Before holding a virtual conference, one of the first things you must plan for is how to stay in touch with your team and collaborators. The tools are many, some better than others, some free and others not. The good news is that there are many options for you to choose from. And when it comes to choosing a meeting tool, video conferencing is not the only solution.
The question whether to go for a web conference or an audio call is interesting. Skype, Google Hangouts and other similar tools offer both possibilities but they are more of a personal nature, unlike Zoom that is dedicated to meetings only. Then the choice will depend on how many participants you have and whether or not they are physically present in your city. This article will outline the best practices for running an effective virtual meeting. You might not need every single one of them, but you can use this as a general guide to run meetings that everyone enjoys.
- Get clear about team goals
- Choose your tools wisely
- Your role as facilitator
Outline Your Goals
Goal setting is important to consider when running a meeting. Whatever you’re working on, it’s crucial that the team understands the purpose of your meeting. Your job here is to set goals aligned with that purpose. It also helps to be clear about how this meeting will contribute toward moving forward in whatever stage you’re at within the overall scheme of things.
Setting a clear goal for your meeting allows you to prepare and carry out the rest of the pre-meeting processes more effectively. You can better decide who needs to be invited, what should be discussed, how much time is needed in preparation stages as well as during the actual event itself, etc.
Choose Your Virtual Meeting Tools
Hive Notes has been a real game changer, but you’ll want to pick an online tool with certain features and integrations depending on how you plan to run the virtual meeting.
Before using a meeting tool, you should do some research and familiarize yourself with the tools. You might need to troubleshoot before getting down to business! Meeting tools help align calendars and find availability: scheduling is one type of such tool while video conferencing are platforms where people meet up in an online room.
Meeting agendas and information sharing is important. Poorly organized meetings is a common problem that can result in people not having enough time to complete other tasks, or even losing focus on projects.
Agendas are a great way to keep everyone in the loop, even when you’re meeting with your remote team. An agenda is an important part of a virtual meeting. It helps keep everyone on the same page and prevents any unexpected deviations in topic or discussion throughout your Zoom call. When you think about it, without agendas distributed teams are much more likely to become unfocused during their meetings because there won’t be anyone able to point out when they need to stay focused due not being together in person like traditional face-to-face meetings!
A reminder for a meeting is just as important as the initial invitation itself. People are more likely to forget about their obligations if they’re left without guidance on time and place of the event.
To ensure your virtual meeting isn’t missed, send a follow up email 30 minutes or an hour before the scheduled start time. You can also informally communicate this message via Slack or another messaging platform.
When using Hive Notes, all participants will receive a toast notification 10 minutes before the meeting begins. When you use Zoom or other communication apps that don’t have built in notifications, it can be more difficult to remember about meetings. This makes the process easier than ever!
Moderate And Create A Positive Environment
If you’re hosting a virtual meeting, take steps to ensure that everyone feels comfortable participating in the conversation. For example, start your meetings on time and try not to have too many people speak at once so it’s easier for everyone else to hear what they are saying.
Virtual meetings can help everyone relax and contribute to the discussion. Meeting in a board room full of people often makes it intimidating for those pitching ideas, but virtual sessions allow employees from all backgrounds to participate equally by removing much of this intimidation factor.
Remember, when you’re leading a virtual meeting, it can be awkward and quiet at first. To make sure everyone feels comfortable, and to break the ice with some laughs, start things off with a quick game or activity. While it may seem like an unnecessary step if everyone is already familiar, taking a moment in virtual meetings to focus on team connection will pay off when working together becomes more challenging down the line.