How to run and manage successful virtual video meetings
When it comes to remote working, the last few months have demonstrated to businesses worldwide that remote working is no longer a nice perk but is now a must have business continuity tool that can actually enhance productivity when managed correctly. On the whole, the required technology has stood up to the task and employees have successfully adapted to the new way of working. But what has become clear is that when it comes to virtual meetings, people have struggled to come to terms with what it takes to run and manage engaging and productive virtual video meeting effectively. As business collaboration platform specialists, we’re no strangers to working from home and virtual meetings, which is why we’ve put together some tips to help guide you towards virtual meeting greatness.
1. The Right Technology
As we discussed in our previous post, choosing the right technology is essential when it comes to running and managing virtual meetings. In short, we introduced why cloud business communications are so important, why video should now be the de facto communication channel, why audio dial-ins are must haves and how using Team Collaboration tools such as screen sharing ensure that participants are kept on the same page. But the most important aspect of your chosen solution is user-friendliness. If is not easy to use, people will struggle and therefore meeting productivity will suffer.
2. Allow Time for Prior Planning
As the old saying goes, poor planning makes for poor performance. We all take the time to prepare for face-to-face meetings, so why do fewer of us put the effort into our virtual meetings? Our tip is to consider the following and build them into your virtual meeting planning process:
• Audience • Content • Structure
By using the above tips, you will go a long way to ensuring that your virtual meetings engage. By considering who your audience is, you are able to determine whether the content is relevant or not. If the content is irrelevant, remove it as it is a distraction. If aspects of the content are only relevant for a smaller number of the participants, consider hosting a separate meeting just for them.
Presentations and meetings that flow are the most engaging and a coherent structure to the meeting has many benefits. Well-structured meetings are easier to follow and therefore help bolster understanding. As with face-to-face business meetings, virtual meetings should always have a moderator. The moderator must ensure that people keep to the structure and stay on track whilst having the opportunity to share their input in the meeting, so the better prepared the moderator is, the more engaging and productive the meeting will be.
3. Keep the audience size to a minimum
Regarding the audience, knowing your audience is essential. We recommend keeping participant numbers as small as possible in order to ensure that the content is relevant to only those participating. Furthermore, smaller groups are simpler to manage, are more personal and mean that every personality type has the opportunity to actively share their input into the meeting.
There’s nothing worse than joining a meeting, virtual or face-to-face, and being a spectator as more dominant personalities take over and people discuss topics that are not relevant to you and your role or objectives. This is particularly true for internal meetings such as brainstorming sessions where too many opinions and ideas will detract from the quality of the session.
Another critical aspect to consider when hosting an online virtual business meeting is that the participants will be viewing everything on a relatively small screen. Not every participant will have access to larger screens or multiple monitors and therefore, be keeping the audience size to a minimum it is also possible to reduce screen clutter and keep the attendees focused.
4. Test & Practice Beforehand
Finally, test and practice - we cannot emphasis this enough. Only by testing and practicing will you uncover any potential issues with the content, the structure and your skills with the technology and as a moderator.
In our previous post, we highlighted how practicing beforehand helps identify potential issues with the technology. The same is true of the actual content and structure of the meeting. By testing and practicing before the event, you will undoubtably uncover areas that can be improved. Content that is not relevant can be removed and areas where the structure does not flow can be improved.
Practicing beforehand will also help you become more familiar with the content and ensure that you can identify any potential timing issues and avoid over running. Further to this, as a meeting host, trial runs will help ensure that you come across as confident, well prepared and professional. Obviously, coming across this way is always important but it is essential for any virtual business meeting involving customers, suppliers and/or business partners.
5. Appropriate Attire, Decoration and Etiquette
Working from home is full of images of people lounging on their sofa, laptop in hand while still wearing pyjamas. You wouldn’t turn up to a face-to-face office meeting wearing your pyjamas, so why do it in Home Office, particularly now that video is the go-to communication channel? Beyond this, dressing appropriately has a number of other benefits such as creating the right mindset to work and portraying professionalism.
Furthermore, considering that virtual meetings have transformed from the traditional audio conference to video and web conferencing, finding an appropriate space in which to work is highly recommended. Sitting at the kitchen table is no-one’s cup of tea and bad lighting, whether too dark or bright, and inappropriate décor is just as big a detraction from meeting effectiveness. If you have the ability to create an office space, do so. It will help your business performance in more ways than you can think of from productivity to striking the right work-life balance.
Finally, remember everyone can see you so maintaining the right etiquette is paramount and key to creating a positive impression. If you appear tired, distracted or uninterested, then you meeting is doomed to be added to the list of pointless waste of time meetings that everyone has. This means, run the meeting like you would in the office, be punctual, dress appropriately, keep to your plan, interact with the attendess and stay on time and on course.
We’re here to help
Of course, there is much more to hosting great virtual meetings and remaining productive while working from home. We’ve been talking about such topics, tips and tricks for many years, so make use of our other blog articles including which additional UC tools to use, how to work with and manage remote teams, the ergonomics of the ideal Home Office plus what you need for the perfect setup (check out this post from 2018).
If you would like to know more about how pascom can help your business throughout this difficult time and beyond, then give us a call (+49 991 291691 201) and get a head start with our free cloud phone system edition.