It’s no surprise that, given the events of the last few weeks, more and more businesses are moving online. Thanks to modern technology, there is no end to the tools you can find to continue to communicate effectively, despite being at home. But what makes virtual meetings successful?
Keep it simple
First and foremost, identify what tools are right for your business and stick to it. It’s easy to get swept up and overwhelmed with the amount of technology that is on offer, opting for too many platforms and things becoming unclear to your team.
When choosing a service, think ‘small’. The most efficient video conferences come from those that only use the technology that is necessary: if you’re a smaller business, you may only need a service such as Skype or Zoom (which has free options) in order to keep in touch. There’s no need to pay over the odds for technology that you don’t need!
Use a ‘virtual watercooler’
On a normal day at the office, it’s inevitable that we end up having a chat with our colleagues in the staff room when making a cuppa or grabbing something to eat. Trying to maintain this semblance of normality will help your team become more comfortable using digital channels (and feel less awkward too!) Making time for casual conversation as well as work-related chat keeps everyone feeling engaged with the team and with work tasks, as well as keeping them all-important relationships going.
Be sure to follow up
Remote working is a new concept to many, and some things can get lost or misconstrued in a way they wouldn’t in most face-to-face meetings. Make sure that everyone leaves the meeting knowing exactly what their objectives are, who they need to speak to if they are unclear of anything, and where they can reach their manager. Send a follow up email or message to reinforce this – much like you would with ordinary meetings.
Distractions can easily cause meetings to run off course. Make sure all participants are in a quiet room, with proper internet connection and headphones. If it’s an important meeting with one person doing the majority of the talking, it’s worth asking everyone to mute their microphones so that the sound doesn’t cut out.
Again, much like a normal meeting, creating and sticking to an agenda is very helpful in minimising distractions in virtual meetings, and prevents them from running on for too long. Agendas become even more important in digital meetings, as we are going without the social cues we usually take from face to face contact.
Make sure everyone has video turned on
Phone calls are great for solving quick queries, but for anything that requires more time and concentration, video chats are the way to. The temptation may be there for some people to leave their camera turned off and only chime in with audio, but encourage everyone to have their video on. Not only does this help you feel more engaged with your team while you’re talking, but it also holds people accountable for paying attention and interacting with the meeting, and resist the urge to multi-task while on a call!
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