World leaders across the globe have recently chaired their first ever digital government meetings. Many Managers and employees are also leading and taking part in virtual meetings via apps such as Zoom, Teams, Skype or GoToMeeting. A number of staff might be doing this for the first time or the first time in a long while.
What can you do to ensure that your next virtual meeting runs smoothly?
This article will explore 5 tips to give you more confidence to lead productive and successful virtual meetings during the new normal:
Get everyone involved
Rather like in face-to-face meetings it’s critical that people taking part in the virtual meeting should be active participants. If not, there is no reason for them to attend.
An effective way to start your virtual meetings is using a short ice-breaker activity, such as asking everyone to share something positive that happened to them in the last week.
You should also use participants names as much as possible at the start of the meeting to engage their attention. As American self-development guru Dale Carnegie once said;
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Check the tech works
Some of your team will have more experience than others with virtual meetings and different levels of comfort with the technology. Be sure to provide clear instructions about how to join the meeting and think of common challenges people might face so you can predict problems before they happen.
Ideally you should ask participants to test their microphone and camera in advance of the meeting to reduce the chance of wasting valuable time with technical issues when the meeting starts.
Have a Plan B
Technical issues are unavoidable at times, so be sure to have a back-up plan in case there are too many problems with the platform you are using to conduct your meeting. This might mean having your colleague in IT or someone technically competent on stand-by to problem-solve any technical difficulties or to switch to another communication tool if your Plan A is not working.
Keep them brief
Similar to a daily scrum in Agile working methodology, a 10-minute daily virtual huddle can sometimes be long enough for team members to understand the plan of attack for the day. If necessary, you could have one slightly longer meeting each week. Overall, it’s best to keep virtual meetings as short as possible.
Always ask all participants to turn on their video during virtual meetings. While you can’t meet face-to-face for the moment, seeing a video of the people you are communicating with is the next best option. Using video also has the added bonus of making sure that everyone is paying attention as you can see their body language and facial expressions!
The ability to lead both face-to-face and virtual meetings is an important soft skill in a successful Manager’s toolkit.
During your next virtual meeting on Zoom, Skype or Teams try to use these five different strategies to increase your teams’ productivity. As a result, you might also find that motivation and engagement improves!
Also consider sending your staff on a virtual training course to help them brush up their skills and improve the way they run virtual meetings.