Virtual meetings have become more popular, especially after the recent Covid-19 pandemic. This meeting allows businesses and people worldwide to link using video-teleconference software. You are more likely to work with people in different geographic areas in today’s workplace, which has partly contributed to the increased number of virtual meetings.
Most companies have shifted to virtual boardrooms to lower unnecessary training sessions and conference costs. Online meetings have become part and parcel of our daily lives, and their future looks bright.
Below we discuss how to have productive virtual meetings;
- Use of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is a fast-rising technological development which is being used to make virtual meetings more effective. This technology is mainly incorporated in unified communications and team collaborations, and has a significant effect.
AI is a vast field, consisting of technologies like;
- Machine learning
- Natural language processing.
AI tools are used during and after these sessions to enhance the flow, while increasing productivity. These bots also save significant time, as they schedule meetings depending on the invitee’s availability.
- Set Ground Rules
Undoubtedly, the first step to having productive virtual meetings is by setting ground rules. The most common ground rules include;
- Being on mute until the group is addressed
- Manage questions and answers using the raise or lower hand
- Staying on the video.
Consistent practices enable all staff members to use their time more effectively while in the meeting. Companies that host bigger meetings should have co-hosts to make it more effective. One host can deal with the technical tasks, while the other can focus on presenting.
Breakout tools allow the members to talk, and the host can visit the breakout rooms to ensure everyone is doing their job.
- Develop and Distribute the Meeting’s Agenda
All meetings, especially virtual, should have a plan that specifies the meeting’s expected outcome and main points. This schedule should be shared with all members a day before the meeting, and a timekeeper should ensure everything goes as planned.
This agenda should dictate the meeting’s starting and ending time, and you should remember virtual meetings take around ten minutes to start when planning.
- Include a Body Language
Virtual meetings do not have interpersonal communication. Their actual structure reduces team spontaneity, collaboration, and safety. On the other hand, body language makes up over 50% of communication, which is highly compromised in these meetings.
Businesses should overcompensate tone and body language to make these meetings more productive using the following strategies;
- Standing accurately in front of the camera.
- Having a clear distance with the camera to develop a 3D space
- Use a whiteboard to draw and capture the meeting’s conversation
- Begin the meeting with housekeeping to ascertain your staff that it is a safe space.
- Ensure there are no Gatherings After the Meeting
If your participants gather after you finish the meeting, it shows some things were not explained well, or certain issues were not addressed properly. Hosts should be proactive and approach the staff members to know what is being discussed.
- Have a Virtual Call Etiquette
The best way to make your virtual meetings more effective is by;
- Ensuring there is no light behind you
- Pay close attention to the speaker
- Look the speaker in the eye
- Dress correctly for the occasion
- Utilize the chat box, and give the speaker enough time to finish their speech
- Mute your computer when not talking
- Make your sound is turned on properly before the meeting starts.
- Use Microsoft Teams automated meeting minutes app to be punctual.
- Troubleshoot Your Tech
Virtual meeting hosts should ensure they know how to use technology, whether it is their first or millionth time. They can achieve this by ensuring the speakers work perfectly. Also, you should ensure your wi-fi is in the best condition to avoid lagging.
Initial frustrations occur when a certain individual requires more time to access the conference line. You should arrive at the room on time and dial in to avoid that.
- Be Direct
One of the biggest challenges experienced in online meetings is having a guide on who to speak to next. Hosts can prevent indistinct vocal jumbles by developing questions for the participants. Also, do not shy off from asking the people who work together to make the meeting more effective whether they have additional comments.
Benefits of Virtual Meetings
As stated above, most companies have shifted to virtual meetings due to their numerous benefits. These benefits include;
Physical meetings are more expensive because you must handle the cost of travel, and venues, among others. However, this is not the case with virtual meetings. Here, participants can join the meeting from any location.
These meetings lack commuting, planning, o extended planning hours, making them more cost-effective.
- Global connection
Another top benefit of virtual meetings is the staff can attend it from any location. This is easily possible, provided they have a fast internet connection and a smart device.
- Improved information sharing
Virtual meetings are also widely common due to their broader information sharing. As stated above, these meetings can be attended from any location, enabling companies to spread the word in different areas.
Virtual meetings have become increasingly popular today, and it is hard not to see why. Most companies have already incorporated them, and the above article has discussed how to make them more effective.