Many companies, both large and small, are adopting remote work strategies that have become increasingly more successful over the years. For some companies, working remote can increase productivity, reduce costs and boost employee morale. The option to avoid a long commute and a stuffy cubical has great appeal for employees. When appropriate, giving employees the option to complete tasks in their home environment may encourage them to be more productive. It also offers freedom and flexibility as well as a sense of work-life integration. As business owners opt to permit more remote working, it is important to ensure effective communication and follow through with consistent virtual meetings, webinars, conferences and presentations. No matter what industry you’re in, or the size of your company, leading a productive and effective meeting – whether it is virtually or in-person – is critical. Virtual meetings can be extremely beneficial to a company if executed properly. Check out these tips:
It is always crucial to set the tone for the meeting. Make sure that your participants are fully aware of the expectations in advance and lay out a timeline of topics to cover so that you don’t end the meeting feeling unfulfilled. Who will lead? What is the agenda? What is the end goal? These are questions that need to be well thought out before the meeting takes place. Laying the groundwork for the meeting will virtually always give you a better result.
Throughout the meetings, encourage your participants to get involved. Employees will be more engaged in the meeting if they have the freedom to provide their thoughts and suggestions throughout. One tactic for a successful conference is to have each participant begin by stating what tasks they’ve been working on, what tasks they’ve been struggling with, and how they plan to overcome it. This practice creates engagement and is especially important if the goal of the meeting is to brainstorm ideas.
The key to participating in a virtual meeting is to stay focused. Remember – you are in a meeting! Give your full attention to everyone involved, as you would if you were physically in the same room. Sustain from checking your email, phone or surfing on the web. Take notes and be prepared to speak and answer questions. If you are on a Skype or video call, make sure that you are consistently looking directly at the camera and making eye contact. This assures that the person speaking is receiving your full attention and avoids frustration. Remember to remain poised and professional, even if you are in the comfort of your own home.
Virtual meetings do not share the same physical aspects as face-to-face meetings and it may be hard to read the body language or facial expression of a participant, especially if this is a conference call. Because they do not share the same level of external visibility, it is crucial to share a recap or “meeting minutes” after the meeting has concluded. This will help to identify the next steps and plans for moving forward.
Building a team that can successfully host a virtual meeting can take some time, but once the kinks are worked out, there is something unique about creating a virtual environment where creative ideas can come to life. With the best practices in place, you can accomplish any goal, even when working from many different areas.