How to Host Effective Virtual Meetings With Your Remote Team.
By Stacy Ketiku
With the lockdown, restricted movements, and enforcement of social distancing laws all caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have been forced to shut down abruptly while some digitally inclined companies have their teams working from home. Apart from communicating via emails and group chats, one of the ways to collaborate with your employees working from different locations is to host effective virtual meetings.
You might still be unconvinced that virtual meetings are the way out for you and your team, well think about it again. Holding meetings over the internet is a more effective and productive way to gather all your team members in one place, and at the same time to discuss issues relevant work issues. You can also get immediate feedback, reduce distractions as people will not be able to handle multiple tasks in the middle of a video meeting. Last but not the least, it’s always easier to explain a concept or task via video or audio meetings unlike chats and text messages; your team can watch you as you show samples of what you are trying to get them to do.
Requirements for Hosting Effective Virtual Meetings
To have an itch-free online meeting, you and all participants of such meeting must have all the following items in place.
An Internet-Enabled Device
This could be a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device that has an internet connection. However, if you will be using a mobile device to participate in a video meeting, ensure that the chosen platform for your meeting functions properly on a mobile phone.
What’s a video call without a webcam? The webcam captures your video and makes you visible to the people at the other end of the video call. Most computers have an inbuilt webcam, but if your’s doesn’t have one, or isn’t functional, you will need to get an external webcam which can be attached to your computer. For mobile devices, your front camera is all you need.
To reduce background noise and help you hear the other party more clearly, you’ll need a headset. Some headsets also have microphones that amplify the voice and makes the communication process even smoother.
A Virtual Meeting App
Apart from popular ones like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Slack, and Skype, there are many other platforms available for video meetings but we recommend any of these ones mentioned. Furthermore, whichever app you decide to use must have HD video quality, screen and content sharing feature, audio, as well as the record feature so that people can access the video even after the meeting. Lastly, if you will be using a freemium plan, check the number of participant allowed and maximum duration of a single session before deciding on which platform to use.
Etiquettes of Participants During A Virtual Meeting
Although virtual meetings can be used for meetings, training, group discussions, and simply catching up with your team and subteam members. It might not be ideal for all meeting situations yet it is the perfect solution for a time like this when we all can’t converge at physical locations.
- To minimise distractions from people at home or within your environment, inform them nicely that you are about to have a meeting and will appreciate if they give you some space. You can also put up an indication around your work area so that people don’t barge in on you during the meeting.
- Before the meeting begins, test the app or platform you intend to use, as well as your network connection. You need to ensure that they are all working perfectly else your meeting might experience some major hiccups.
- Punctuality: Just like you will not love to be late to a physical meeting, you should also make conscious efforts to be punctual to your virtual meeting. Nobody likes to be kept waiting so do yourself a favour by setting up a reminder or an alarm to notify you about your scheduled meeting. Also, you must ensure every participant of your meeting is within your timezone else those in different timezones would miss out.
- Dress Appropriately. Although you are working from home and might not need to put on a corporate dress, you should still be neatly and decently dressed like a professional. Do away with your headscarf and sleep clothes, they don’t speak well of you in such a setting.
- Organisation. If you intend to host effective virtual meetings, try to minimise the number of issues to be discussed within a single session. This helps you stay organised and ensures that the attention of participants is retained until the end.
- Speak clearly. Do not use vague or ambiguous words that participants of your meeting will not easily understand. Besides, you need to engage them by using phrases or expressions that stimulates a response or reaction from them.
- Give room for questions, suggestions, and other types of feedback.
Applying all the guidelines highlighted in this post will help you host effective virtual meetings that will be both productive and enjoyable for your team members. Ensure you always find out about one another’s welfare rather than focusing solely on work. People want to feel valued and empathy from their teammates and senior colleagues. Feel free to leave us a comment informing us about what other virtual meeting platforms you use with your team.