8 Tips on How to Run Effective and Engaging Virtual Meetings
Virtual meetings are all the rave these days as more and more people opt for a hybrid or fully remote work experience. 70% of professionals would forfeit their benefits to continue working from home, demonstrating the staying power that remote opportunities hold over the population. But whether you want to host a two-hour workshop or a 10-minute catchup, doing it online is accessible, simple, and cost-effective. Here, you’ll learn all about remote meetings, including tips on how to make them more engaging and valuable for your team.
A virtual meeting is a form of online communication that allows people worldwide to interact in a virtual environment rather than at a physical location. While in-person sites often limit how many people can attend due to safety concerns or a lack of space, virtual meetings can accommodate an unlimited number of people.
Gone are the days when an overflowing conference room meant some people had to listen from the hallway. Virtual meetings often avoid the typical disadvantages of traditional collaboration and help bridge the communication gap between digital nomads and in-person individuals. Whether you work with a hybrid, in-office, or fully remote team, no one has to be left out ever again.
While many positive qualities make virtual meetings attractive (e.g., 52% productivity increase, faster real-time communication, global connection, greater flexibility, etc.), it is not a completely faultless system. Like most things, there are a few pitfalls to consider when conducting online meetings. Here are the most common mistakes professionals and companies make when running remote meetings:
Regarding boosting engagement, it’s challenging to identify KPIs and metrics to help you determine if your audience is fully tuned in. Still, there are actions you can take to provide a high-value virtual meeting. Here are eight tips on how to improve virtual meetings:
Throughout the meeting, people might have questions to ask. While modest regulation is necessary to keep the meeting flow from being completely disrupted, allow attendees to inquire about key points as they come up if they are confused or need further clarification.
Give your attendees something to do that makes them feel involved–like active participants in the meeting. When assigning roles, you could have someone take meeting minutes while another person chairs the meeting to ensure it stays on track.
Try only including relevant people in the meeting to avoid overcrowding the virtual meeting space. Unnecessary overcrowding can lead to conversational clutter and reduces the opportunity for key figures to share their ideas.
High-quality content makes the meeting enjoyable, especially when you want your team members to engage more. You can include different content to help your audience understand the meeting’s purpose, such as photos, documents, videos, and graphs. Ensure your attendees can access this content for later viewing.
You don’t want the meeting to sound robotic, flat, or stiff in real-time collaboration. This can cause your attendees to become bored or disinterested in the discussion. Keep the meeting from getting too sidetracked, but allow it to flow more organically rather than strictly by your agenda. The agenda should serve as a guide that sets general meeting expectations.
Disruptions, big and small, can take participants out of the meeting and cause them to lose focus. If you notice background noises, technical issues, or any other kind of problem impeding the virtual event, address them as soon as possible.
At the end of the meeting, summarize all the action points that were discussed or agreed upon. Reiterate upcoming deliverables, ensure everyone understands their due dates, and inform them when the next meeting will be.
At the end of a really productive meeting, it’s often a good idea to ask for substantive feedback from your audience. Sparing time for your team members to share their opinions can help improve online meetings, making them more high-value and meaningful.
Unsure of how to prepare for your virtual meeting? Here are a few steps you can take to get ready like a pro:
As the meeting host, starting and ending a virtual meeting should be easy, but there are several ways you could go about it. Here are a few solutions that might work best for your needs:
Aside from starting on time, there are three ways you can kick off a virtual meeting. The first and most common way is casual conversation or light small talk (e.g., asking someone how their weekend was). Second are self-introductions, allowing you and your team members to share a little about themselves. This method is especially great for introducing new employees to the team. Another way to start an online meeting is with icebreakers, simple games, activities, or fun questions that create a comfortable atmosphere and help foster a sense of community.
Abruptly ending a meeting is unceremonious and leaves no room for further discourse with your team. Include a closing round after the last topic on the meeting agenda, so attendees know when it’s their chance to ask questions, bring up concerns, and gain further insight into what was discussed. Out of courtesy, you should also acknowledge your members and briefly thank them for their contribution to the team. Lastly, try to end on time, if possible.
The best virtual meetings can engage an audience, encourage meaningful discourse, and offer a positive and collaborative atmosphere. While issues can occur at no fault of your own, careful preparation will ensure you can mitigate those obstacles and run a successful online meeting.
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Generally, most virtual meetings should only last between 30 minutes to an hour. However, there is no proper ideal duration for a virtual meeting. How long it lasts depends on your personal needs. After creating your meeting agenda, it’ll be easier to determine how much time you need to reserve.
The best way to make your meeting interactive is by including elements that encourage participation and engagement, such as a Q&A session, icebreakers, games, interactive content, and fun chat features (e.g., emojis).
To ensure your virtual meeting is efficient, plan it out beforehand, organize your resources, verify everything is working, and execute it according to your agenda. If you encounter problems, it’ll be easier to address them swiftly since you’ve already planned the meeting.
The purpose of a virtual meeting is to allow people in different places to connect and interact within a digital environment. Whether a company operates fully remotely, hybrid, or has employees working in another state or abroad, remote meetings help everyone communicate privately and in real time from the comfort of their homes.