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If you do them right, virtual meetings have the potential to be more worthwhile than the traditional set-up.

Virtual meetings don’t have to be seen as a waste of time. In fact, they can be more valuable than traditional face-to-face meetings. Beyond the fact that they’re inexpensive ways to get people together – think: no travel costs and readily available technology – they’re also great opportunities to build engagement, trust and candor among teams.


Here's our 8 tips for hosting effective virtual meetings

 

1. Test the tech

Don’t leave it until the meeting itself to make sure your laptop has enough charge, you’ve got a strong Internet connection and you know how to use the virtual meeting software. Fiddling about with the tech while people are speaking will make you look unprofessional and slow down the proceedings.

Have a test run-through a day or couple of hours before to ensure you’ve got everything you need and are confident in navigating the software, and encourage the other attendees to do the same.

2. Use video

Although you might be tempted to have a phone call to avoid seeing your face in the corner of the screen, we think video calls are the much less awkward option.

You can take cues from people’s facial expressions and body language to know when they’d like to say something, instead of talking over each other on a conference call. This helps the meeting to flow much more smoothly, without anyone abruptly stopping their point or lapsing into a long pause.

Another plus point of video calls is that they allow for eye contact. While this may seem intimidating at first, it’s a really easy and effective way of making everyone feel connected, even if they’re on opposite sides of the world.

3. Be prepared

Just as you would with a face-to-face meeting, let all attendees know in advance what will be covered, what you’d like them to contribute and what outcome you’d like to see from it. This will help to focus everyone’s minds and ensure they’re prepared and ready to contribute with well thought-out ideas.

If you have any supporting documents or resources with valuable information, email them round to those attending the meeting to give them as much detail as possible.

4. Introduce everyone

Since virtual meetings are able to bring together employees from different teams, locations and even time zones, it’s possible some attendees won’t have met before. Spend a few minutes at the start of the meeting by getting each person to say their name and job role, and allowing for some small talk to make everyone feel comfortable and relaxed.

If a bond is created early on, it’ll allow for conversation to move easily and help attendees to feel more confident when sharing their ideas and suggestions.

5. No multitasking

When you’re not physically in the room with someone, it’s tempting to give in to distractions - checking your emails, snacking, listening to your colleagues’ conversation across the room. Request that all attendees find a quiet space to join the meeting, and to refrain from doing other tasks while it’s going on.

To hold a successful virtual meeting, you need to hold everybody’s full attention and make sure each person is involved and able to contribute. Put phones on mute, call on people to chip in and focus on collaborating to create some amazing ideas.

6. Keep it interactive

It’s so much easier for attendees to lose interest in a virtual meeting than it is in a face-to-face one, since there’s the barrier of the screen separating you. However, the good news is that there are so many creative methods and tools you can use to keep everyone engaged and contributing.

Pick a virtual meeting software that allows for different ways of communicating, not just by phone or video. Some have interactive whiteboards, mind-mapping tools, polls, live chat features and emoji reactions to get everyone taking part in a fun and visually interesting way.

Afterwards, you’ll be able to look over the content that was created within the software to remind yourself of what ideas were brought forward and what was decided upon.

7. Sum up afterwards

When the meeting is over, it’s time to gather together all the information about the decisions that were made, so you can start creating a plan for next steps. Create a document explaining which tasks are assigned to which person, and when you’d like to see results by. Send this round as soon as possible after the meeting.

It’s important to keep up the level of momentum after the meeting ends to ensure the objective stays clear in everyone’s mind, and to encourage swift action and effective solutions.

8. Face to face follow-up

When or where possible, it’s advisable to follow up with meetings in person. Face to face meetings can often have a greater impact on persuasion, engagement and leadership and ultimately getting decisions made or tasks followed up.

If you need a small or large meeting room now or in the future take a look at our meeting venues or alternatively our central enquiries team are on hand to help. Call 0121 222 1033 or email enquiries@limevenueportfolio.com.