How to Improve Virtual Meetings in 5 Easy Steps

 

Virtual meetings aren’t new. Many companies with partial or entirely distributed workforces have been using them for years. As more companies turn to remote work, these meetings have become essential to keep businesses moving forward. But like with many productivity tools, there are areas where we can improve virtual meetings to make work more efficient and inclusive.

It’s important to have a smooth virtual meeting with the right collaboration and communication tools to work in real-time as they serve as a centerpiece for remote settings. Whether it’s to do with audio issues, late attendees, or even just distracted participants, we’re here to give you 5 tips on how to improve virtual meetings.

1. Plan for Participation

To give a virtual meeting more of the feel of an in-person meeting, participation is key. One way to encourage participation is to have participants introduce themselves if everyone is not familiar with each other. If most people on the call already know one another, you can also promote participation with a quick ice breaker before diving into the meeting—like having everyone share something positive about their day. It can be anything, big or small. This gets everyone engaged so they’re more likely to participate. 

 

2. Set Objectives

Sometimes virtual meetings jump around and cover too many topics because attendees don’t get to see each other face to face. Avoid doing this by setting a specific purpose for each meeting. Try to limit the meeting to a few related topics and have clear objectives on what you want to accomplish with the meeting. By limiting the topics, virtual meeting attendees can allocate the right amount of time and attention each topic and ensure a much more effective meeting. Your meeting attendees also won’t be bombarded with too much information. 

 


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3. Manners Matter

While the coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to be a bit more forgiving and understanding about meeting distractions, we can still do our best to be respectful and keep things moving.

  • Join the meeting on time: You don’t want to miss information and you certainly don’t want to come off as unprofessional.
  • Be away of everyone’s time zones. If you work in a business where workers are in different states – even different countries – it's easy to forget not everyone is on the same schedule. Depending on how distributed your company is, some participants may have to bend their schedules a bit outside of conventional business hours to keep business moving. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t try to schedule things when most people are available and make sure that one group is not always the group making the sacrifice to get on calls at odd hours. Not sure what time it is for your coworker? Try out this time zone converter.
  • Don’t check your phone: Not only will this distract you but could also distract other attendees. On top of that, people may not give you their attention when it’s your turn to speak if they don’t think you’ve given them yours.
  • Dress appropriately. Traditionally, this would mean dressing like you would if you were in the office. Most companies have become more forgiving of casual attire during the coronavirus pandemic, but even then, some basic standards of decency still apply.
  • Mute your microphone if you aren’t speaking: Again, coronavirus means we all have to be more forgiving of hard-to-control distractions. But we can still do our best to avoid being disruptive. If you home gets noisy with dogs barking, dishes getting washed, children yelling, etc., try to go on mute. And don’t forget loud typing – that one is usually in your control.
  • If it’s not an interactive session, try to save questions for the end: Let presenters go through their agenda before jumping in to ask questions. This will keep the meeting running smoothly without sidetracking.
  • Thank everyone for their time.

 

4. Stay Engaged

Many times, people join a meeting without turning their video on and zone out. When video is turned off, it’s easier for participants to get distracted and work on other things during the meeting. Keeping attendees’ videos on encourages them to focus on one thing as they know other people can see if they’re multitasking. Sharing screens can also help attendees follow along during a presentation.

With MiTeam Meetings, it’s easy to switch between a video conference and screen sharing. If you are planning to share your screen, make sure you close out of windows that you don’t want to display on accident.

 


See 5 tips to help avoid embarrassing yourself during a screenshare >

 

5. Wrap Up Time

Don’t feel like you must use the entire meeting time. As your virtual meetings come to an end, allow for a few minutes to discuss the next steps and task delegation (if you like collaboration tools with task management built in, you should check out Mitel Teamwork). 

This will keep everyone on the same page and push for productivity even after the meeting has concluded. Quickly review what’s been discussed and sum up any big decisions that were mentioned. Lastly, ask if anyone has questions. By ending your meetings on the same page, it allows the next meeting to start off strong and efficient.

Really want to get on people’s good sides? Try leaving ending your meeting 5 minutes before the hour or half hour to give people a chance to grab a drink or stop by the restroom. Anyone who has been stuck in back-to-back marathon meetings will thank you.

Implementing these small tips can significantly improve your virtual meeting experience for you and your team. Teams that can’t meet face to face rely on great virtual meetings to build those lasting professional relationships that help them get work done. Mitel offers leading solutions to help your teams collaborate no matter where they are. Check out our remote working resources to stay connected to your workforce.

 


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