A virtual meeting is when individuals in various locations connect at the same time using technology to accomplish a shared goal.
Since the start of lockdown, everyone has had to change the way they work which for many of us includes attending virtual meetings every day. Virtual meetings often are blocked out in our diaries to replace face-to-face meetings or can be described as a keeping in touch meeting as many of us continue to work from home.
The benefits to a virtual meeting is the flexibility, cost savings and the safest option during the global pandemic.
It is understandable that running an effecting virtual meeting may be more difficult, but with the right approach and preparation, virtual meetings could be an alternative platform moving forward.
Pick the right technology
As a business, its ideal to use the same software for all virtual meetings for example Zoom or Microsoft Teams, it is also essential to communicate your chosen virtual platform throughout the business.
Before sending the meeting invite, be sure to check the link, your camera and microphone, the information held and who the invite is being send to, this is especially important for external people you are inviting.
As the host of a virtual meeting be sure that you have good internet connection, there is nothing more unprofessional or off putting than someone experiencing poor internet connectivity.
Prepare for the meeting
As you would during a face-to-face meeting, preparation is key for a virtual meeting to work. You may want to circulate an agenda before the meeting to enable the participants of the meeting to get acquainted with the subjects that will be discussed.
It would be a good idea to try and make sure that meetings are not interrupted by distracting background noise. We all know that this is not always possible and many of us can relate to observing cats and children in the background. There are software solutions on many virtual platforms that removes background views, the mute button is also very handy in unexpected situations like this.
Keep the meetings to the point
Introducing the meeting and discussing the agenda keeps the meeting on track. When on a virtual meeting, participants are more likely to lose focus, so try and keep the meeting short and to the point.
Even though the meeting may be virtual, the participants may still need a break so ensure that this is taken into consideration when planning your meetings and ensure that participants know when to expect this time as opposed to interrupting the flow of the meeting.
The virtual meeting tips
Further tips to run a successful virtual meeting:-
- Choose a quiet space to avoid background noise and to help focus the discussions.
- Designate a host as it is often more difficult to manage a virtual discussion without one.
- Use the platform tools at your disposal. For example to prevent multiple people from speaking at the same time, some meeting platforms offer helpful tools. For instance, Zoom allows users to raise their hands virtually in response to a question.
- Ask for feedback in real-time and prompt attendees to submit questions through the chat function. In the virtual space, body language and visual cues are harder to interpret.
- Give each person time on the agenda to contribute.
- Use camera to allow everyone to be present.