We have heard more about virtual workplaces in many businesses, and we have seen many employees work together from different parts of the country. But today, we can see many organizations have moved to remote working than ever before. The Covid19 pandemic forced companies that never planned for the remote workplace to move with remote collaboration. Every organization wants to keep its employees safe. Thanks to remote work software tools, the teammates can work together without a physical presence in the workplace.
As the remote team has increased and communication with the remote workers has also changed as video conferencing. According to experts statistics, there are 11 billion meetings for a day on the US business market, and the average duration of the remote session is around 31 - 62 minutes long. Organizations that are using video conferencing are benefited from 94% greater productivity. In this article, let's look into the ultimate guide on more effective and successful remote meetings.
Before starting with the remote meeting, you need to pick the reliable video conferencing or meeting tool for your organization. There are many incredible virtual meeting tools & video conferencing apps available on the market. FaceTime, Skype, Hangouts Meet, Zoom, Join.me, AdobeConnect are the most popular real-time applications. Many cloud-based meeting apps are also available today, such as Cisco WebEx Meetings, AdobeConnect, eZTalks Cloud Meeting, Onstream Meetings, Videxio, and much more.
Clarke.ai, Slack, Yammer are some of the collaboration tools that include communication, note-taking, etc. While choosing online meeting tools, you must remember three essential things: connection, collaboration, and feedback. These three necessary things will make them more productive and engaging among the participants.
Once you have identified the meetings tool, spend some time, and do some walkthrough on how the application works. Analyze and get to know how to invite the participants for the virtual meeting.
Knowing your hardware and software allows you to use the application more efficiently and effectively, Which also helps you resolve the technical issues faster. As a meeting leader, make a habit to 5 min earlier before the meeting and do a quick tech check like camera, microphone, video recording, WiFi is working correctly.
As a meeting leader, before scheduling the meeting, identify the ideal time frame for e-meeting. Identify the typical time that all the participants from different time zones can participate. We suggest you make a rotational meeting time so that every remote employee will have the least and the most covenant time for the meeting. For example, if your organization has branches in Sydney, Newyork, and London. Make an ideal timing for the participants from different time zones using everytimezone.com or worldtimebuddy.com or timeanddate.com. The below table shows the sample perfect time frame for three major time zones (Newyork, London, and Sydney).
Make some efforts before conducting a remote meeting. The meetings without a clear agenda will be a complete time-waster in the workplace. To avoid this, prepare the meeting plan a couple of days in advance. Collect the questions from the participants and prepare a relevant meeting agenda.
The perfect meeting agenda should have the following.
Avoid creating long agendas, making it short with less than five topics because no one wants to spend long hours on meetings. Share the prepared agenda with all the participants of the meetings so that everybody can get ready. The remote meeting attendees will have ample time to go through the meeting objective if the agenda is sent in advance and raise the flag if the goal doesn't meet their desires.
A large group of people is difficult in the virtual meeting due to application compatibility and individual availability. Have a smaller group of people (Ideally ten people) and make the online meeting successful.
Automate the meeting reminders with the calendar invite, and you can also automate notifications in communication applications like slack channel and chat apps regarding the upcoming meetings.
If you are hosting the meeting, and there is any delay in starting the discussion, inform the meeting time change before with the team members or pass responsibility to trusted individuals. Always stick with the start and end time of the meeting. Inform the delays in the prior notice.
Once the participants join the remote meeting, insist on turning on their cameras, eye contact during the meetings will have a stronger connection and collaboration. It facilitates better discussion during meetings, as they can see each other on the screen. It's totally fine on the off chance that somebody likes to go without their video turned. Video is not always compulsory for remote meetings. But if you want to utilize video, allow individuals to plan and then use it.
To minimize the background noise on the online meeting, guide the meeting persons to mute their microphones while not speaking. As a manager/ meeting host, make the participants feel free to unmute and involve the meeting discussions.
It is inexorable; a person can miss the online meeting. The extraordinary thing about remote meetings is you can record the session without fear. We suggest you upload the meeting videos to the platform that allows the individuals to view them at different speeds. They fast forward the video and watch the necessary information instead of watching the whole video. It will save the individuals time while reviewing the meeting to make up for things they missed.
E-meeting tools will not show all the individual video cameras throughout the meetings. Some of the software shows only icons or the profile image of the person attending the meeting. Many individuals may participate from different teams if they introduce themselves to help everyone in the discussion know about the participant and their work contribution to the organization. It is a good practice to give an introduction to everyone in the online meeting.
During the virtual meetings, If you are a speaker, it is good practice to share the screen and present the slides that you need to discuss with your remote workers. It will help the participants to grab and understand the discussion quickly. Yet, don't share your screen except if you genuinely need to. Let your online attendee see you and one another during the video meetings.
If you are presenting your prepared slides in the meeting or doing a one-way communication will bore the meeting participants. Motivate the human interaction, which will increase the personal touch on meetings.
Make time for some casual conversation before jumping into the business talk. Spend a few minutes of friendly conversation and small talk with ice breaker questions about how things are going at the office. Meeting attendees can catch up within the casual conversation, and later you proceed with your brainstorming session. It not only boosts engagement but also strengthens the work culture and improves your relationship with your team.
Follow the online meeting etiquette. Here are the do's you have to follow during your virtual calls.
Now the basic rule for online meetings has been established and ensures the meeting participants stay focused throughout the conference.
Save a few minutes for wrap up on the remote meetings. Every participant in the discussions has to get a clearer idea of what they have to do next. People should possess a clear idea of what deliverables are required, who is responsible for each, and the deadline. If the participants have any doubts, take some chance to clarify what they have to do next. Everyone should be 100% clear of the meeting and inform the participants when the future meeting is. After every online meeting, make an actionable list or meeting minutes and share it with all the meeting attendees and individuals who cannot participate in the virtual meet.
One of the great ways to understand virtual meetings is by collecting feedback from remote workers. You can procure a better understanding of what you can improve on your next remote meeting experience. You can gather feedback from attendees by utilizing some free tools like SurveyHero, Google Forms, SurveyGizmo, Slido, and much more.
Measure your meeting effectiveness with the following post-meeting survey questions
After remote team meetings, collect the reason and information from the remote colleagues who have missed the team meetings. Some individuals may drop in the middle of the virtual conference due to poor internet connection, technical issues, and much more. Try to figure out the difficulty they face. You have earlier knowledge that specific individuals cannot attend the meeting. Please encourage them to share their questions well in advance to incorporate them into the discussion. You can also collect the views and present the information on behalf of them. It will create the feel that their ideas are valued while they watch the recordings later.
After completing the online meeting, send a follow-up email and a thank you note to attendees. You have to include the relevant documents like a list of action items, a summary of the session, a tangible record of the meeting, a Link to the meet recordings, etc.
Since anticipating that people should watch a full video recording of the meeting is somewhat unrealistic. Send the audio version of the recordings as a podcast. Many video chat or meeting software provides the podcasting option. Even on Zoom.us, you can record the call as podcasting. It is more convenient too; individuals can hear it on the go.
Ready to run your next virtual meeting like a pro. Running a virtual meeting will be overwhelming. But with the above tips and guidelines, you can make your remote meeting more productive and engaging. Make sure in all your meetings that you have sent the meeting link, Meeting the objective, and don’t forget to give a meeting reminder on communication channels like Google Hangouts, Slack, Discord, or chat apps. You can also appoint a meeting facilitator in case if you are performing a hybrid meeting. Never forget to record all your remote meetings. Happy Meeting!