For many of us 2020 has changed how we do things, how we work, live and socialise. Working from home is more common – even Seek.com has a “working from home” location search function now.
It’s likely that some of these changes are here to stay. Having your team all in one room to discuss the latest organisation challenges may not happen that often anymore. Now the meeting landscape is led by MS Teams or Zoom which brings challenges. How do we keep the meeting relevant, on time, with engaging content and fit for purpose?
Here are 5 strategies you can use to successfully lead your virtual meetings
Design your meeting around interactivity.
It’s not enough to just copy what you did face-to-face in an online environment. You run the risk of participants switching off or being distracted through boredom. Include ways for people to interact with your key points. You might want to use a voting button through the chat function to help make key decisions, or encourage people to ask questions through the meeting, not just at the end. If your software allows it, then make use of the virtual breakout rooms or virtual whiteboard functions.
Minimise presentations slides.
Virtual meetings work well because people can see each other via their camera. Reduce presentation slides to a bare minimum. Reducing the slides also means reducing the time spent on each slide. To keep your team engaged create variety on-screen using various media (videos, links, guest speakers ect…) to interest all parties. If there is detailed content you want them to have for the meeting, send this to them beforehand, so they can refer to it if needed.
Limit the meeting time.
There is a tendency to increase the time of a meeting due to having it virtually. Yet the opposite is true for successful meetings. Keep them short and to the point, but more frequent, turn your 1-hour weekly meeting to 2 or 3 short meetings throughout the week.
Share the presenting responsibility
Before the meeting consider inviting others to lead a portion of the meeting. This take pressure off you and increases engagement for those who will present. If your meeting calls for open discussion and collaboration ensure you call upon people by name to give their opinions.
For small meetings, don’t use the mute button.
If your group is small enough and background noise isn’t an issue don’t mute everyone. Encourage people to speak spontaneously. A small group can quickly learn to recognise each other’s voices if they regularly work together virtually. People will sometimes talk over each other but will soon get used to it and manage it well
Virtual meetings are indispensable for moving work along between colleagues who live and work remotely. Leading virtual meetings using these strategies will increase engagement, help the meeting be fit for purpose and people wil be happier to participate in them. Remember the more you hold virtual meetings the easier they become.
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