Running a Successful Virtual Meeting

By Victoria Robertson on June 10, 2020

Hosting a virtual meeting may seem like a breeze, but it isn’t. As we transition our workforce to working remotely, it’s more than likely that meetings will need to be had, but the format will be entirely different.

For those of you unfamiliar with virtual meetings, they are an effective way to gather ideas and discuss new processes, even though you can’t meet in person.

With that being said, here are six tips for running a successful, virtual meeting.

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1. Toggle Mute for Attendees

One of the biggest faux pas of virtual meetings is that the individual running the meeting invites too many attendees, without considering the fact that people will be talking over one another the whole time.

With too many people in a virtual meeting, the background noise is plentiful, talking over each other is common and it can become a disaster rather quickly. The best way to combat this is to let the meeting planner control individual’s mute buttons, and only unmute individuals when they have a question or it is their turn to present. This helps keep your meeting running smoothly, without unwanted interruptions or pauses.

2. Prepare an Agenda

It helps to run a virtual meeting when an agenda is sent out to attendees ahead of time. This way, everyone has an opportunity to prepare what’s needed (to avoid any pauses for gathering materials) as well as to ask questions when appropriate, rather than asking a question before it’s going to be covered.

Agendas are great practice for in-person meetings as well, but for virtual meetings, they are almost essential to keep things running as they should be. As a side note, make sure you not only send an agenda via email but also attach it to the meeting’s invite so everyone can find and access it when they need to.

3. Test Platform in Advance

Testing the platform you’re going to be using is key. For many, these technologies are new and foreign, which likely means you’ll be encountering technical difficulties or limitations.

For this reason, running a test session or two in advance is a great way to get ahead of any errors or other problems that could potentially derail your agenda for the meeting. A little planning goes a long way, so do your best to test what you can in advance.

4. Keep Things Succinct

It’s all too easy to drone on in a meeting, especially when discussing a topic you’re passionate about. However, when working remotely, individuals are likely to lose focus much more easily than they would in the office, as the distractions in the home are plentiful.

For this reason, you should be capturing your attendees’ attention from beginning to end, keeping your meeting short and succinct to make sure you include everything, but not at the cost of holding everyone’s attention. The longer you drone on regarding the same topic, the more likely you are to lose your audience, and that goes for any type of meeting.

5. Use Video and Dial-In Options

When hosting a video conference, you’ll need to give everyone plenty of options for joining the meeting, as everyone has different technological capabilities. For many organizations, it’s common for webcams to be included with laptops. However, not all companies give all employees laptops, so this may not be a possibility for everyone, depending on the technology they have available to them at home.

That all being said, most individuals have cameras on their phones that they could use in place of a laptop camera. Otherwise, everyone should be able to dial in via their phones, so that should always be an option available to them.

6. Keep Things Interesting

As mentioned previously, people can very easily lose interest in video conferences, so it’s important to keep them as engaged as possible. Not only should you have an agenda and make sure everyone is on board with what you’re saying, but you should also make sure you’re keeping people engaged throughout.

One great way to make sure things are interesting for everyone involved is to ask questions throughout, ask for feedback from everyone and offer participation wherever you’re able to. This way, everyone is sticking with the conversation and engaging with it throughout the meeting.

Running a successful virtual meeting is a challenge and one that we often fail to tackle in advance. With the above six tips, you will not only be well prepared to host your virtual meeting, but you will also be able to accomplish your agenda in full.

While there are many considerations to take into account when hosting a remote meeting, these six tips are a great starting point.

So get your materials together, run a practice test or two, and prepare for a virtual meeting that you’ll be proud to call a success.

By Victoria Robertson

Uloop Writer
University of Illinois
Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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