Business owners have embraced virtual technology as a cost effective way to conduct various meetings like conferences, training, and webinars. While a virtual meeting offers an opportunity to achieve a myriad of goals, proper planning is required to ensure such a meeting is conducted professionally to meet the desired agenda.
While virtual technology has long been the main focus, business leaders are now focusing more on managing virtual tasks, relationships and the technology itself to ensure successful interactions virtually. Here are our tips on planning and conducting a virtual meeting.
Prepare And Plan In Advance
The first step before you even decide what technology and software you’ll need for the virtual meeting is to decide who the attendees will be and what information you’ll be sharing. This forms the basis for planning how you’ll present your data based in the virtual office you’ve set up.
A successful virtual meeting will need a lot of preparation up front. You’ll have to send out the agenda of the meeting to participants in advance, create engaging visuals to reinforce your message and share with everyone, review timelines, check that everything is working and send out login details to participants at least a day in advance.
Identify The Technical Tools And Requirements Needed
The beauty about virtual technology is that it’s easy to use and setup. However, for the sake of ensuring a smooth virtual meeting, you need to rely on proven technology that will enable you to pass your message with ease. Focus more on the message instead of the technology. While technical glitches and delays can happen, testing connectivity before the meeting is crucial.
When it comes to dealing with the technicalities needed to conduct the virtual meeting, consider a virtual technology provider to take care of that. When leading a virtual meeting, technicalities alone will not ensure a successful virtual meeting. Focus on engagement, involvement and building relationships.
Stay Focused And Keep Time
One of the biggest complaints by most virtual meeting participants is distractions by people leading the meeting or by other participants. Avoid this as much as possible and stick to the meeting’s agenda. You should also avoid squeezing multiple things in a single meeting and ensure that you keep time.
Always start your meetings at the planned time, with no excuses. To ensure everyone shows up on time, communicate the start time and attendance rules in advance, with frequent reminders. Meetings should also be divided into short segments to ensure engagement.
Know The Right Etiquette
Just like a physical meeting, a virtual meeting needs to have some rules of etiquette. Don’t assume that because you’re online, some things can be ignored. Give your full attention to attendees as if you were in the same room. Don’t be distracted by email, texting or web surfing. Be prepared to answer questions directed to you. Some things to remember:
- Be cautious with attendees
- Speak clearly and keep body movements minimal
- Maintain eye contact and dress appropriately
- Make the meeting interesting and be yourself
- Avoid distracting sounds or movements
- Don’t shout or interrupt other speakers
- Don’t cover the microphone or wear noisy jewelry
Know How To Engage Participants
Many people conducting virtual meetings make the mistake of jumping straight to the agenda. Consider building a relationship first with participants by engaging them. For instance, you can request everyone to introduce themselves and share something interesting about their life, the past weekend or talk about something they are looking forward to in the meeting.
Adding a social element to a virtual meeting helps break the ice. You can also encourage attendees to submit questions on the meeting’s agenda or topic or ask them to participate in a short poll before the meeting begins.
Just to make sure that everyone is on board, share screen sharing tips in advance so that everyone will be ready and know what is expected. Don’t assume that everyone is adept at virtual technology.
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