5 Virtual Meeting Tips for Remote and Hybrid Leaders

virtual meeting

Across seemingly every industry and vertical, remote and hybrid work have been continuing to rise in popularity for some time – and this was the case even long before the pandemic, as well. We've compiled a list of virtual meeting tips to help you maximize engagement, productivity, and collaboration in your remote and hybrid work environments.

A recent article by the MIT Sloan School of Management reports that "the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that around 27% of the U.S. workforce was working remotely at least part time as of August and September 2022, while a handful of academic surveys have suggested that the number is closer to 50%."

There are a number of reasons for this, but it is certainly due largely to advancements in technology and to people increasingly valuing flexibility and work-life balance when considering job opportunities. Remote work is not expected to subside anytime soon, either, as 85% of managers believe having teams with remote workers will eventually become the norm.

But despite the rising desire and need for remote work, collaboration, and communication have still been identified as the third-most common challenge among remote employees. This makes itself especially evident during virtual meetings when it can be easier for team members to get distracted or to tune out altogether.

As we set off into 2022 and prepare for another year of remote and hybrid work, it is ultimately up to business leaders to ensure all necessary parties within virtual meetings are engaged and that all essential messages are relayed and retained once the meeting ends. To that end, here are five tips for leading an effective virtual meeting to ensure your team’s communication and productivity are maximized this year and beyond.


Tip 1: Only Invite the Necessary Parties

The simple fact that a meeting is virtual can make it easy to want to invite more people than is necessary. However, this is one of the surest ways to derail a virtual meeting. If there are more people on the call than there needs to be, it limits participation and discourages people from speaking up.

According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, meeting size can impact responsibility, in that “the bigger the group, the less responsibility each individual feels to ensure success.”

Consider who absolutely needs to be involved in the discussion and invite them to the meeting. If there is no need for discussion in the first place, then the goal of the meeting could most likely be achieved via email – which is another key point of consideration in maximizing productivity.


Tip 2: Set Expectations Ahead of Time

Keeping the meeting on track and concise is essential, as research shows long video calls can drain fatigue. Sending an agenda ahead of time can help accomplish this by ensuring everyone knows what to expect and what will be discussed. Attendees can then add any items as needed and can also prepare talking points to align with the agenda. This helps make the most of everyone’s time during the call.

Revisit the agenda at the start of the meeting and then get to it – but be open to flexibility if new points come up that need to be discussed.


Tip 3: Use Video to Build Engagement

Relying strictly on audio to hold virtual group meetings can lend itself to a disconnect between attendees and to a lack of focus and engagement overall. Using high-quality video can help overcome this by making everyone feel like they are indeed at the same meeting and can keep participants engaged by relaying facial expressions and body language.


Tip 4: Stay On Track

If you want your attendees to stay focused and engaged throughout the meeting, it’s up to you as the leader to set the pace. A meeting host who is clearly distracted, reading other notifications, or asking attendees to repeat themselves is a great way to foster decreased engagement and involvement from everyone on the call. After all, why should they be engaged if you’re not?

Once the meeting starts, mute notifications, speak clearly, and ask for questions and additional thoughts throughout to show everyone you have a vested interest in the goal of the call – and that they should too.


Tip 5: Follow Up Immediately

Communicating verbal to-dos at the end of a call is important, as it gives everyone a chance to confirm, adjust, or ask any clarifying questions. But even when this happens, there is still a decent chance not everyone noted their follow-ups correctly (or at all).

Sending a follow-up email to all involved ensures everyone is aligned on what was covered and, more importantly, on what comes next.


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Q: What are some key challenges that remote and hybrid leaders often face during virtual meetings? 

A: Remote and hybrid leaders commonly face challenges such as maintaining participant engagement, managing technical glitches, handling time zone differences, fostering team collaboration, and ensuring clear communication. These challenges can impact the overall effectiveness of virtual meetings.

Q: How can remote and hybrid leaders effectively maintain participant engagement in virtual meetings? 

A: To maintain engagement, remote and hybrid leaders can encourage active participation by asking open-ended questions, incorporating interactive elements like polls or breakout sessions, using visual aids, and setting a clear agenda that outlines objectives and expectations for each meeting.

Q: What strategies can remote and hybrid leaders employ to enhance team collaboration during virtual meetings? 

A: Remote and hybrid leaders can improve collaboration by designating a facilitator to guide discussions, leveraging collaboration tools for real-time document sharing and brainstorming, promoting inclusivity by giving every team member a chance to speak, and fostering a culture of open communication and idea-sharing.

Q: How can remote and hybrid leaders effectively manage time zone differences for virtual meetings? 

A: To address time zone differences, leaders can use scheduling tools that display multiple time zones, rotate meeting times to accommodate different regions, record meetings for those who can't attend in real-time, and establish clear communication channels for updates and information sharing outside of meetings.

Q: What communication strategies should remote and hybrid leaders adopt to ensure clear understanding during virtual meetings? 

A: Remote and hybrid leaders can provide clear communication by encouraging concise and structured speaking, using visual aids like slides or screen sharing to reinforce points, summarizing critical takeaways at the end of the meeting, and fostering an environment where team members feel comfortable asking for clarifications or elaborations. Additionally, verbal communication, written summaries, and follow-up emails reinforce important points discussed during the meeting.

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