While virtual meetings provide convenience, most people did not imagine that they would become the standard. Nobody could have predicted that we would be highly dependent on video conferencing platforms to conduct business on a day-to-day basis. Even companies that previously ran some, if not most of their meetings online were in for an adjustment period. Nearly overnight, people have had to adjust to transacting and coordinating with colleagues and clients with absolutely no face time.
Before the pandemic struck, online meetings were a great way to keep teams on track and communicate project updates with ease. However, many major strategic meetings took place in-person so as to better enhance the discussion and planning experience. Nowadays though, most work days begin and end with an online call. At the onset, people struggled to recreate the rapport and camaraderie of face-to-face interactions. As the months pass, people are learning that there is more to running effective meetings than merely logging on and turning on the camera.
Remote meetings have a completely different dynamic than conventional ones. They require a new approach to relating to each participant. Previously, you could shake your client’s hand to introduce yourself and make your guest feel at ease. These days, it can be challenging to establish a relationship with a client or colleague through a screen. Organisational meetings have also become challenging. Some people spend hours logged on to a video conference without actually accomplishing any work.
While virtual meetings are tricky, they have allowed businesses to continue despite incredible odds, which is why many people believe they will continue to be the norm even after the pandemic has subsided. Since remote meetings have become necessary, we also need to find ways to keep sessions interesting and productive. If you want to run meetings effectively, here are a few tips that could help:
- Agree on the objective
Before you call for a remote meeting or agree to an invite, you should decide on the objective of the call and what output you wish to receive. You want to make sure that you are inviting the right people to the meeting, and that you allow them to prepare the information needed for it. You or any participant can easily waste time by logging on and tuning out. If the objective is clear, then you know the meeting will be worth your time.
- Keep it short
Before the pandemic, you might have scheduled a meeting for one hour, or possibly more. However, many people are discovering that meeting online isn’t at all the same as meeting in person. A three-minute call can achieve as much progress as a one-hour interaction, with enough preparation. Be mindful of the time, and keep your discussions to 15 to 30 minutes, or less. The shorter the call, the less pressure that people will feel to fill potentially dead airtime. The shortened span also instills a sense of urgency to get the work done faster.
- Limit visual aids
Previously, face-to-face meetings would be accompanied by long presentations filled with comparative charts and graphs. When it comes to video conferencing, however, the formula doesn’t seem to work. People may find it hard to follow along, or they become distracted by something in their home or local environment. Send the presentation separately and choose only a few salient points to discuss. Allow participants to browse through the material before or after, depending on the objective of your meeting. This will reduce the time needed for comprehension, and ensure that the meeting’s focus is on coordination and discussion.
- Ensure everyone has a role to play
When it comes to virtual meetings, more is not always better. When you have too many participants, there is a tendency for people to fade into the background and become disinterested. Limit your attendees or break the meeting into several smaller sessions. Assign each person a clear responsibility for the meeting. When people know what sort of participation you expect of them, it is easier to engage them and keep them involved in the task.
Understandably, many companies and their employees struggle with making online meetings effective. The pandemic has changed the way entire organisations are run. Even with all its challenges, remote meetings are going to continue. Changing our approach can reduce our meeting fatigue and improve our overall productivity.
If you want to run effective meetings, Thena can help! We offer you an application that helps you keep your business on track, ensuring that meetings run smoothly. Our structured processes also help keep accountability intact, ensuring that your business flows in the best possible way. Download Thena today.