Online meetings currently are a normal part of an employee’s day-to-day, but making sure that these online meetings are as efficient as possible can be confusing: what is the best tool to use? How do you keep people engaged during the meeting?
Here we list some tips on running effective remote meetings with distributed teams.
1) Pick the right tools
There’s a plethora of meeting tools that are at your fingertips. The right tools will ultimately depend on your needs. If you need everyone to watch a presentation or demo in real time, then screen-sharing is a must.
For feedback check-ins, we recommend a video call. Research shows more than half of human communication is nonverbal. Prioritizing face-to-face meetings allow for the audience to observe tone and body language, eliminating misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker
Keep in mind that some tools require licenses, while others are open source but will require users to make an account. Based on your audience, determine the best tool for their needs.
2) Set a meeting agenda
If you want a meeting to be efficient and successful, you need to plan your agenda. The meeting agenda should include key talking points, meeting structure, team members in attendance, any relevant documents or files, and a time slot where people can discuss and ask questions.
3) Establish proper etiquette for online meetings
From technology hiccups and distracting noises through to communication breakdown, remote work and online meetings can be riddled with hurdles to success. Be prepared for latency. It might take a second for the software to detect your voice – avoid interrupting the speaker or presentation until they have completed their thoughts. If you are the speaker, it would be worth asking if people have questions at tactical parts during your presentation.
Moreover, whether you are the speaker or an attendee, don’t work on other tasks (like checking email) during the virtual meeting. Turn off all notifications and make sure your cell phone is on silent. Bottom line, just practice common courtesy.
4) Keep team members engaged
Make time for casual conversation. A few minutes of friendly interaction can help build the necessary rapport and trust in a virtual setting. Asking people if they have plans for the weekend or asking their thoughts on a recent event are easy ways to engage people on the other side of the screen. During the meeting, have a set time for discussion and questions to encourage audience participation.
5) Be prepared
First and foremost, make sure to have stable internet connection. Second, close applications that are consuming notable amounts of CPU, bandwidth, or memory. Finally, it is always worth having back-up conference links and testing out the communication channel (including camera/video, Wi-Fi, and screen sharing) before the meeting. And of course, make sure the content is well prepared! This is key to engaging your remote audience. Make sure to keep the content short, sweet and direct.
What are your thoughts? Let us know!
For more details, check out our guidebook on remote workforce management.