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Episode 10: Tips on Conducting a Productive Virtual Meeting


By now, most of us have adjusted to having or attending virtual meetings, but not all meetings are equal in terms of efficiency. Today I will talk about standards, best practices, and guidelines for virtual meetings – including deciding whether a meeting is even the right decision for a given discussion.

My guidance covers eight main areas:

1 – Platform and training: There are several products for virtual meetings out there besides Zoom. When you’re the one hosting a meeting, it’s up to you to research the best options for your team, in terms of ease of use, security, and more. Once you make your choice, communicate this decision to your organization. Be sure to train your teams on the product so everyone can work efficiently. Create use policies and training materials, so expectations are clear.

2 – Learn to say no if needed: It’s become common for “Let’s have a Zoom meeting on this” to be people’s first thought, but there’s only so much time in the day. Just like you would weigh the need for a meeting in person, think about the outcome of meetings before immediately saying yes.

3 – Audit your tech: Look at the technology you’re using for meetings. Is your internet connection still sufficient, now that you rely on it more than ever? Is your PC up for the additional virtual tasks you need it to be? Look at what you have and upgrade your hardware if it would improve your ability to connect with team members and clients.

4 – Decide when a meeting is needed: Similar to #2, we’ve quickly learned that a virtual meeting isn’t always required. When the meeting is with a large group within your team or with clients, it’s usually helpful for people to see each other, and a virtual meeting is the most efficient. But if a decision can be reached with a short phone call or email, you’ll save everyone time by opting out of a meeting.

5 – Have a plan: Knowing exactly what a meeting will be about going in is best for everyone. Create an agenda that includes who will be attending, plus the goals, purpose, and structure of the meeting, and send it to everyone in advance.

6 – Learn screen sharing best practices: Screen sharing is helpful, but it can slow down a meeting if not used correctly. Make sure anyone who plans to share their screen closes unnecessary apps, disables notifications, and is ready to present the moment the share begins. But even before that, decide if screen sharing is even needed. Can these materials be shared in advance instead? Knowing when to use screen sharing properly will make for more productive meetings.

7 – Socializing still matters: Virtual meetings aren’t only for doing business. Especially if your team members are used to seeing each other in person, having the option to socialize with each other is very important for team morale. Whether this means hosting virtual happy hours, sharing stories, or introducing people to a new pet, giving people this outlet is good for everyone.

8 – Take notes: Finally, you want to make sure everyone leaves the meeting with a clear understanding of the outcome. Whether you take them yourself or delegate to an assistant or other meeting attendee, well-written notes of action items should be distributed to attendees after the meeting concludes.

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