Many of us are now expected (and required) to rely on virtual meetings for business.
But, if you’re unfamiliar with how-to-do-it or lack the skills required to conduct effective virtual meetings, they will be unproductive, time-consuming, and disengaging!
While you may believe you are already a great meeting facilitator, others may disagree. Some of you may be self-conscious about your voice or the way you look on camera. Remember, this is a great time to blast through your self-limiting beliefs and blind spots!
12 Tips for Productive Virtual Meetings
- Preparation is the Critical Key. Winging it causes too many distractions! Important key points or details will be forgotten! Prepare an agenda! Send it out along with your meeting notification and link. Remember to ask for any changes in your email. Then, also ask before starting the meeting. If you don’t, the participant will stop listening.
- Ensure Audio and Visual Are Both Ready. Check to ensure your equipment and connections are working before the meeting! If you don’t know how to use your conferencing system, learn! Practice with a co-worker or your kids before the meeting.
- Minimize Distractions. Working from home has many distractions. These include pets, kids, deliveries, neighbors, etc. Create a workspace that reduces these detractors and ask your team members to do the same. Listen to By Popular Request! More Tips for Working from Home Confidently, Effectively, and Productively! for ideas.
- Visuals Are Important. If there are any slides, PPTs or data, send it out with the agenda. Ask someone that is familiar with “Share Screen” capabilities to share any info onscreen. Otherwise, if you make your audience wait while you are fumbling around, you will lose them.
- Speak Clearly. Use a mic and speak slowly since some home connections are limited and you will be hard to hear. Remember, it’s critical everyone listens, understands, and participates in the conversations. Otherwise, people will check out while pretending to listen.
- Use Your Business Voice When Interrupted. It’s easy to forget the tone of your voice is often different at work than at home. Be aware and breathe before responding to any interruptions. For example, if the dog starts barking at a UPS delivery truck, don’t yell and scream at the dog to stop! Instead, say, “Just a moment, there is a UPS delivery truck here and the dog is letting me know.” Then, resume your conversation. Don’t try to talk over it.
- Stay Focused. Multi-tasking is a myth! Reading emails or texts, playing online games, or having side conversations with housemates is distracting. You cannot listen and do other things at the same time and be productive during your virtual meetings.
- Team Member is Having Difficulties. During this crisis, some of your team members will be experiencing new challenges. Have a conversation with him or her off-line and before the meeting. This will ensure s/he is able to be present during the conversation.
- Listen to the Unsaid. It’s very easy to hideout in virtual meetings. Non-verbal cues will be more difficult to observe. Go around the group and have each team member share ideas or concerns. Use a note-taker for meeting minutes, and don’t rely on “recordings.”
- Using “Record Function.” This is an option if someone is absent from the meeting. But, be aware, team members may limit sharing their thoughts and ideas if they know it’s being recorded. There may also be legal ramifications in some states or communities. Check first! If you are recording, always let team members know before the meeting starts and who will have access to the recording.
- No Pics on Social Media! Remember, this is a business meeting, not a social one.
- For additional info on How to Lead Virtual Team Members
©Jeannette Seibly, 2020
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning dynamic results coach and keynote speaker. For the past 27 years, she has guided the creation of leaders to excel in achieving results. 1st Quarter is done. Did you hit your goals? If you did, congrats! If you didn’t, regardless of the Coronavirus, you must stay in action. Join us on Wednesday mornings for dynamic results coaching. Contact Jeannette today for straight talk with dynamic results. Don’t forget to listen to her podcasts on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.