Hosting virtual meetings with remote workers is an important part of running your small business. Virtual meetings can include video conferencing and audio chats via the web or phone. These meetings have unique elements that must be considered before, during, and after the meeting takes place.
Juggling managing remote workers and your small business responsibilities can be overwhelming. From making sure your remote works have the right systems installed on their computer to keeping everyone’s attention, here are some important things to remember during a virtual meeting.
Make Sure They Have the Right Technology
A key aspect of any virtual meeting is the right technology. Your team must be on a reliable video conferencing system. Look for a system that offers a secure video chat, multiple users, recording capabilities, screen sharing, text chat, and file sharing.
Be aware that some software may not be available in the country your remote workers are working out of. And remember that some video conferencing systems require payment per user, while others are free to use.
Here are some of the best options for virtual meetings:
Provide an Alternative
For those who don’t have access to video or don’t feel comfortable with the video option, you should provide an alternative option to join the meeting. This is also a good option for third party vendors who don’t have access to your particular video-conferencing system.
Try offering an audio dial-in option or providing a phone number for the conference room you’ll be using. Make sure they are able to hear the other participants.
Staying organized is more important than ever when you’re leading a virtual meeting. Be sure to send out an agenda to all participants a day before the meeting starts. This will give your employees enough time to prepare.
Assign someone to take minutes like you would in a face-to-face meeting. Have them email their notes to all the attendees after the meeting. This will help you keep track of any important decisions or agreements made during your virtual meetups.
It is also important to assign someone, or take on the task yourself, as moderator. The moderator is responsible for leading the meeting, keeps track to make sure everything runs according to the set agenda, and ensuring breaks are being taken during long virtual meetings.
There are certain things to keep in mind when conducting a virtual meeting. It is important to keep these things in mind during a team meeting via video conference.
- Mute your Microphone when not Speaking: Microphones on computer can pick-up a lot more than we think. Kindly, mute your mic while others a speaking.
- Raise your Hand When you Want to Speak: Talking over people is never a good way to get your point across. When you’re on a video conference, be sure to raise your hand so the moderator knows you would like to add to the conversation.
- Be Aware of Different Time Zones: When setting a time for the virtual meeting be aware of participants time zone. Try to find a time that works for the majority of participants workday.
It is easy to get distracted when your colleagues are not in the room with you. One survey showed that 23% of managers give their full attention during virtual meetings, while 25% checked their emails, and 27% did other work. Here are some tips to help you stay focused during a virtual meeting:
- Close all other applications and tabs that do not pertain to the meeting
- Set the video conferencing software at full screen so you won’t get distracted by email or chat notifications
- Prioritize your day the morning of the meeting – complete everything that takes priority before the meeting starts
- Take advantage of the scheduled breaks to catch-up on any emails you may have missed
- Make sure the meeting is taking place in an area with little distractions
- Look for ways to become an active participant – volunteer to take minutes or be the moderator
Once the meeting is complete ask participants to give their feedback. Good or bad it is important to understand what works and what doesn’t work for your team.
Schedule time in the agenda for meeting attendees to go through what to improve, stay the same, or take out from the virtual meeting structure you have set-up. Better yet, you can email an anonymous survey to participants for a more private feedback session.
Remember to also send feedback to the developers of the conferencing system you are using. Some software will have a pop-up review system, while others will have you contact them directly through their customer support. Take note of video and audio quality, or if there were any issues sharing files or in the chat.