance

When planning virtual meetings, one of the most important things you can do is create an agenda ahead of time and share it with all attendees. This way, everyone knows what to expect, and there are no surprises.

A meeting agenda should include the topics that will be discussed during the meeting, as well as the time allocated for each topic. This will help keep the meeting on track and ensure that everyone has a chance to speak.

If designing an agenda from scratch feels like a daunting task, there are many online tools like Zapier, Adobe, and yowork that offer customizable meeting templates that you can use.

If you’re leading a meeting, be sure to send out the meeting agenda in advance so that everyone has time to review it. If you’re attending a meeting, be sure to arrive prepared by reading over the agenda.

4. Choose the Right Virtual Meeting Platform

There are many different virtual meeting platforms to choose from, and each has its own set of features. When choosing a virtual meeting platform, it’s important to consider the needs of your team.

Some things to consider include:

  • How many people will be attending the meeting?
  • What type of devices will everyone be using? (e.g., laptop, desktop, tablet)
  • What type of internet connection will everyone be using? (e.g., broadband, mobile data)
  • What type of meetings will you be hosting? (e.g., one-on-one, group)
  • What are your budget restrictions?

Once you have answered these questions, you can begin to compare different virtual meeting platforms and choose the one that is right for your team.

Some of the most popular virtual meeting tools include:

  • Zoom: Zoom is a video conferencing tool that can be used for both live and recorded meetings. It offers a number of features, such as screen sharing and file sharing, that can be used to make meetings more productive. Overall, Zoom is a great option for teams of all sizes that need a reliable virtual meeting tool.
  • Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts is another video conferencing tool that can be used for both live and recorded meetings. It offers similar features to Zoom, such as meeting recording and file sharing. However, its integration with other Google products, such as Gmail and Calendar, makes it a more user-friendly option for those who are already familiar with these products.
  • Skype: Skype is a VoIP service that can be used for both audio and video calls. It also offers a number of features, such as instant messaging and screen sharing, that can be used to improve the productivity of virtual meetings.

5. Follow Basic Meeting Etiquette

When having a meeting, virtual or in person, there are some basic etiquette tips that should be followed in order to be productive.

First and foremost, be on time. This is especially important for virtual meetings, as lateness can be easily noticed. If someone is late, they can join the meeting by phone or video call and then catch up on what was missed.

In addition, be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you. For virtual meetings, make sure to mute your microphone if you are not speaking. This will prevent any background noise from disrupting the meeting.

An in person meeting requires the same level of awareness – avoid eating or drinking noisily and turn off your phone if it is going to ring.

By following basic meeting etiquette, you can ensure that your meetings are effective and productive for everyone involved.

6. Determine Action Items and Due Dates

When you’re leading an online meeting, one of the most important things you can do is ensure that everyone leaves the meeting with a clear understanding of what they need to do and when. This is especially important for action items – tasks that need to be completed as a result of the meeting.

To help ensure that action items are properly assigned and tracked, it’s helpful to establish some ground rules for determining due dates and responsibilities. Here are a few tips:

  • Start by assigning each action item a due date. This will help ensure that the task gets done in a timely manner.
  • If possible, assign each action item to a specific individual or team. This will help make sure that someone is accountable for ensuring that the task gets done.
  • Make sure to follow up after the meeting to check on the status of each action item. This will help you ensure that tasks are getting completed as planned.

7. Position Yourself Strategically

Being aware of your body language and where you are sitting in the virtual meeting can help to make you more effective and productive. The tone makes up 38% of communication, whereas body language and facial expressions make up 55%. This means that in order for your colleagues to understand what you are saying, they rely heavily on seeing your face and understanding your body language.

When you are in an in person meeting, it is easy to control where you are positioned in the room. Whether you sit at the head of the table or off to the side, you can use your body language to emphasize certain points. In a virtual meeting, however, it is more difficult to control your positioning.

If you are using a laptop or PC, make sure that the camera is at eye level. This will ensure that your colleagues can see your face and read your expressions. If you are using a tablet or smartphone, be sure to hold the device up at eye level so that your colleagues can see you clearly.

8. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking is a common habit that many of us fall into. We think that by multitasking, we are getting more done. However, the truth is that multitasking actually slows us down and makes us less productive.

When you’re in a virtual meeting, it’s important to avoid multitasking. This is because when you’re trying to focus on two things at once, you’re not really focusing on either one of them. As a result, you’re not as productive as you could be.

In order to be effective in a virtual meeting, it’s important to give your full attention to the meeting. This means avoiding distractions and focusing on the conversation at hand. By doing this, you’ll be able to listen more attentively and participate more fully, ultimately making the meeting more productive.

9. Consider Virtual Team-Building Activities

One way to help improve productivity in virtual meetings is to engage in virtual team-building activities. When team members are familiar with one another and have a good working relationship, they are more likely to be productive when working together.

Fortunately, there are a number of virtual team-building activities that you can do to help improve communication and collaboration among team members. Here are a few ideas:

  • Have team members create a profile for themselves, including photos and a brief biography. This will help team members learn more about one another and get to know each other on a personal level.
  • Hold a virtual brainstorming session. Ask team members to share their ideas on a specific topic or project. This will help encourage collaboration and idea-sharing among team members.
  • Play a virtual game. There are a number of online games that can be played by teams in order to encourage teamwork and cooperation. These include everything from trivia games to virtual escape rooms.

10. Keep Technical Issues to a Minimum

In order to have a productive virtual meeting, it’s important to keep technical issues to a minimum. This means ensuring that all meeting attendees are able to see and hear one another clearly and that there are no interruptions or sound issues.

If you are experiencing any technical glitches during the meeting, let your colleagues know right away. This will help to minimize any disruptions and ensure that the meeting can continue smoothly.

If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, make sure that the microphone and speakers are turned on. If you are using a tablet or smartphone, be sure to use the headphones option instead of the speakerphone option.

It’s also important to keep in mind the settings of your device. For example, if you are using a laptop or desktop computer, be sure to disable any screen savers or power-saving features. This will help to ensure that the meeting is not interrupted by unexpected pauses or blank screens.

11. Share Relevant Documents Ahead of Time

One of the best virtual meeting tips to ensure productivity is to share relevant documents ahead of time. This way, everyone is on the same page, and there is less chance of confusion during the meeting. It also eliminates the need for people to spend time browsing through files or trying to track down the right document during the meeting.

There are a few ways to go about sharing documents before a virtual meeting. One option is to send an email with a link to all of the relevant documents. This can be a bit cumbersome, though, especially if there are a lot of files involved. A better option is to use a file-sharing service like Google Drive or Dropbox. These services make it easy to share files and folders with others, and they can be accessed from anywhere.

12. Make Sure Everyone is Involved

Involvement is key to ensuring that virtual meetings are productive and efficient. This means actively participating in the discussion, voicing your opinions when necessary, sharing relevant information with others, and asking questions if needed.

If you notice that one or more meeting attendees seem disengaged during the meeting, try to find out why. Perhaps they didn’t fully understand the purpose of the meeting or felt like their ideas weren’t being heard. By addressing these issues early on, you can help ensure that everyone feels involved and engaged throughout the entire process.

To stay involved during virtual meetings, be sure to speak up as much as possible. Share your thoughts and ideas openly, ask questions when there is something you don’t understand, and take an active role in brainstorming sessions or other activities.

13. Don’t Make It A Lecture, Make It A Conversation

Who says virtual meetings have to be boring and stiff? One of the best virtual meeting tips is to make them more conversational and interactive. Rather than simply presenting information to your team or attendees, try engaging in a two-way dialogue where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas. This will help keep everyone engaged and interested, making your meeting much more productive overall.

Some ways you can make virtual meetings more conversational and interactive include:

  • Asking attendees questions throughout the meeting
  • Having small breakout groups for discussion
  • Encouraging team members to share their ideas and thoughts
  • Break topics down into smaller, more manageable chunks
  • Using tools like presentation slides or interactive whiteboard software to facilitate discussion and engagement.

14. Stick To The Schedule

In order to ensure that virtual meetings are as productive as possible, it’s important to stick to the schedule. This means starting and ending the meeting on time. It can be frustrating for participants if the meeting starts late or ends early. Additionally, by sticking to the schedule, you can ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak.

There are several tips you can follow to help keep your meetings on schedule. For starters, choose a meeting time that works for the majority of participants, and communicate the start time clearly. If possible, try to avoid including too many topics or activities in each meeting, as this can lead to delays. Finally, be sure to prepare all necessary materials ahead of time, so you are not scrambling at the last minute.

15. Ask For Feedback

When hosting virtual meetings, it’s important to remember that you’re working with people in different time zones and locations. This can make it difficult to gauge how well the meeting is going, or whether everyone is on the same page.

To help remedy this, ask for feedback from virtual attendees during and after the meeting. This will help you to understand what worked and what didn’t, so you can make adjustments for future meetings.

In addition to getting feedback from participants, be sure to ask them for their contact information. This will allow you to follow up with them after the meeting and get more detailed feedback.

By gathering feedback from participants both during and after the meeting, you can ensure that your virtual meetings are as productive as possible.

16. Conduct Roll Call Before Every Meeting

It’s always good practice to begin virtual meetings with a brief roll call. This will allow you to get an idea of who is in attendance and who might be missing. Additionally, roll call can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect from the meeting.

To conduct roll call, simply ask each participant to introduce themselves and state their name, location, and role within the company. This will help you to keep track of everyone who is participating in the meeting.

Conducting a brief roll call at the beginning of every virtual meeting can help to ensure that everyone is present and accounted for.

17. Keep Your Background Professional

When hosting a virtual meeting, it’s important to make sure that your background is professional. This means keeping your space clean and tidy and avoiding any distractions.

It’s also important to be aware of your body language when hosting a virtual meeting. Avoid sitting in a way that might be seen as closed off, and be sure to make direct eye contact with participants when they are speaking.

A neutral background and good body language can help to make virtual meetings feel more professional, engaging, and productive.

18. Utilize Screen Sharing

Screen sharing is one of the most useful tools for effective virtual meetings. It allows you to share your screen with other participants, so they can see what you are working on. Additionally, screen sharing can be used to share presentations or documents.

To use screen sharing, simply click the “share” button in your meeting software. This will allow you to select which window or application you would like to share. Once you have selected what you would like to share, other participants will be able to see it on their own screens.

Screen sharing is a great way to facilitate discussion and collaboration in virtual meetings.

19. Use Video As Often As Possible

Many virtual meeting software platforms offer the option to use video. This can help to create a more engaging and personal experience, as it allows participants to see one another.

If you have the ability to use video in your virtual events, be sure to take advantage of this tool. It will allow you to build stronger relationships with participants and make your meetings feel more interactive and productive.

An audio only meeting can feel cold and distant, so using video whenever possible is a great way to create a more successful virtual meeting.

20. Follow Up After Every Meeting

Once a virtual meeting has ended, be sure to send out a follow-up email. This email should recap the main points of the meeting and provide participants with the next steps. Additionally, the follow-up email is a great opportunity to thank participants for their time and input.

By following up after every virtual meeting, you can help to ensure that participants are on the same page and that they know what their next steps are. Additionally, this will allow you to stay organized and keep track of what was discussed in each meeting.

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Wrapping Up

Virtual meetings are a great way to facilitate discussion and collaboration among team members. To make the most of virtual events, it’s important to be prepared, organized, and professional. By following the virtual meeting tips mentioned above, you can set your team up for success.

all images Pixabay

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