3 Guidelines for Immediate Improvement in Virtual Meetings

3 Guidelines for Immediate Improvement in Virtual Meetings

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Author: Rodney Ray

When was the last time you tuned out during an online or over-the-phone meeting? Whether any of us want to admit it or not, we have all been guilty of making up an answer on the spot because our minds were wandering on a call. But what could be the reason for these mental absences? 

Here are a few possible explanations: 
  • No clear purpose and/or objectives
  • Too long or too much content
  • Irrelevant content
  • One-way communication

These are some of the most common problems with many, if not most, meetings. As we move more and more towards virtual settings, people do more than just tune out, they multitask and may not pay attention at all. The good news is that you can take steps to help avoid pitfalls and foster more productive meetings.

Running an effective virtual meeting shares many of the same best-practice guidelines as running in-person meetings. The bottom line is that most meeting organizers just don’t do these things. But, if you begin following these three best practices diligently, you will see improvement in ALL of your meetings, both virtual and in person!

Have targeted outcomes and an agenda for every meeting.

This should already be happening for in-person meetings, and is non-negotiable for effective remote meetings. Be clear on what you expect to accomplish, and map the agenda to those targeted outcomes. Just as importantly, you must manage discussion based on the agenda and towards expected outcomes. Capture (parking lot) off-topic items or overly-detailed topics for additional offline discussion, then get back to the agenda!

Engage your attendees.

Effective remote meetings can be run with nothing more than slides and a phone call, if that is all you have. Engage people ahead of the meeting by having them submit questions or read through related documentation. During the meeting, ask questions, and call on people by name, especially those who tend to be less vocal. At the end, agree to and distribute the next steps! Of course, more sophisticated conferencing software is commonplace now. Make the most of these types of tools to further engage your audience via video conferencing, polls, surveys, whiteboard sharing, etc.

Don’t have a meeting if you can handle it another way.

Be efficient with people’s time. Often meetings are thrown together as a knee-jerk solution to a problem. Ask yourself if there are other alternatives. Can you leverage time on a recurring meeting? Can you discuss offline using internal social media or another collaborative forum? Can you create a shared document and make use of comment features to tag people and assign tasks? Or can you just email the team for input and feedback?

Again, these best practices are the foundation for ALL types of effective meetings, and are indispensable for meetings held online. The good news is that you can use these techniques right now to begin seeing immediate improvement! Questions?

Canidium wants to help you get the most out of your business operations. The majority of Canidium's employees are remote and the others have opportunities to WFH on a regular basis. We will continue to share best practices with the intention of making the transition easier on companies who are currently going through organizational change. Read our blog about making field sales reps more productive, even when they're out of the field by clicking the link! 

Not sure how to implement these changes or have other questions? Contact us by clicking the button below. One of our experts can provide a free consultation to help you get the most ROI out of your sales force at a time when it's a priority to offset the effects
of COVID-19. 

Blog by Rodney Ray, Sr. Manager of the Learning Program at Canidium
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