Top 5 Tips to Make Virtual Meetings a Lasting Success
Companies are cutting back on expenses, and travel is one of the first to go. And with further globalization of the workforce, you may have co-workers in cities around the world.
How do you get together with your international sales force or even with a prospect or customer who has offices in various countries?
Virtual meetings have many benefits over face-to-face:
- They’re quick, easy, and relatively cheap ways to get people together who might be scattered geographically.
- It’s easy to record virtual meetings so that you can see what worked and what didn’t. It’s also an easy way for people who weren’t there to catch up on what they missed.
- You can drop in and out of a virtual meeting. You don’t need to sit through an entire meeting if you only need to be there for a short part of it.
Virtual meetings take the best in technology and let you get together wherever and whenever people can meet, making it a cost-effective, time efficient way to gather a group together. But having the latest and greatest technology doesn’t make a virtual meeting successful. Nor does being able to host a meeting whenever and wherever.
There’s strategy involved in making your virtual meeting a lasting success. Consider the following tips:
- Use video conferencing. You need to be able to read people’s reactions, moods, and body language to have an effective meeting. Using video conferencing also encourages everyone present to pay attention and resist the urge to check their email or social media. If you’re the host of the meeting, you can make sure visually that everyone is engaged, and switch tactics if it looks like you’re losing their interest.
- Be fair to all time zones. If you have people in different time zones, level the playing field and alternate meeting times so that everyone has the same opportunity to attend a meeting during the day and in the evening. You won’t win points if one group of individuals always has to join meetings during their evening hours at home.
- Set boundaries. When you establish rules from the start, everyone understands what’s expected. For instance, ban the use of email checking or instant messaging. And most importantly, no muting. When attendees mute their phones, they disconnect from the meeting and don’t have the opportunity to chime in with thoughts and ideas. Make it a stipulation that anyone who breaks the rules is assigned the next to-do on the list.
- Bond for the first 5 or 10 minutes. You still need to connect on a personal level, so take the time you need at the beginning to check in with everyone, personally and professionally. This will help set a collaborative mood right from the beginning. And you can take the opportunity to learn things about others that might not otherwise come up.
- Most importantly—make it interactive. If the sole purpose for the meeting is to simply share information with people, send an email or record a podcast. Don’t steal time away from productive work to pass on information. Make sure that everyone knows they’re expected to contribute their ideas and opinions. It’s up to the host to keep everyone engaged and contributing.
The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that between 30 and 40 per cent of employees are virtual workers, meaning they work somewhere outside of the office. To ensure your team connects and collaborates, virtual meetings are becoming the lifeblood of the global workforce.
Take your team to the next level by applying the above 5 tips and make your virtual meetings a lasting success.
Call the experts at Natural Training today to discuss how our team can help your team function at its highest level—the Natural way.
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