As the coronavirus pandemic requires more employees to work from home, businesses are quickly adapting to a new virtual business model. With the rapid adoption of digital meetings and different workstream collaboration solutions, business executives are constantly looking for ways to accommodate a more remote workforce by utilizing collaboration technologies to assure productivity and minimize business interruptions. While working remotely, employees are expected to have the necessary technical skills to maintain high-quality interactions with colleagues, clients, and partners.
Although technology has made transitioning from an in-person meeting structure to an online one easier, not all organizations are experiencing the seamless transition. When the loudest team member monopolizes the discussion, it is difficult to ensure an even contribution of ideas, that each attendee is paying full attention and time is productively spent.
Virtual meetings, in place of face-to-face ones, nevertheless, have since been used long before the pandemic. In fact, by eliminating the need to postpone or delay meetings, virtual meeting software enables productive lifestyles that increase flexibility and work options (thus, promoting engagement and productivity within the workplace).
Online meetings are used in place of face-to-face meetings by organizations because they are quick to set up, affordable, and bring the most relevant individuals into the meeting, regardless of where they are located. On the other hand, it may be difficult to execute properly and require different strategies, as opposed to traditional meetings.
Here are five tips you need to know about running effective remote meetings with teams spread across the map:
1 Have a well-defined agenda
A meeting with an ambiguous aim can result in confusion and waste of time. A defined agenda should be designed before any meeting. In order to prepare a proper agenda, write down all the topics for discussion and sort them according to the company’s needs for an efficient and organized discussion flow. Assign roles to each participant, and send it at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, ensuring that all have received it.
*TIP: Use Google Calendar to create a meeting reminder/invite to all participants.
2 Appoint an Agenda leader
A meeting without a moderator may deviate from the agenda. Appointing a moderator gives that individual the ability to direct the proceedings. The moderator is in charge of keeping everyone focused and calling on members when it is their turn to share. Problems with internet access, audio, or video quality may lead to confusion, so a moderator is vital in online meetings.
3 Set a time frame
Meeting time frames can greatly increase productivity and allow attendees to extract more value in less time. One way to manage time in a meeting is: in a 30-minute meeting, allot 10 minutes to each agenda item for discussion. As a result, the attendees will remain focused and the meeting will not deviate from its original agenda.
4 Allow for movement
A brief period for participants to stand up and move around a little allows everyone some time to recharge and digest the information that was just discussed. In turn, this will keep participants more energized and focused, increase engagement, and produce better results
5 Conclude with a specific action plan
Many meetings end with participants making empty pledges and guarantees. It is the moderator's job to extract actionable for the agenda’s concluding points and to obtain an acknowledgment from all participants. It has been proven that meetings with actionable are more productive with the following objectives:
Have it assigned to someone or a group
Set a deadline
Monitor by moderator and/or participants
Conclusion: Coping with remote work
During this pandemic, not being able to work with colleagues in the same room may be a big issue. Nevertheless, these tips and altering the way the team conducts virtual meetings can help make meetings more productive and successful.