As someone who regularly attends work meetings, there is a certain expectation about what you will get from the person chairing the meeting.
I thought this was the perfect time to share some tips on important elements to include in a virtual meeting. It can be difficult when you have people working from home and in the office. It is important to include everyone.
Being able to see and hear
Whilst I don’t think implementing a rule is a way to go, suggesting that people interact in the meeting is the best way forward. Being able to see and hear helps with communication and body language.
Booking the correct meeting room
Avoid overlaps in room bookings, so you can ensure a timely start to the meeting. The room also needs to have the equipment you will need to ensure the meeting runs smoothly. Arrange to view the room in advance, or check the details before booking.
This is my motto for life and the point of this blog. Every detail does make a difference. If possible check the room and equipment beforehand.
If the equipment can incorporate virtual participants, fewer people will feel left out if those working from home are included.
Change start times
Changing the start times of regular meetings is a great way to ensure everyone is included, regardless of their working hours.
Its great businesses are adopting a more flexible way of working, but this may mean some people are left out if meetings only take place within core working hours.
Set ground rules at the start of the meeting
Ground rules are things like asking participants to put their phones on silent. Requesting people show up on time. Respecting other peoples’ right to speak and their opinions.
The person chairing the meeting also shouldn’t start until everyone has arrived and is included.
Decide which project management took you will use
You can choose from any of the following:
Screen sharing on Teams
Get input from colleagues before the meeting
Creating a shared to-do list can make people feel included. It also lets everyone know what to expect in advance and will ensure people come to the meeting ready to participate.
The person chairing the meeting should conduct introductions, as people may not know each other. They should also lead activities, keep track of time and ensure everyone adheres to the topics. It is also important to ensure everyone has a chance to speak and participate.
Of course, there will be exceptions to this. Before starting a meeting, you don’t know whether people will go off-topic. How long responses from participants will be. You also cannot anticipate any outside factors which may occur and are completely out of everyone’s control.
Open up the chat functionality
We’ve all been there! Laptops where the mic or camera won’t work. It is important for anyone experiencing technical issues to feel included by typing their responses. This may also involve nominating a person to check and read out these replies to the group.
Nominating someone to take notes is important. You can then send notes and resources to participants via email and ensure anyone who would find the information helpful is included. These notes can also be used for future training purposes.
Some alternatives to a hybrid meeting
Not all messages need to be communicated via a meeting. We’ve all worked in a company where too many meetings take place and they become unproductive.
The benefits of sending your message in another format are:
Encouraging uninterrupted work
People can work at their own pace
Introverted team members casn provide their opinion at their leisure without feeling pressure to interact
Some people become overtired as a result of attending too many faces to face meetings. Therefore you would be reducing this fatigue
Avoiding employee burnout
Maybe you need to have a meeting or discussion, but you can tell people to turn off their cameras for this topic
Tools you can use to increase engagement without conducting a meeting:
Vote in a poll
Until next time
I hope you enjoyed reading this post.
What are your thoughts on virtual meetings vs face to face?
Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.