Meetings are an essential part of any business or organization. They allow teams to collaborate, share ideas, and make critical decisions. However, not all meetings are created equal. Some meetings can feel like a waste of time, leaving participants frustrated and disengaged.
So how can you ensure that your meetings are engaging and productive?
First, it’s important to recognize the value of meetings. When done right, meetings can be incredibly effective in building relationships, increasing productivity, and fostering innovation. They provide a platform for people to share their perspectives and ideas and can lead to significant breakthroughs that might not have happened otherwise.
COVID has shifted the workplace landscape, including meetings. Virtual meeting management skills are just as important, if not more, than in-person meeting management skills. Facilitating a virtual meeting can be challenging, but there are some crucial steps to make the process smoother and further effective.
Here are some tips for facilitating a virtual meeting:
1. Set an agenda. Before the meeting, create an agenda that outlines what will be covered and the order in which tasks will be addressed. Send the agenda beforehand and give participants enough time to review and prepare before the meeting.
2. Test technology. Ensure your facilitators and hosts know how to navigate the meeting functions and have basic platform knowledge to assist participants who need help during the meeting.
3. Manage the discussion. As a facilitator, it’s your job to keep the conversation on track and ensure everyone has a chance to contribute. Encourage active participation by asking questions and soliciting feedback from all actors.
4. Keep track of time. Time management is vital in virtual meetings. Make sure to stick to the agenda and keep the meeting on schedule. Set time expectations so everyone can stay on task.
5. Be ready to share documents. Have any necessary documents or content ready to share during the meeting. This could include slides, spreadsheets, or other applicable items. This will help keep everyone on the same page and avoid miscommunications.
6. Use mute. Background noise can be a distraction during virtual meetings. Encourage participants to use mute when they aren’t speaking to minimize distractions. As the facilitator, you can also mute individuals to help reduce background noise.
7. Follow-up. After the meeting, send a follow-up email that includes notes and any action items. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same runner and that progress is made on any action particulars.
These basic tips can improve a virtual meeting and help achieve its objectives while keeping participants engaged and productive.
Download this free Word Doc with a Virtual Meeting Run of Show and Timeline for Organizing a Virtual Meeting : Sample Virtual Event Run of Show