Thanks to the pandemic, we’re living in a virtual world where meeting in person has become less common and holding meetings via the computer screen is the daily norm.
Although it may seem like attending a virtual meeting would be the same as being at one in person, there a few things you need to consider before jumping online with your co-workers or friends.
Here are 8 ways to run a successful virtual meeting:
- Schedule the meeting and get a link. Whether you use Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another platform/app to host your meeting, you still have to do the proper prep work. First you need to set up your meeting on your hosting site by determining the day and time you’d like to have it. Once you have that scheduled, you’ll be provided a link that you can send to all attendees so they can easily access the meeting.
- Notify attendees in advance. With more companies allowing their employees to work remotely from home, your co-workers will be bombarded with meeting invites, many of which will overlap one another. In order to get the best attendance, notify attendees as far in advance as possible so they can block out the time on their schedule. While not everyone will be able to make it, sharing the meeting details ahead of time will improve your chances for a good showing.
- Prepare your materials beforehand. Although you may not be able to physically share the agenda or other handouts with your colleagues, it doesn’t mean you can’t have them as part of your presentation. The key is to prepare your materials, such as your PowerPoint or any announcements, early enough so that you can email the slide deck, handouts, or the order of business to attendees beforehand. If you don’t want to provide the materials early, you can always share directly from your computer during the meeting or send a link to a Google document so everyone can have access and follow along with during the call.
- Determine your meeting agenda. Just as you would for an in-person meeting, you’ll need to determine what the agenda will be for your virtual one. How long will you wait for people to join the call before starting your presentation? Will you take questions live or at the end? How and when will you handle anything that pops up in the chat box that needs to be addressed? By knowing how you’ll handle these issues, you can have a meeting that runs more smoothly and efficiently.
- Prepare your space. Regardless of where you might be holding your meeting, you’ll want to make sure that your environment is suitable for a meeting. Clear off any cluttered spaces that might be in view of your camera, sit in a position that will give you the best lighting (either sit facing a sunlit window or use a light ring) and make sure to do your best to remove any background noise that might be a distraction while you are on the call (or mute yourself when you aren’t speaking).
- Choose the right outfit. Although you may be working from home, it doesn’t mean you can show up in your workout clothes or pajamas. Keep your professionalism in tact by wearing clothes that reflect your position at work. You may not need a suit and tie, but a nice collared or button-down shirt or blouse is not only comfortable but maintains a professional standard with your co-workers.
- Have water on hand. If you are the presenter for your virtual meeting you’ll likely get parched from talking so much. Rather than getting up and leaving to get water, have a glass of water on hand so you can take a sip as needed without having to interrupt the flow of the meeting. If possible, use a straw so others at the meeting don’t have to listen to gulping sounds!
- Be yourself. Connecting with your co-workers and friends through a computer screen may seem strange and a hinderance to your relationships, but don’t let that keep you from being yourself. Conduct yourself as your would if you were in person and enjoy the time with others, even if distance keeps you apart.
Regardless of what the future holds, virtual meetings are here to stay. Rather than dread another online call, use these eight tips to make your meeting not only pleasurable, but the ultimate success.
And don’t forget to download our Virtual Meeting Checklist so your online experience is the best it can be!
What are your best practices for meeting virtually? Leave a comment and let us know!