Due to COVID-19, many employees are working from home until further notice which means virtual meetings are the only form of face to face contact. Business owners may embrace virtual events as a cost effect method to gather teams together to get work done without employees travelling. If you are scheduling virtual meeting and need tips on how to successfully get your colleagues together, read on to find out how you can prepare for an in-depth business meeting.
- What software do you need?
The first thing you need to decide is what software you will use for your meeting. There are many online that are free to use. All that is required is an internet connection, audio (from computer speakers, microphone, or via telephone), and a webcam. Software’s such as Skype and Zoom are perfect for meetings of all sizes and have the ability to display presentations via screen share.
- Stay focused
The advantage of a virtual meeting is that you can be anywhere in the world and still be able to connect with your colleagues. However, when you are in a different environment to normal, there are many things that can distract you. If your meeting will last hours, it is vital to have short breaks to give people time to stretch and replenish their drinks. Keep each segment of the meeting short – no longer than 30 minutes to avoid people losing interest.
- Expect the meeting to take longer than usual
Although you might give your full attention to your participants as you would if you were in the same room, technology may be your weakness. Video conferencing may move at a slower pace than a typical meeting due to a two or three second delay for communication. If you are leading a virtual meeting, it is best to take pauses after each question. Another tip is to look into your camera as much as possible, to keep eye contact. It will make the conversation feel more natural and will engage everyone to listen.
- What not to do!
There are a lot of extra things to consider when planning a video meeting. Make sure there are no distracting sounds that may overpower your voice. Such as noisy jewelry, conversations with other people in the same room, or kids playing from your window. To help avoid these, make sure your window and doors are closed and you are alone in the room.
- Set an agenda
If you want your scheduled remote meeting to be efficient and successful, you need to plan your agenda. Make sure everyone is aware what the meeting is about, how long it will last and who is responsible to take down actions points.
- Finish with a follow-up
In order for a meeting to go effectively, every person should walk away with a clear objectives. Make sure everyone is aware of the next steps, deadlines and possibly when the next meeting will be. If you were the host, don’t forget that an important part of meeting follow up is checking in with attendees about how well the meeting went. Hearing from other people may give you more ideas on how you can make future meetings even more inclusive and efficient for everyone involved.
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