Make Virtual Meetings More Productive With These 5 Tips
Innovative companies don’t need conference tables all the time. Technology has delivered many ways for us to collaborate smarter. Tools like Skype, Zoom and Cosapien enable people to work more efficiently and to meet in ways that are more convenient.
And while face-to-face meetings do still have a lot of value, virtual meetings are a major time-saver, particularly in cities where congested traffic can turn a one-hour meeting into a three-hour foray out of the office.
Even if you don’t want to throw your boardroom table out, learning the rules for conducting virtual meetings can be really valuable, especially during times where you need a great deal of input, need to meet with people who are physically far away or are simply pressed for time.
Here are five techniques to help you hold effective meetings and get everyone on the same page, even if they’re not sitting around the same table.
Establish Clear Rules Of Engagement
In order to hold a focused, outcomes-based meeting, the attendees need to be physically and mentally present. You may not need a boardroom but the environment in which the attendees physically find themselves should be conducive to full participation.
That means background noise and distractions should be filtered out and the person should be able to concentrate fully on the discussion at hand.
Control The Meeting
Use Cosapien to pre-minute the meeting so everyone knows what agenda items should be discussed. Direct questions using names so there’s no confusion about who is being addressed.
If you find certain people are not engaging in an expected manner, bridge the conversation by redirecting it to the person who is responsible for the agenda item.
Nurture Two-Way Communication
Whether you are doing a voice or video meeting, the meeting should be structured so that the communication is not entirely one-sided. This is where video interaction can provide value, because without being able to see expressions and read body language, communication may be less effective.
Chats and hang-outs can be equally useful, as you can request input from a lot of people and have them all provide it simultaneously.
Cosapien is built around social contracts and feedback mechanisms so it is not all left up to the meeting chair or the person who is speaking. The system has been engineered so that the outcomes of a meeting are co-created by everyone who participates in it.
Don’t Feel Awkward About Silences
It is likely that you will experience those moments of silence and the flow of the meeting may seem interrupted. This doesn’t mean you need to fill the silence or introduce something new for the moment to pass. It is more likely to mean that the rest of the participants are still absorbing it and need a few moments to process it.
Let Virtual Meetings Bridge The Gaps
There will come a time when you have no option other than a virtual meeting. Maybe you acquire a new client in a different part of the world. Perhaps your star sales person is in another city. Whatever the reason, you can use virtual meetings to bridge geographical and cultural gaps.
Make it fun; create value for the participants by monopolising on the positives of the channel you are communicating on.
Running virtual meetings is an essential skill for busy people. Our five tips for virtual meetings include:
- Attendees should be in an appropriate environment that is relatively noise-free
- Control the meeting so everyone knows what they need to speak about, and when a response is expected.
- Ensure two –way communication so that it is clear all instructions and outcomes are understood. Use Cosapien to take accurate meeting minutes and follow-up tasks.
- Embrace the silent periods. Sometimes people need a minute or two to digest what has been said.
- Make it fun and enjoyable for everyone.
Cosapien is a meeting minuting and task management tool that can help you to hold effective virtual meetings. Keep everyone on the same page; get your invite to Cosapien below.