Many companies today are becoming keener about creating suitable environments for their employees. Working from home is one of the focuses and, everything, meetings included, is now happening virtually. Asking employees to come to a boardroom with today’s technology advancements isn’t viable.
Thankfully, there are ways you can make virtual meetings as successful and productive as boardroom ones. You can even record Zoom meetings to recall every detail that has been mentioned. In this article, we look into preparation and the game plan to holding a successful meeting.
Here are the steps you should follow.
Write down and share the schedule.
It would be best if you had a defined purpose for your meeting to be productive. It would help if you prepared a formal plan that will guide the meeting to the end. Otherwise, all the participants will be confused and end up wasting time allocated for the meeting.
Another essential thing to do is prioritizing items on your agenda. Think about your business needs and list the items according to the urgency if technical hitches or other issues arise towards the end of the meeting. Besides, every participant should have the schedule at least 24 hours before the meeting.
You need proper preparation for your meeting to succeed. It is worth noting that the environment in which you’re presenting is very important. Therefore, you should either design your meeting to fit that environment or change the environment to fit the presentation.
In short, a presentation for a boardroom meeting won’t be similar to one for a virtual meeting. You cannot interact with a virtual audience like you’d do with a live one. Prepare the participants with log-in credentials early enough and test connectivity a few minutes before the meeting starts.
Ensure every technical resource is available
The beauty of virtual connectivity technology is that it is so easy to use. The technical tools that you need include a webcam, microphone, and an internet connection. If you’re presenting to a big audience, you may need a projection screen or large television.
Besides, it would help if you prepared your presentation correctly. Your presentation has to be clear, with the right font size depending on your audience’s size. It should also have imagery and use graphics correctly.
You can use tools like pyramid templates when creating PowerPoint presentation slides. They enable you to visually organize your presentation. That is more so when you want to organize your data in a hierarchical order for easier comprehension.
Appoint a chairperson
It is easy for participants in virtual meetings to go off track. The best way to control the proceedings from start to finish is to have someone take charge of the meeting. You should appoint the individual early enough and inform all members that the appointee will take charge of the meeting.
A moderator helps to control the time taken by every participant to speak. Besides, the moderator ensures that every participant remains focused on the agenda at hand. Virtual meetings sometimes get hindered by miscommunication, and appointing a moderator is the best thing you can do to prevent such issues.
Make it engaging
Whether everyone is contributing or there’s a single presenter, a virtual meeting should be lively. It would be best if you found ways to keep people engaged throughout the meeting. For instance, you should start with a short, interesting story if it is your time to present. It helps to grab your audience’s attention easily.
Additionally, it would help if you considered using as many visual aids as possible. These can be either images or graphics that represent what your presentation entails. But then, you should be careful not to overuse visual aids as they could make your presentation look ugly and not what you intended to create.
Set time limits
Time-capping is one of the best ways you can hold a successful virtual meeting. With limited time, you’re more likely to be productive, and you will extract more value from your meeting. Otherwise, you’re likely to waste valuable time if you have an entire day to hold a meeting that should take an hour.
The time limits you set should match the agenda at hand. For instance, you can have 45 minutes for a 3-point agenda meeting. You can assign 10 minutes for every point and use 15 minutes to open and close the meeting. That way, you’ll ensure every participant stays on track.
Distractions can be a hindrance to achieving your target at the end of the meeting. As mentioned earlier, miscommunication is one of the challenges that virtual meetings experience. A small moment of distraction can make the entire time taken to prepare and plan the meeting an absolute waste.
You must educate participants on how they can minimize distractions. It should start with every participant being in the right environment. A well-lit room with a chair and table is ideal for virtual meetings. Also, remember to remind participants to have a clear background behind them.
Conclude by recapping the main ideas
You should end the meeting on a good note. Many virtual meetings end in vague promises from participants. You can avoid that by recapping with a statement from everyone. Every participant should take responsibility for the action items they acknowledge, and having a secretary record them is essential.
It is also vital that you have deadlines for every action item mentioned. That will ensure accountability for every participant, and that’s how to measure how productive the meeting was. Concluding with clear action items also makes it easy to move forward with the next meeting agenda.
These are the ways you can make your virtual meeting successful. And if Zoom fails, there are other alternative video-conferencing apps that you can use. Applying all these in your meetings will improve your team’s productivity.
Without these and many other ideas, successfully managing an online meeting can be an uphill task. The fact that participants are spread in different locations makes it difficult to focus on the agenda and move on.
If you’re planning to hold a virtual meeting, take time to think about these insights. Prepare adequately, write down and share the schedule beforehand, appoint a moderator, and set time limits. During the meeting, ensure you stick to the time assigned for every point on the agenda and avoid going off-track.