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Four Ways to Make Your Virtual Meetings Effective

By Roz
Published on September 6, 2016

The days of team members and their managers trudging into boardrooms to hear the delivery of status reports and directives for the future are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

 

More than half of the world’s workers can’t understand why corporations would waste time moving them physically into one room when the same goals can be accomplished using modern technology.

 

The millennial worker, soon to be the dominant force in the workplace, already thinks face-to-face meetings are obsolete.

 

With the latest Tech Trends report from Deloitte noting a whopping 79 percent of people already working on virtual teams and in remote locations, it is little wonder that better means of sharing status, delivering messages and brainstorming has to be found.

 

A key advantage of the virtual meeting is that nobody is left out because they couldn’t travel to the meeting’s location. A primary disadvantage is that they can easily fall prey to inattention by the participants as they busily multitask at their home locations, responding only when absolutely necessary.

 

How can you run virtual meetings more effectively?

  1. Make sure everyone uses video. The whole idea of meeting is to build teams and share information, so don’t leave out the crucial communication tool of body language. There’s a bonus to using video as well: it means that the participants have to stay at their desks and listen, not wander off feed the dog, fold the laundry or do their online banking.
  2. Ensure that all relevant documents are delivered in advance of the meeting and make reading them mandatory.  You only have to catch up one person who fails to read the advance material to remind everyone you are serious about this. Make it clear it will not be tolerated. Technology makes it possible to deliver all reports in advance and avoid the time-waster of having people read them during the meeting. Save more time by ensuring that everyone starts the meeting with the essential information and is prepared to move right into full discussion.
  3. Encourage engagement and candor. The chair has the responsibility to ensure that all voices are heard from, even if it means calling out the person by name and asking them a pertinent question. Participating in a virtual meeting does not mean listening; it means responding and commenting and offering up ideas.
  4. Maintain civility. Sometimes distance makes the animosity grow bolder. Do not allow virtual bullying or let one participant dominate the discussions. The same rules of order apply whether you are online or in person. Meetings are still about getting things done and building better relationships.

 

Virtual meetings are soon going to be a dominate way of meeting, so take the proper approaches ensuring you will get the most out of it.

 


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