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How to Improve Virtual Meetings

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 online 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 outline five tips on how to improve virtual meetings:



What are virtual meetings? Find out here >



1. Plan for Participation

To give a virtual meeting more of the feel of an in-person meeting, participation is key. One way to engage your meeting attendees is to have everyone introduce themselves. 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.

Since online meetings can feel like a passive experience, another way to get your remote team involved is by having multiple presenters. Not only does this give more people the chance to weigh in, but it also means your team members have the chance to hear from their coworkers whom they may not otherwise work with that often.

Your company culture can have a big impact on meeting participation as well. The good news here is that you don’t need everyone in the same time zone to have what feels like a cohesive team. To start, pairing your team members up on projects will encourage collaboration and the open sharing of ideas. Hosting weekly happy hours or fun team-building activities is another great way to foster a healthy team dynamic.

If your team members are comfortable with each other and feel like your meetings are a safe space to share ideas, you’ll get the kind of back and forth that makes good teams great, no matter where your members are.


Find out how to make virtual meetings more fun for remote teams >

2. Set Objectives

Whether they’re video calls or in-person conferences, meetings can be tough to organize. Without some pre-planning, they can jump around and cover too many topics. This lack of focus can impact the quality of your online meetings because your 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 a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. By limiting the topics, virtual meeting attendees can allocate the right amount of time and attention to each topic and ensure a much more effective meeting. You can also put together an agenda that you can send to your team. Not only will this help you stay organized, but it will also give them a chance to ask the right questions or come to the table with well-researched ideas.

While your team may be working from home, that doesn’t mean they need to be in the dark. Setting an agenda, and sending it out before the meeting, is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page.


Looking for videoconferencing software? Click here >


3. Manners Your Manners

Online meetings and video conferences are going nowhere. According to research by the career site Ladders, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022. As the rules and etiquette of the workplace are evolving, it’s a good idea to keep a few best practices in mind to ensure your next meeting goes smoothly.

  • Join the meeting on time: You don’t want to miss information and you certainly don’t want to come off as unprofessional.
  • Be aware 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 your 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.


See 5 tips to help avoid embarrassing yourself during a screen share >

4. Stay Engaged

You’ve joined an online meeting that someone else is presenting in. During the meeting, you’re getting email notifications and messages that you’re tempted to check. We’ve all been there before. The best way to prevent distraction is to turn your camera on. Being on camera isn’t just the polite thing to do. It also makes it more difficult to work on other things or zone out during the meeting.

If you’ve been tempted to do this, your team members have as well. Encouraging them to appear on camera will keep them from multitasking, keeping them involved in the team’s discussion. Sharing screens can also help attendees follow along during a presentation. Everyone wants to feel like they’re being seen and heard, especially if they’re the ones presenting. Appearing on camera, and having your team members do the same, will only improve your team’s cohesion and collaboration.

Looking for a remote working and communications platform that allows you to switch between a video conference and screen sharing? MiTeam Meetings is a fully integrated remote working solution that offers video, voice and chat all in one platform. Enjoy the convenience of having a single point of access for all communication that allows you and your team to work effectively from anywhere on web and mobile applications.


See 6 more tips for making virtual meetings more engaging >


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 next steps and delegate tasks (if you like collaboration tools that make it easy to keep up with projects and stay connected with your team, check out MiCollab).

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

Want to get on people’s good sides? Try ending your meeting five 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.


Has your organization moved beyond pure remote working? Find out how to improve meetings in a hybrid workplace with our guide >



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