Many university and college campuses are closing and sending their employees and students home to complete all or part of their studies due to COVID-19. This is the opportune time to learn new ways to collaborate with colleagues and team members. Virtual meetings can seem daunting if you’re not used to presenting from home, but CampusLogic is here to help! We've compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you become a pro when it comes to conducting virtual meetings.
Before a Meeting
Conduct research. First, determine the number of attendees and the message you’re conveying. This will help you choose which video conferencing software is best for you. Each video conferencing software has advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s crucial to do research on cost, attendee limitations, and document sharing tools.
Be prepared. When hosting a virtual meeting, always have an agenda, just like in a physical meeting. This guides the meeting in the right direction while limiting off-topic conversations. Pro Tip: Include the agenda in the invite you send to your attendees, so your audience is more likely to come prepared with questions. Nothing better than too many questions!
During a Meeting
Encourage early dialogue. Get on the meeting early to talk to attendees as they join and chat about their personal and professional updates for the first five minutes. This will create an early dialogue and reduce stress for the attendees who are not used to virtual meetings. Because it can be stressful! Also make sure to start the meeting on time. Starting your meeting on time shows you take the topics seriously and value your attendees’ time. Additionally, suggest that everyone turn on their cameras; when cameras are turned on, the chance of distraction is decreased, and it encourages participation among attendees. Believe it or not, your co-workers also want to see your pretty face. Pro Tip: If you wouldn’t do it in a physical meeting, don’t do it in a virtual meeting.
Transparency is key. Many people are struggling to balance the separation between work and home life in the same environment. Don't worry, balancing family and work is difficult even for tenured virtual pros! Communicate to your attendees that your children are home—or your home assistant is your dog—and that the meeting may not be interruption-free. By setting the scene early in the meeting, no one will be caught off-guard if Fido decides to make a surprise appearance. We've all had those moments, and especially now that most of us are working from home, everyone is pretty understanding.
Encourage engagement. Keeping co-workers engaged during virtual meetings can be difficult. It’s helpful to ask others to lead different parts of the agenda prior to the meeting. When other team members own various agenda topics, it adds dimension and encourages engagement and participation. Sometimes attendees are quiet in virtual meetings because it’s hard to tell if they are going to interrupt someone else. Try going around the group and asking specific co-workers for insights. This ensures more participation from everyone, and it gives those who may be more hesitant to speak a designated opportunity to share with the group. Pro Tip: Provide two attendees each a question to ask during the meeting to get the dialogue started. This is a great way to spark other questions.
Ask for instant feedback. Throughout your meeting, ask for comments, questions, votes, polls, etc., after each topic to keep the conversation going. After all, communication is key! Pro Tip: Not all video conferencing software has every feedback tool, so be sure to research the capabilities that will be essential for you.
Concluding a Meeting
Open up the conversation. About ten minutes before the meeting concludes, provide an opportunity for conversation and questions. Be sure you give your team the chance to share their thoughts and suggestions about your meeting topic. This is a great way to ensure everything is resolved in the meeting room—and doesn’t devolve into separate conversations.
Create accountability. Ending the meeting on time can be as important as starting the meeting on time. Conclude with a review of the next steps and decide who is responsible for making the project come to life. Be sure to send out a recording of the meeting to all attendees, as this is a great way to review the content that was covered. Pro Tip: Want to make sure the content is valuable and topics are relevant for your attendees? Send out a survey and encourage attendees to take it at the end of the meeting.
Welcome to cloud-based meetings! When you use the tips and tricks we’ve outlined above, you’ll be a pro at conducting virtual meetings.