Running productive, effective, and well-organized virtual meetings is the expectation in today’s world. And yet, there are still many teams that can’t seem to get it right and are not comfortable with virtual meetings despite the flexibility that they provide.
Luckily, there are five key steps to take to ensure virtual meetings are successful. Top-performing remote and hybrid teams don’t sacrifice synergy or collaboration during online meetings — why should you?
1Create the right physical space
Environment is everything. Setting up in a quiet, well-lit space is key. Be sure your background is “appropriate.” Is there an unmade bed or an open closet in the background? Either move to a different spot or take advantage of the option to blur or utilize an artificial background. Make sure your WiFi connection is solid so that if being on camera is important, you’re able to be “on” for the whole meeting.
2Check Invite Information
So much time is wasted when meeting invitations are incorrectly communicated. Double-check your invite details. Are all the correct people invited to the meeting? Have you considered working hours for different time zones? Is the link to attend the meeting correct? Are there multiple ways of joining (by web and by phone)? If the organizer is suddenly unable to attend the meeting, are others still permitted to join? Knowing that the answer to all of these questions is “yes” will eliminate any hiccups when you begin your meeting. Finally, are there multiple presenters? Avoid the, “I can’t share my screen!” back and forth, and be sure the correct permissions are set in your settings.
3Always Over Prepare
Success lies in good preparation. Create and stick to a well-planned agenda. The agenda should be set 24 hours in advance and should be sent to all those who will be on the call. This allows anyone who will be presenting or speaking on the call the time to prepare, and attendees to make any additional notes and come prepared with questions or comments. Relationships and human connection is also important, so build time into your calls for “catching up” as attendees sign-on. This should be clear as the first thing on the agenda.
How do you know if what you discussed will be put into action? Be sure there is clear follow-up. No one should leave the meeting without clarity on the next steps and what they’re responsible for. Be sure to wrap up the meeting with a summary of high-level points, key findings, and deliverables that are recapped verbally at the end of the meeting and then emailed out within 1-2 hours of the meeting ending. Teams can wrap this all into a post-meeting recap email that also links to any discussed reports, agendas, or slides.
5Ask for Feedback
Schedule an item in your agenda to ask for feedback. The last two to three minutes of your meeting ask, “How’d this go? Does anyone have suggestions for how to make this better next time?” You can also tack this on to the follow-up email. Even when you’ve planned, checked and triple-checked that everything is just right, there is always room for improvement and/or a corner we didn’t see around that someone else in the “room” was able to see.
Use this guide as a checklist and your next virtual meeting will be a success.