Tips for better virtual meetings
In Australia, more employees are working and conducting meetings online. Interviews are also being conducted online. When you are in a virtual meeting with your fellow employees, customer, or manager via teleconferencing tools, that virtual environment becomes part of your brand. The commonly used teleconferencing tools include Zoom, Skype, Slack, or Teams.
When you are hosting the virtual meetings, you should ensure that they run smoothly. Virtual meetings reflect your brand. If the meetings are smooth and with no distraction, your brand is deemed professional and polished. On the contrary, if your meetings are characterised by a lot of distractions, your brand will be considered chaotic. The following tips will help you create an excellent personal brand when you are attending or hosting a virtual meeting.
Choose the Right communication Tool
Before the meeting, go through the schedule to choose the most appropriate platform to use. Different platforms can be used to serve a different purpose. The right tool for brainstorming might not be the best for conducting quick meetings.
Skype works best for short meetings or check-ins. You can also record calls for those who did not attend. Zoom can accommodate a maximum of 100 participants and is appropriate for long sessions. You should take time and research on the best technology to use. You should also consider the benefits and drawbacks of each technology.
Ensure that you spend enough time preparing for the meeting. Virtual meetings often take time to prepare as compared to regular meetings. This is because you will need time to choose the right tool and to invite other members. You should plan adequately for both the agendas of the meeting and the technical issues that may arise during the session.
Before the meeting, ensure that every member has the login details or links where necessary. If the members are from different time zones, ask them in advance if they will be comfortable with the scheduled time. You can also consider delegating some tasks to other members.
You should also observe punctuality in the meeting. Conducting a virtual meeting does not mean that you arrive late or leave early. The sessions should have a short attention span in order to keep everyone focused and engaged. If you are holding long meetings, organise your agendas into smaller segments.
Check the Technical Setup
Ensure that you test the technology before the meeting. This will help to avoid hiccups during the meeting. Ensure that you also have a good microphone before the meeting. A good microphones can create an intimate sound profile. You should also check your internet connection and camera. It is recommended that you use computers when holding virtual meetings.
Consider positioning your conference window near your camera. Most people tend to maximise their conference applications to full-screen in order to enlarge other participant’s images. This may not appropriate because your gaze will seem pointed towards a different direction during the meeting. Ensure that you minimise the application and drag it near the camera.
Communicate with Virtual Reality in Mind
You should listen actively during virtual meetings. Unlike regular meetings, non-verbal cues are often lost during virtual meetings. Ensure that you focus more on the person who is speaking. You can demonstrate that you are actively listening by writing short notes or summarising what the speaker is saying.
Ensure that you give others time to communicate and express your feelings through words. Ask for clarifications where you are not sure. You should also consider avoiding anything that can disturb you during the meeting. Multi-tasking can make you lose focus or prevent you from grasping everything that is being discussed.
Engage Everyone Involved
Getting everyone involved in a meeting can be an uphill task. As the facilitator, you should ensure that every team member has an opportunity to speak. You should consider using the round-robin technique and request every participant to comment on the subject. This will also encourage them to remain focused throughout the meeting. It also helps you to monitor their attention level.
The facilitator should also avoid asking members open-ended questions. Ask them questions that will require their participation throughout the meeting. This method will enable you to retain their attention for longer.