5 Virtual Meeting Tips for Remote and Hybrid Leaders
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. In fact, since 2009, the number of people working from home has risen by 159%, with 16% of all companies in the world now operating on a 100% remote basis.
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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