Virtual meetings are a reality for most of the world now. And though it can seem easy to simply try to conduct the same meeting you would at the office, there are a multitude of new factors that must be considered. Technology is central but so is the communication style of each participant as well as the organizer’s responsibility to ensure follow up and follow through. These simple tips can help you set up your meeting so the most is made out of everyone’s time.
1. Plan the agenda
Whether its in a quick few sentences or a detailed outline, make sure that each of these items is considered and included before sending an invite:
- Itemize key discussion points, including any roadblocks or issues that need to be discussed
- Organize a meeting structure that outlines when and how long each point is to be discussed
- List the attendees and any items or information they should bring
- Add any attachments such documents, files, or research that will be used
- Clearly state the goal or expected outcome of the meeting
2. Set the meeting format
Especially for recurring meetings, establish the method by which each person can participate. Does everyone speak freely, have to raise their hand, or take turns in a round robin? It can be helpful to identify personality types and communication styles, since these may imply one method might be more effective than the others.
3. Test your technology
Even organizers that hold meetings every day should do this regularly. You never know when an update or your hardware or software might cause changes that effect your standard processes.
- Login to your meeting early
- Test your mic and speakers with the tools available in your meeting application
- Turn on and off your webcam and make sure that you see what you expect, with as few visual distractions on camera as possible
- Check that the lighting is appropriate so participants can see your facial expressions
- If you’re presenting, test the presentation by sharing your screen and ensuring the application (like PowerPoint or Excel) is appearing
These tips may seem like they’re adding additional work, but remember that most of them are recommended for in-person meetings as well as online. They typically take less time than preparing for an onsite meeting, since it would take time to travel to the meeting location and set up the space. You’d probably get a cup of coffee on the way. Taking this bit of time upfront can ensure that you spend less time repeating yourself or hassling with tech issues, and more time getting to your goals.