Since the pandemic, we’ve learned to adapt to screen-to-screen communications, and it appears that Zoom or other types of virtual meetings are here to stay. However, some virtual meetings are better than others. We’ve all experienced that awkward virtual meeting where people talk over each other, the meeting that starts late and lacks an agenda, or something else that makes attending a virtual meeting more of a necessary evil than just a necessity. Before you start your next meeting, here are some tips for running a virtual meeting more efficiently.
Tips for Effective Virtual Meetings
Some of the rules for good meetings apply to any venue that you’re in:
- Send out the agenda in advance.
- Go over the agenda at the start of the meeting.
- Start on time, even if people are late.
- Keep things short.
- Have a note-taker.
- Send a recap, with clearly assigned action items and next steps.
You’ve heard all this before. But there’s something about the digital venue that makes these rules even more important. Staring at yourself on a screen all day is bound to be a little fatiguing. That means virtual meetings need to be even more engaging than their in-person counterparts. Some good tips for your virtual meeting include:
- Keep meetings to a half-hour. Anything longer in the digital world and you risk losing your audience. Perhaps you can take a break in the middle if you have to run longer.
- Invite the right people and give them the “why.” How many times has a Zoom meeting been dropped on your calendar without any context on why it’s there? Don’t do it! Instead, be deliberate in who attends and give them an understanding of why you’re having the meeting, so attendees show up prepared to participate in your meeting.
- If the meeting has to be large, and long, such as in an educational event, break it up by using technology tools built into the video conferencing software. Audience polling is a great feature. Whiteboarding is great for breakout groups. Chat engages people at the 1:1 level. Use these tools to keep your audience engaged.
- Test your software. Please, test your software. This includes practicing how to screen share. Provide your attendees with a dial-in number in case their internet goes south. Have a backup in case your internet does the same. Any tech hiccups can set your meeting off on the wrong foot, so don’t be that person.
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