We are all well-versed with virtual meetings by now. But still, something seems to go wrong at each meeting. Or you feel like your team isn’t engaging as much as they did in person.
Virtual meetings can be awkward. It can take a while for people to speak up in the same way they did at in-office meetings. However, you can set yourself up for success at your next virtual meeting by following some of these tips.
10 Tips to Level Up Your Virtual Meetings
Some of these unsaid rules for virtual meetings will help you provide a comfortable and pleasant experience that employees look forward to attending. People love to engage with others, and once you get past the awkwardness, there is much value to be found in collaboration.
Start with Housekeeping: Set rules that will make the meeting go smoothly by implementing the auto-mute feature, demonstrating a way to initiate a comment or question, and sharing how you will steer the conversation back on-topic if needed.
Limit the Meeting to 1-Hour or less: No one wants to be in a meeting for more than an hour. So keep the agenda short and sweet and stick to the communicated timeline.
Break Up All-Day Training Sessions: If you are training, make sure to break up the session and give people assignments to work on their own time. This independence will add variety to the day while the learning still takes place.
Use Two Monitors: Present on one monitor while keeping an eye on the participants in the other monitor. That way, you can assess if people are staying engaged or if you need to wake people up with an activity or anecdote.
Cameras On: It is always best to have cameras on. Even if people arecozyin non-work attire, communicate with ample preparation time that you expect for cameras to be on. You can engage with others more easily when you see their faces.
Get Comfortable with Long Pauses: When you ask questions, expect a long pause. Even if people have something to say, they may hesitate to initiate, thinking they may talk over someone. So instead, give it time and patiently wait for an answer.
Initiate Engagement: Add variety by inserting polls, asking for input, or playing an icebreaker game. Even if your participants roll their eyes a little, they like the difference in activities.
Log In Early: Always arrive early to your own meeting so that you can doublecheck technology and be there to answer any questions one on one with meeting participants.
Communicate Clearly: If you were to lose internet access, communicate a phone number to call or a time the meeting would be rescheduled. Talk about expectations for participation. Err on the side of over-communication.
Expect Improvement: It will get better. Even if you’re a year and a half into this, it will still get better. So be patient and continue to grow relationships with your employees and clients to increase comfort during virtual meetings.
Plan your next virtual meeting with positivity in mind. Then, you can have collaborative, motivating meetings from remote locations. If you focus on learning from each other and growing in a diversity of opinions, you can foster an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable sharing no matter the gateway.