October 28, 2020
With the global shift to a work-from-Zoom environment, it’s important to make the most out of our virtual communications to ensure they’re valuable and effective interactions. Below are some easy, helpful tips to make your next virtual meeting go smoother than ever.
BEFORE THE VIRTUAL MEETING
Prepare by sending through a meeting agenda.
It’s easy to get off track or host a meeting where the main objective isn’t discussed. To combat this, ensure the meeting agenda is circulated ahead of time – preferably 24 hours ahead, so that your attendees can do their homework and come prepared with their point of view. A helpful tip to keep the meeting on track is to always include the main topic in your invite, what you hope to accomplish with the meeting, and any pre-requisites like attachments to read.
Be mindful of different virtual tools.
Every company uses their own unique mix of virtual tools (yes Zoom, but also Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Business Connect, etc.) for internal and external communications. When hosting meetings with external people be mindful that they may be used to using a different platform than yourself. Ensure there is both a dial-in number as well as a video/screenshare link that is accessible to someone without an account.
DURING THE VIRTUAL MEETING
Start with introductions.
When there are new faces on a call, begin the meeting by having each team member introduce themselves, their role, and their involvement in the project. If you’re the host of the meeting, kick off the introductions to set the expectations of what’s to be shared by others. To avoid awkward pauses of who’s next, be sure to call out each new member in turn.
Turn on your video.
Although everyone is physically separated, turning on your video in a virtual meeting will make everyone feel as though they’re in the same room. Having them be able to see your reactions and emotions improves engagement in your meeting.
Don’t press mute.
To avoid multitasking, keep your audio on and avoid the mute button to maintain your presence in the meeting. This will help with being present to foster a lively discussion, shared reactions, and creativity. You wouldn’t get up and walk around the room, respond to emails, or totally check out in an in-person meeting, so treat the virtual meeting in the same manner and keep your audio on to hold yourself accountable. However, if something in your environment has the potential to be heard over your audio, such as family members or pets, then staying on mute while you’re not speaking may be best to avoid being a distraction to others – just don’t forget to unmute before making your big speech.
Sum it up.
At the end, make sure you leave enough time to summarize the outcomes of the meeting, including key items for future delivery and who is responsible for what and by when.
AFTER THE VIRTUAL MEETING
Send a follow-up.
A quick jot-down of meeting notes or a summary slide of a presentation can go a long way in ingraining your meeting’s contents every participant’s mind. Adding on some clear and concise next steps is a simple way to keep the momentum going.