Virtual meetings are now crucial to how we do business. Get even more out of your time with these virtual meeting best practices.
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way we work. Now, more companies rely on virtual meetings than ever. Even though many of us have since returned to the office, virtual meetings are here to stay.
Basic virtual meeting etiquette is now common knowledge (Limit background noise. Mute your mic when you’re not speaking.) But how do you conduct effective virtual meetings?
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of virtual meeting best practices. That way, you’ll save time, improve productivity, and make the most of your remote team meetings.
Virtual meeting best practices
- Choose the best virtual meeting platform
- Plan the virtual meeting agenda
- Assign roles
- Plan for different time zones
- Test your technology
- Have the right background
- Pay attention to body language
- Keep the virtual meeting short
- Engage participants
- Plan for hybrid meetings
- Follow-up with attendees
- Ask for feedback
1. Choose the best virtual meeting platform
Before the start of your virtual meeting, decide on a video conferencing tool. You might be familiar with popular remote meeting platforms and already know how to schedule a Zoom meeting. Messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams also allow you to hold online meetings.
Some online appointment scheduling apps can support conference calls. With Brevo Meetings, book appointments with virtual team members or clients. Meetings lets you host in-browser video calls. That way, you don’t have to download an extra app.
Want to give it a try? Sign up for Brevo’s free plan and get access to all Meetings features without any added cost!
2. Plan the virtual meeting agenda
When it comes to virtual meetings, every minute counts. That’s why you should plan the agenda ahead of time. Establish the goal of the meeting, basic ground rules, as well as specific action items.
Try to send the agenda to meeting attendees at least a day in advance or even better, in the meeting reminder email. That way, everyone has a chance to prepare. No need to waste time during the call to get everyone up to speed. Once the meeting begins, you can hit the ground running!
For webinars, you should plan a run-down of each topic you want to cover. If you have multiple presenters, let them know how much time they’ll have to speak. This will help you keep the event from going over time.
3. Assign roles
It’s also a good idea to assign roles ahead of the meeting. First, decide who will be the facilitator. Their goal will be to keep the meeting on track and engage participants.
You might also want to ask a member of your team to take notes. That way, you don’t lose sight of any important information discussed during the meeting.
4. Plan for different time zones
For many remote teams, members are spread across different countries and time zones. Try to schedule the virtual meeting during a time slot that suits everyone.
You might need to host meetings during different time slots. That way, you’ll include as many people as possible.
5. Test your technology
Always make sure to test your technology before the meeting. Connect to your virtual meeting platform in advance. Check that you have the right audio and video settings. And be sure that you have a stable internet connection.
Don’t forget to see if the necessary features work (screen sharing, meeting recording). Testing will help you avoid technical issues on the day of your meeting!
6. Have the right background
During your virtual meeting, you’ll want to minimize any visual distractions. The easiest way to do so is with the right background.
Many meeting tools allow you to upload a virtual background in advance. This way, you’ll have a professional background no matter where you are!
7. Pay attention to body language
Body language is important for both virtual and in-person meetings. In fact, body language is a huge part of nonverbal communication along with tone of voice. This is still true in the virtual space. And once you turn your camera on, your face will be the first thing the other attendees see.
So be mindful of your facial expressions and gestures. Try to keep eye contact just below your camera. Or, nod and smile to show you’re listening. This will help recreate the physical cues you receive during face-to-face meetings.
8. Keep the meeting short
A good rule of thumb is to keep the meeting short and sweet. Time is your most valuable resource, so be sure not to waste it! This is especially important with the rise of “Zoom fatigue” in recent years. In fact, over half of workers think that virtual meetings run too long.
As we mentioned earlier, having an agenda and goals will help you run productive meetings. You can also limit the number of attendees or prioritize specific topics. This will help keep your virtual meetings efficient and to the point.
9. Engage participants
Most people multitask during virtual meetings. Technology makes it difficult to keep them engaged. To combat this, some teams encourage participants to turn on their video and audio.
Icebreakers are another tried-and-true way to get the conversation flowing. You can also use online tools to encourage teamwork and collect real-time feedback.
For example, Google Docs is a great way to collaborate and share notes. Digital whiteboards like Miro can also help with brainstorming and planning.
10. Plan for hybrid meetings
Many companies are considering a hybrid work model. But what’s the best way to run hybrid meetings?
First, think about your team members. Whether they’re remote or in the office, everyone should feel comfortable contributing.
Keep an agenda and use tools to encourage engagement. Have clear guidelines that allow remote participants to add to the discussion. Try to make them feel as if they were in the same room.
For instance, monitor your meeting tool for virtual “raised hands” or questions in the chat. Be sure your technology (microphones, video conferencing screens) can support a hybrid meeting.
11. Follow up with attendees
After the virtual meeting, you should always check in with your attendees. Share notes and summarize any important details that you discussed during the meeting.
You might also want to send the link to slides or meeting recordings. As always, make sure these materials are accessible to all attendees.
12. Ask for feedback
You want to make sure that your virtual meeting is useful for everyone involved. The best way to do so is to ask your attendees for feedback.
See where you can improve, from the platforms you use to the meeting format. This is also a great way to engage your team and show that you’re open to hearing their thoughts.
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