Best practices for effective virtual meetings

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Virtual meetings don’t have to be seen as uninteresting and mind-numbing. They can be more valuable and enjoyable than old-style face-face meetings for your team if you play the game right. However as virtual meetings have now almost completely replaced in person meetings during the pandemic,  there are more than a few challenges you would face. Including a loss of efficiency, technical bugs, communication gap, collaborative overloads , frustration, and lastly below-average consequences. When you move to virtual teamwork and communication for your team, there are quite a lot of chances that you may miss group cohesiveness and drop team-intimacy as this happens through online communication. Eventually, the overall virtual meeting engagement will simply go for a TOSS.

A business organization may make use of virtual meetings in place of face-to-face ones as they're fast to arrange, they're low-cost, and they bring the most appropriate people into the meeting, no matter where they're based. Nevertheless, virtual meetings can be hard to get right, and they require a diverse approach from regular business meetings. 

While the basic protocol, etiquette, and decorum still apply, working over a virtual meeting requires a diverse approach from face-to-face ones. You can make use of the pointers below to plan and host an effective virtual meeting.

Test the technology ahead of time

Nothing kills impetus at the start of a meeting like a 15-minute postponement for the reason that people need to download the software or just can’t get the application to work. Before conducting a virtual meeting, all members must test the technology and make sure that they are accustomed  with the key features. If you are having a meeting with clients using your software, make sure you inform them of all the steps required to connect to the meeting in advance, this will save you precious minutes and stress during your meeting.

Follow basic etiquette

While different virtual meetings will have different “virtual meeting rules”, there are some basic protocols and etiquette everyone must follow to create a perfect virtual meeting experience.

  • Introduce one and all at the beginning of the meeting, and give everybody a chance to contribute
  • Don’t gaze at your mobile phone while other people are presenting
  • Don’t intrude on other persons when they’re speaking (or try to speak over them)
  • Examine all technology (including camera, Wi-Fi, as well as screen-sharing) before the conference
  • Read the agenda and come prepared
  • Don’t work on other jobs (like checking email) during the virtual meeting 
  • Turn off all notifications and make certain your mobile phone is on silent
  • Make sure all team members are in a noiseless zone - free from distracting background sounds 
  • When in doubt, just practice common courteousness and civility. People want to be heard, understood, and appreciated during a virtual meeting just like they do during in person meetings

Make sure faces are visible

Video conferences or visual virtual conference platforms are more effective when a person gets to see another person’s facial expressions in addition to the body language. You may ask people to be seated close to their webcam to help recreate the environment of the in-person meeting in virtual meetings.

Make time for casual discussion

A few minutes of approachable dealings and interaction before diving into the meeting can build the required affinity and a rapport for an effective meeting. Always remember to keep all participants involved in this conversation, to help build a connection between each other.

Spend Time Preparing

Virtual meetings might require more groundwork and research than regular face-to-face ones. For instance, how will you deal with conflict in the virtual meeting platforms or keep the discussion on track? What if software problems and technical glitches stop your most important team member from attending? you will need to have a backup plan ready. You need to work some additional planning time into your calendar, so that you can prepare effectively both for the meeting itself and for any technical or practical challenges that may occur during. 

Think about the objective of your meeting in advance

Who should be present? What exactly do you need to converse? make an agenda of what you want to cover, and make out how much time each discussion point will take.

Agenda planning

    • What the purpose of your virtual meeting is?
    • The objectives that need to be attained by the end of the meeting
    • A static timed schedule
    • Clear roles
    • Agree on the ways of working
    • Agree how each of your actions will be recorded, linked, communicated, or followed up
    • Be prompt with your start and finish times. Remember, just because your business meeting is virtual, that doesn't mean it's going to be polite enough to reach late or leave early

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Virtual meetings are an important way of getting things done for more than a few project managers today. Many virtual meetings are annoying and unproductive. However, with slight thoughtfulness and preparation, they can be made effective, resourceful, and efficient.