Virtual meetings continue to be the primary method of communicating with co-workers as some team members return to the office while others continue to work remotely.
In order to have the best experience for all involved and stay connected during virtual meetings, we are sharing some best practices.
In this article, we will be discussing the following ways in which you can hold productive virtual meetings:
- Befriend Technology
- Mindset: Be Present Mentally and Physically
- Send an agenda
- Start & End strong
Befriend Technology/ Turn off Notifications
Fewer distractions and more interaction lead to more productive virtual meetings, especially if some team members are together and others are on video. For members who are remote, ask participants to conduct the meetings in a designated and quiet space (if possible) use a mic, and utilize noise-canceling headphones or apps.
Apps such as Krisp, help with noise cancellation and provide clear sound in virtual meetings. Krisp is powered by AI and works to removes background noise (i.e. dog’s barking, neighbor’s lawn moving) so that speech is much clearer. It can remove unwanted noise and echoes on both ends of the virtual meeting and is compatible with most virtual meeting programs, such as Zoom and Google.
For those gathered together in a conference room, either be seated in a way so the attendees on the video conference can see and hear you properly, or log in to the meeting with your own device. You’ll have to mute yourself while not speaking so there is no interference, however, this allows the video participants to see your facial expressions and hear you properly.
Mindset: Be Present Mentally and Physically
Virtual meetings offer a false assumption that we can multi-task. Checking out an email, or responding to another Slack message may seem harmless to do, however, that small distraction can have an adverse effect on team connection and engagement as well as the possibility to miss out on vital information. The best practices focus on being present, both mentally as well as physically.
When getting ready for a virtual meeting, it’s best to turn off all notifications, reminders, and email and Slack notices. Be present, turn your video on, look at the camera when speaking, and watch the speaker on speaker view. Turning off your self-view on Zoom also helps with eye fatigue.
Virtual meetings will be more productive when we can see each other and when all attendees have their video on allows for connection and interaction.
Additionally, seeing others on camera leads to more fruitful communication and allows for both verbal and non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions! So, when we can see who we are speaking to, we can better understand what they want to communicate.
There are instances when having a camera on is not possible. If someone has a personal issue with having their camera on during a portion of the meeting, it’s best to communicate this in advance and bring it to the attention of the meeting leader. Especially since work-from-home presents challenges on occasion.
Send an Agenda
Some of the world’s most productive systems, and the people that run those systems, have a simple solution to ensuring efficiency: creating a checklist.
Now, I know what you may be thinking, “A checklist? That’s it?” But, seriously, creating a list of action items that must be completed within a certain period, ensures that those things are done, or at the very least, started.
So, if you want to increase productivity in virtual meetings, create a checklist of items that need to be covered and send that agenda to everyone attending the meeting. For starters, having an agenda will ensure that all of the important talking points are covered and in an order that makes the most sense for everyone attending the meeting.
Second, sending an agenda before the meeting helps attendees prepare any necessary information. Not only will everyone be ready to speak on topics that pertain to their work, but a more fruitful discussion can take place.
Each attendee can listen and contribute because they will be more prepared to do so giving everyone a greater chance of solving problems and ideating.
Start & End Strong
It’s important to have a strong start to the meeting to engage and connect people with one another. Icebreakers can create team connection and engagement daily. When it comes to virtual meetings, people feel disconnected from the team because of the physical distance and icebreakers can help bridge the gap to start your virtual meetings.
For example, have everyone say a high point and a low point of their week. These answers can be work-related or personal, depending on your company and team culture.
Having each person speak ensures that each member of the team is heard, and it increases engagement. In turn, attendees will be more willing to speak during virtual meetings because they are more engaged and “warmed-up” to participate.
As you wrap up your meeting, it’s equally important to end on a strong note. Ask each person for their takeaway value from the meeting, asking for next step commitments is another way to end on a high note.
Virtual meetings have become central to remote work and it’s important to maximize our time together online.
From getting into the right mindset and creating an agenda for your meeting, to increasing engagement with technology or icebreakers, there are many ways to make your virtual meetings more productive!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our 594th a.blog.