Compared to in-person meetings, remote meetings bring fresh opportunities, but also unique challenges. Some of the challenges are shared with real meetings, like running over time or a lack of talk about resolving the issues at hand. Other challenges, such as feeling less connected with other attendees and “Zoom fatigue,” are specific to remote meetings. In this blog, we give you a helpful list of practical tips for creating, running and following up on your remote meetings.
Running a Successful Remote Meeting as the Organizer
Keep it structured.
Create an agenda well before the meeting and circulate it to the attendees. The agenda serves as the guiding basis for a productive meeting and can avoid issues such as diverging from the topic at hand. You can schedule time for each section of the agenda, and allow time for a discussion or Q&A session at the end. At the beginning of the meeting, you can summarize what will be discussed, why, and the outcomes that will benefit everyone from holding this meeting. This will help to establish a sense of purpose and focus from the start.
Set a lead or moderator for the meeting
You can choose a team member to steer the meeting. It will be their responsibility to present the agenda, stick to the schedule, and lead the conversation. Without a moderator, a meeting can become chaotic and directionless.
Plan ice breakers.
Ice breakers are activities that help people to get to know each other and feel more comfortable. In particular, if your attendees do not know each other well, an ice break can help to establish a sense of trust, connectedness, and foster greater ease of sharing and communicating.
This does not need to be a big game! It can just be getting everyone to make some introductions and to share something interesting or fun about themselves. In some cases, holding a quick ice breaker can be a useful way to empower a successful meeting and a wider sense of purpose and connection in project teams.
Provide access links and invitations in advance.
Create access links for the meeting and ensure that they will enable everyone to enter the meeting, including invited people from outside of your organization.
For more complex meetings that involve multiple speakers and topics, it can be a good idea to define roles in the meeting. For example, who will be taking notes, who’ll follow-up with attendees, who are the presenters and when will they start speaking? By finalizing these details before the meeting, you can make it a smoother and more effective process.
Make sure your platform works properly before the call.
Before the call, it can be a very good idea to test that the meeting link and functionality work as intended before everyone else joins. This way, you can find and resolve any issues before they can cause disruption to the meeting.
Stick to a time limit.
A golden rule! There is no guarantee that everyone can stay beyond the assigned time, and these people may be crucial parts of the meeting, so ensuring that a meeting stays within its allocated timeframe is a key principle for keeping it effective. A degree of time pressure also helps to keep the meeting agenda in focus.
Invite the right people
A frequent occurrence that can lower engagement in meetings for some attendees, is inviting too many people to the meeting who are not really required to attend and contribute. This is a factor to apply discretion to. You can ask questions like does this person need to be here? Would they benefit from just catching up with a recording afterwards, or perhaps just see the agreed actions and notes? By inviting the right people, meetings can be energizing, engaging and useful, while also empowering your wider team to be productive.
After the meeting, share notes and to-dos
Ensuring that notes capture the discussion in an accurate but concise way, as well as the actions that arise from the meeting, will ensure it is effective and helpful afterwards.
Organise a central database of knowledge
A central database of knowledge is a shared space for sharing mission-critical information with your teams so that they can complete their work and projects. Meeting records, notes and other useful information can be placed here, enabling people who attended or did not attend meetings to benefit from them.
Contributing to a Successful Meeting as an Attendee
Now that we have covered our tips for meeting organisers, here are some for attendees. As an organizer, you can also bear these tips in mind and encourage attendees to follow them to create a more successful meeting.
Don’t multi-task in the meeting
Multi-tasking is not as productive as it sounds and can be counterproductive, the same is true in a meeting! Not only is focusing on the meeting alone more effective, it also shows courtesy and increases engagement in the meeting.
If you are not speaking, put the microphone on mute
Background sounds like pets, babies, or loud neighborhood cars are sounds that others will likely not want to hear! These sounds could spark conversations that divert away from the agenda while also making it harder for other attendees to hear each other.
Turn your camera on
Developing a rapport and fostering good teamwork requires face-to-face communication. The camera is integral to making this possible. Make sure it’s switched on!
Make sure you have the right equipment
The right webcam and microphone can be great tools for connecting with others in the meeting and showing yourself in a good light. Often the default microphone and cameras that come with laptops are not of a very good quality. Consider investing in equipment for remote meetings if you do them often. Using high-quality equipment contributes to a more effective and engaging experience.
Prepare your workspace before the call
A quiet, clear and distraction-free environment around you will help you to focus more on the conversation at hand.
Speak clearly and deliberately, try to avoid being too slow or too fast, and bear in mind that because body language is not as readable in remote meetings, that using your words to convey your thoughts and feelings will also be important for getting your ideas across.
To convey your points, share your screen
Sometimes it can be much easier to create clarity and a shared understanding by sharing your screen. This can save time while helping to convey your message to everyone in the meeting.
And that’s it! We hope that these tips are helpful in your efforts to create focused, engaging and productive meetings in your business. The key thing to remember is to tailor your meeting tools and practices to your business, its activities, and your team. By applying these tips in a way that works for your business, you can empower remote meeting success, contributing to the efficient and effective running of your business that better helps the customers that it serves.
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