As many of us have been working from home, virtual meetings are becoming more common than ever before. For some, this is a tool that has been used even before we were social distancing. For others, it is a brand-new territory. We have seen many mishaps making the rounds on social media, and even Saturday Night Live released a parody of a virtual meeting gone wrong. Take a look at some tips we have found useful in running a virtual meeting.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
If you are new to video conferencing don’t expect it to be perfect the first few times. There are a lot of moving parts in this type of communication and it can take an attempt or two to get it down. Take some time on your own to test the video conferencing tool and get familiar with the different tools it offers.
Before you start your virtual meeting, you should ensure that you have everything you need within reach and your laptop or phone is working as needed to avoid any technical issues. You also want to make sure everyone else in your household is aware of your meeting and set expectations for noise levels and interruptions. Another good tip is to make sure you schedule your virtual meeting far enough in advance that your colleagues have time to get set up on their end.
BE CLEAR WITH EXPECTATIONS
It can be mortifying to show up to a meeting and be put on the spot if you are unprepared. Before the meeting, send out an email to your colleagues with a detailed agenda of what needs to be discussed or any questions that need to be answered. If each person is responsible for a certain assignment, include that in the email as a reminder. This will allow each person logging into the meeting to be fully prepared.
CRYSTAL CLEAR OBJECTIVES
Before the meeting is over, make sure nothing was left out. Someone should take and email notes that include everything discussed and everything that has been assigned to each person. This will allow everyone to have a concise list of expectations and objectives for the upcoming week.
ESSENTIAL STAFF ONLY
It can be tempting to invite everyone in the office but keep the virtual meetings for those that need to be there. Not everything requires a video call and can be done more efficiently over email. If you have several people on the call that have nothing to do, or the information is not relevant to them, you can leave them out of the meeting.
While it is important to maintain a professional environment even when video conferencing, there is some wiggle room. In a regular work environment people can chat and catch up with each other, so there is nothing wrong with setting some time aside at the beginning or end of the call to find out how everyone is doing and coping at home.
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