Meetings can be a real time sink, especially if they are not managed in an efficient way. Procrastination and thumb-twiddling can be increased even further in a virtual environment, where keeping all involved parties engaged is another challenge to tackle.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you host productive virtual meetings that will have demonstrably beneficial outcomes, rather than achieving nothing.
Use the Right Tools
There are tons of different platforms that allow for meetings to be hosted virtually, but not all software solutions are created equal and so picking the best one is key.
This list of the best conference call services from SnackNation is a good starting point, letting you compare and contrast the top paid-for services including Zoom and UberConference Call, as well as free alternatives like FreedomVoice.
Once you have your communication situation sorted, you should also look at the other remote working tools that can further optimize the virtual meeting experience. Productivity will be enhanced if participants can not only speak with and see one another, but also share data and collaborate seamlessly.
Set an Agenda
If a meeting has only the vaguest of topics or aims set out ahead of time, it will be all too easy for progress to meander and for proceedings to stretch out much longer than originally intended.
To combat this, having an agenda is your best weapon. You need to plot out the major points that need to be discussed, the amount of time that you should allot to cover them, the anticipated attendees who will be involved and what these individuals will need to bring to the table.
Part of your agenda-setting should also include setting down what data may be relevant to have available to direct discussions over the course of the meeting, so that you do not have to scramble to find it in the middle of the main event.
Virtual meetings can feel less formal than face to face gatherings in person, which can in turn lead to some bad habits that might cause disruption if they go unchecked.
First and foremost, the use of other devices during the meeting must be prohibited. It is easy to get distracted by a smartphone if you are not currently talking, so ask politely for all attendees to put their mobiles to one side and also be courteous when others have the floor. The same goes for avoiding the temptation to use any other apps or services on your laptop; that email can wait for after the meeting is over.
It is also sensible to recommend that attendees move to an area where they will not be disturbed by anything, or create a distraction in general. If they have no choice but to share a space with others, ask that they mute their mics when they are not talking, so that outside noises do not interfere with the flow.
Meetings can be costly, so it pays to boost productivity and make the most of your virtual time together with colleagues.
virtual meeting with colleagues -DepositPhotos