10 Principles for Productive Virtual Meetings
Virtual meetings are the lifeblood of businesses. A lot of employees now spend a significant amount of their time talking to offsite teams, meeting with a slew of remote employees for training, project collaborations and more. But what does it really take to run a productive one? Here’s what we think:
Imagine you’ve failed
Fast Company says business guru Guy Kawasaki starts off the meeting, asking his team: what if we failed? Then they’ll explore all the possible reasons it did. That’s how he pushes his team to imagine every likely scenario and compels them to think up of a solution to fix the issues. By being prepared for anything, he and his team can run productive meetings and successful campaigns.
Make them laugh
One way to get people to loosen up and think out of the box is to rely on humor to achieve that. This also improves the way your team views your leadership. When you make people smile and laugh, you get to warm up the room and they are more likely to listen to you than if you. It improves the level of respect and esteem your colleagues give you.
If you’re going to a meeting, be there in mind and spirit. Make sure you contribute something, whether it’s a plan of action or insight. You could also start questions and give the rest of the group a good place to start. Don’t log into that meeting, only to clock out mentally.
Meet new people
Use those meetings as a stepping stone to new ones. Don’t leave a meeting unless you get the names of at least two new people you can meet that. This is a good tip for those who are just starting out in the business and want to build up an excellent network of connections and clients in the business.
Get the right technology
You can hardly do anything if you don’t invest in the right technology in the first place. Good thing companies like BlueJeans and their business video conferencing software for IT can step in and save the day. With the right technology to back you up, you and your remote teams can get down to business in no time. This is more cost-effective than trying to fly everyone into the same city or back to HQ when you have teams dispersed all over the world. Employees have no need to leave their desks. They can recruit new hires, offer training and meet up for project updates and discussions all via virtual meetings.
This can be the bane of productive meetings. How can you expect your audience to participate in any meaningful way and provide you with great ideas when their attention aren’t fully engaged? By investing in video tools and technology, you can eliminate multitasking in meetings because people can see you. Compare that to audio conferences and you’ve got a much better way of increasing your team’s productivity level with video meetings, says the Harvard Business Review.
Prepare the programs
Be prepared. You might be ready for your presentation only to take forever to find the right program, video clip or file. Don’t waste your time and everyone else’s. Get everything you need—from programs to apps, files, documents and other materials—ready in a folder or already open and in pause. That way, when the right moment comes, all you’d need to do is hit play. Do this for your machine as well. If it takes you considerable time to reboot your machine before it gets going, then do all that in advance so it won’t cut into your meeting.
Know your tools
If something goes down, make sure you’ve got basic troubleshooting skills to get things back up and running. Nothing worse than delaying a meeting with potential investors or clients just because you have to call in your IT expert to fix everything.
If you have any inkling that you’ll be spending your time arguing or debating certain issues with people in the upcoming meeting, then do your best to plan ahead. Cover all the points you want to convey. And stay calm. A steady head on your shoulders will be invaluable in addressing and fixing those issues.
Rely on video
Using video is also a big help. With clear HD visuals, you and the people on the other end of the camera can see each other’s body language, postures and expressions. So it’s easier to get a gauge on what they think when you present your ideas or points to the group. It gives you an idea if they’re going to say aye or nay.
So keep these 10 principles in mind. Treat the list as a handy guide to ensure your next meetings are much more productive than ever.