After months of working from home, Hawaii employers and employees alike may find themselves feeling virtual meeting fatigue. Better meetings can help!
Convenient and cost-effective, virtual meetings are officially an essential part of doing business. Given that videoconferencing might be the norm for the near future, make sure your teams know how to get the most out of virtual meetings to keep your business running.
Employees with effective virtual meeting skills are guaranteed to benefit your business as teams can collaborate more productively across time zones and locations.
Let’s dig into some tips on how to make your meetings more effective, engaging, and collaborative.
Technical considerations to keep you connected
When deciding what software and technology to use, consider who the audience is and what info needs to be shared generally. Will you, for example, need to hop on a quick team call or will you have to hold presentations with the option to share your screen?
There are many free and low-cost options for remote meeting collaboration: Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Facetime, or even a simple conference call, depending on your needs.
To avoid delays or technical issues, always check your equipment beforehand and have a backup plan for when things don’t go as planned. If you have poor internet connection join the meeting with audio only and move the meeting at a slightly slower pace since participants might be experiencing some lag.
Most importantly, don’t over complicate it. Your meeting technology should be there to support your message but having fancy tools and equipment won’t make or break your virtual meeting.
Virtual meeting etiquette
Just like in-person meetings, virtual meetings (unless intended for fun team bonding) require the same amount of professionalism. You aren’t physically face-to-face, but you should still meet participants with the same level of respect and etiquette.
This means wearing pants even if only your top half is showing, avoiding noisy jewelry and accessories, and removing distractions such as personal electronic devices, kids or pets.
Remind meeting participants to use headsets when possible and mute their microphone if not speaking to avoid typing, traffic, or other background noise that will disturb the audio quality. Some online meeting tools also have the option to mute all attendees, this is intended primarily for webinars or presentations but can be key in larger groups.
Engaging virtual meeting participants
If participants don’t believe your meeting message applies to them, they are more likely to tune out and view the meeting as an opportunity to multi-task. Share the meeting objective and agenda beforehand to give participants an understanding of their role. You may also consider assigning roles to your employees such as a meeting facilitator or timekeeper to keep them on their feet.
Another great way to keep participants from tuning out is preparing targeted questions and directly calling on people. Not only will it keep participants engaged but it will also prevent multiple people from speaking up at the same time.
If your internet connection allows for video conferencing, try looking at the camera to create eye contact, even if looking at yourself on the screen might come more naturally.
While you want to keep the meeting brief and focused, use the first few minutes to catch up with your team or to introduce people to a new group before jumping into the nitty-gritty.
Speaking of starting a meeting with some enjoyment, our Sales Engineer and talented musician Josh Laguana recently played the piano while waiting for everyone on a call to finish dialing in. Not only did it keep meeting participants entertained but it also spared the awkward “let’s give it one more minute” announcements. Find something that works for your meeting and have some fun with it!
After the meeting
To ensure everyone is on the same page despite potential technical glitches or distractions, use the last few minutes of the meeting to go over next steps. Summarize priorities and set deadlines to ensure everything is being worked on as discussed in the meeting. Routinely follow up on action points or ask your team to send progress reports as needed.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should first consult their attorney, accountant or adviser before acting upon any information in this article.