Ever wonder what it takes to make an effective virtual meeting happen? Here’s a look at 3 ways your team could hold a virtual meeting that’s successful in every way.
Facilitate the conversation:
Good meetings, especially virtual ones, don’t happen by accident or happenstance. They happen by design, says Fast Company. So make sure you have someone to facilitate the conversation. The one thing you need to understand about virtual meetings is that the temptation to do something else can be great. So you want to pick the kind of facilitator who can continually engage participants, who won’t bore them and give them a reason to play online games, go on Facebook or take a midday nap.
Constant engagement is key. The moment you lose your audience, you’ll end up talking to a group that’s bent on doing something else—sleep, eat, watch a video or even take selfies. So be sure to do your best to facilitate the conversation and keep it on track. Without someone to take the conversation in hand, the conversation could easily get derailed and before you know it, you’ve spent an hour discussing nothing important. By the time you check your agenda, you’ll discover that you haven’t even touched on all the essential points that should have been covered in the meeting. So get a good facilitator, one who knows how to keep an eye on things and just be firm enough to prevent anyone in the group from straying from the topic at hand.
Go with video:
Use a video conferencing tool. Audio meetings aren’t effective and don’t usually work. Virtual meetings already make it tough to keep everyone’s attention. If you go with audio, then people can basically do whatever they want, all without you knowing. Those are the kind of meetings that produce lag times and costly delays. If you want to make sure you make the most out of every meeting, if you don’t want those meetings to sap productivity and affect your bottom line, then go for a video communication solution. With a business video conferencing system for IT like BlueJeans, you can easily make the technology a part of your team’s daily life. And because it’s cost-effective, you won’t have to worry about spending a ton on hardware and upgrades just to get the system your business needs.
In addition, if you want to make sure engagement is high for all participants, ditch the conference room if you can. Require everyone to go to a video meeting via remote. That way, there’s no divide between onsite and offsite employees. That’s going to make for a better meeting, especially since it prevents remote teams from feeling excluded or isolated from all the conversation around. You could also train your team to make sure they know how to create a good video experience, from ensuring that the lighting and camera angles are done right to setting up an excellent video workspace at home.
Use technology that works:
Not all kinds of video conferencing solutions out in the market are going to work for you. So do your best to look around. Scout for a system that provides you with all the features you need. Want to enhance collaboration efforts among your remote teams? No worries. You can easily go for systems with content-sharing features. That way, you can share files and images as well as go over pages or paragraphs for ads or projects. These features make it easy and convenient for IT teams—regardless of whether they’re in different states or time zones—to work together. Video also works to strengthen the team work and camaraderie of offsite teams. Socialization is an essential part of the workplace.
We work best when we work with people we trust. That’s something we lose when we resort to emails, chats or texts. Video communication offers us that face to face element to help ensure engagement, says the Time Management Ninja. That face to face element matters since it helps employees get to know each other better and makes them feel closer to the team. As a result, remote employees are less likely to feel excluded. They’re much more engaged with their teams as well as feel a deeper connection with the company. And the more engaged employees are, the more productive their work will be. They’re also less likely to resign so employee retention is high.
One last tip:
In addition to these three tips, don’t forget to dress appropriately for every meeting. It’s not true that you can go to work in your pajamas! Unless everyone else is going to come to the meeting wearing their sleep shirts, bath robes and pajamas, be on the safe side of things and show up looking ready and professional. That’s a great way to get your meeting off to an excellent start.
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