How to Hold Effective Virtual Meetings

Nowadays, it is becoming more necessary for us to come together and have discussions in virtual spaces. Members of the meeting can be located in very different locations, and it can make for a very different experience compared to if you were to hold a meeting in person. Here are some of the best tips you can follow if you want to hold as effective a virtual meeting as possible.

video conference on laptop:Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Try Different Software

The market for video conferencing software has exploded in the last few months. This means that there are plenty of options for those who don’t mind trying something a little different. Each type of software has its own advantages and disadvantages. There might be a feature in one that you prefer over another.

Take the time to explore each of the softwares and try out some of their functions. You could just do this internally, so you can head into your bigger meetings with more preparation. Take a look at everything from the strength of your connections through to the ease in which you can mute or highlight specific speakers. If you are going to be the one hosting the meeting, you need to ensure that you are in full control of the software.

Circulate an Agenda

Before a major meeting, you would usually circulate an agenda so you can ensure that everything that needs to be discussed will be covered. You must still do this even if you are going to be meeting virtually.

One of the major downsides of a virtual meeting is that it can be very difficult to read some of the social cues that we usually rely on when we are together in a meeting environment usually. This means that we can end up interrupting each other or not quite knowing where we can jump in when we interact online.

Having both a host and an agenda at hand can make it much easier for people to navigate a virtual meeting. Ensure that you circulate the list of topics that will be discussed to the participants, and make sure that you give them plenty of time to request amendments if necessary. 

Schedule the Meeting

Make sure that you schedule in the meeting with all participants. There are many pieces of software that will allow you to do this quickly and easily, and can sync to the calendars of those who will be in the meeting. 

If you have a tight window for the meeting, you do not want to be left waiting around for everyone to arrive. Ensuring that all participants are aware of the date and time of the meeting is crucial. You could even send a small note around beforehand just to remind everyone that it will be taking place, while also affirming that you are excited for the meeting and cannot wait to interact with everyone. 

Consider Screen Recording

In a face-to-face meeting, it would not be uncommon to have someone present to take minutes. This is a record of everything that is said in the meeting, and it is usually written out fully and then sent on to the participants a little while after the meeting is concluded. It is useful to refer back to if there are additional points that need to be raised, or if an agreement was reached and participants want an accurate record of that moment.

Video conferencing allows us to play with a few more tools, and it can make managing the meeting a little bit easier. One of the best options you should consider is screen recording. Click here to find out more about how you can start screen recording, but it essentially allows for you to take a video record of the entire meeting. In addition to creating an accurate record of what has been said, the footage can also be passed on to any absentees so they know what discussions took place.

Take Control as a Host

As the host of the meeting, you might have to take control a little more than you would if you were face-to-face with someone. Since we will be lacking those crucial social cues, it is important that there is someone who can direct conversation and keep it to the agenda.

This might require you to step in and wrap up the conversation if things need to progress to the next point. You might also be required to cut off a point that appears to be getting off-track. This can be difficult to do, as you ultimately want to be as polite and respectful as possible while also being quite firm. 

You might also be in charge of directing speakers. This is why you need to make sure that you know how to work your software properly. Bringing up presentations and unmuting certain speakers needs to be done as smoothly as possible. Even if you are not familiar with the software used, you should try to appear confident when in control of the meeting. 

man taking part in video conference: Photo by Surface on Unsplash

Keep Things Friendly

Even if this is an important meeting, you need not keep as strict an air as you usually would if this was a face-to-face meeting. Video conferencing is still a little strange for many different people, and you should take advantage of this to lighten the atmosphere. 

Virtual meetings can be difficult to navigate at first, but there are some things you can do to make the meeting as effective as possible. The best thing you can do is give the meeting structure. Ensure that everyone is turning up at the right time, and in the right place, and make sure that all who will be participating know what to expect in terms of an agenda. An effective virtual meeting should have the same outcome as a face-to-face one – everyone should leave feeling that resolutions were made and goals were met. If you have a virtual meeting approaching on your calendar, take the time to properly arrange it so it can go off without a hitch.