Virtual meetings are more relevant to small business success than ever before. Every entrepreneur should be skilled at coordinating and managing remote meetings quickly and efficiently. In this article, successful entrepreneur Adam Ferrari shares tips that will help you master running productive virtual meetings.
1. Train Yourself to Be A Video Chat Tool Expert
There are myriad online meeting tools available today, many of which are free with excellent support features. Research the available platforms and choose one that is user friendly and will allow you to always present a professional and efficient image in putting together meetings. Get familiar with your platform’s online support system in the event of any technical issues that arise.
2. Plan and Set a Definite Agenda
Every business meeting should have a set and understandable schedule, and this planning phase is especially important for virtual meetings. It is more difficult for participants to pick up on nonverbal cues and other communication guidelines in a remote meeting, and a clear agenda helps to ensure that meetings do not drag on longer than needed and do not miss covering essential topics.
3. Set Time for Each Essential Participant to Ask Questions and Provide Feedback
This is another area where the unique circumstances of virtual meetings make actively checking in with every participant important. Without prompting from the leader of the meeting, someone may not feel empowered to add individual comments or ask important questions. Make it a point to be sure that every participant has the opportunity to speak when prompted.
4. Be Selective and Thoughtful When Inviting Attendees
Nothing frustrates meeting attendees more than realizing that they have no real reason to be part of a meeting and that they have nothing to add to the discussion. Think carefully about the purpose of every meeting and who should or should not be directly involved in the actual meeting. You can easily send the minutes and details of a meeting to those who will not benefit from direct involvement later.
5. Prohibit Multitasking
Virtual meetings are especially susceptible to participants using their tablet or phone during the meeting for activities not relevant to the meeting. Simply putting a clear and polite rule in place will normally keep most participants focused on the job at hand.
6. Keep Meetings Moving and to the Point
Keep things simple and stick to your agenda. Handouts and visual materials can usually be sent in advance to keep meetings moving efficiently. Manage conversations and stay away from allowing individual participants to monopolize the meeting or get off-topic.
7. Conclude with a Recap and Assignment of Action Items
Participants in meetings are usually looking for clues that meetings are reaching their conclusion. Use your agenda to recap important items quickly. Also, use individualized action items and responsibilities at the end of the meeting to set defined expectations from each participant.
8. Train Participants to Use Audio Functions Correctly
Unlike sitting around a conference table, virtual meetings include a live microphone for every participant. Make sure that every attendee understands how to mute their microphone when they are not actively speaking. Breathing, barking dogs, and passing traffic from multiple microphones create a very distracting environment.
9. Set Reasonable Expectations from Team Members Regarding Attire
One of the significant benefits of remote work is the (sometimes very) relaxed need for business attire. However, participants in a virtual meeting do not help the meeting atmosphere if they attend in pajamas or a wrinkled t-shirt. While you are not likely to expect formal business attire, make sure that your expectations regarding appropriate dress and appearance are clearly defined.
About Adam Ferrari
Adam Ferrari is the founder of the Denver-based mineral acquisitions company Ferrari Energy. He is a chemical engineer by degree and is an accomplished petroleum engineer by profession. He also has experience in the financial sector through his work at an investment banking firm. Under his leadership, his company has supported numerous charitable organizations including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Freedom Service Dogs, Denver Rescue Mission, Coats for Colorado, and Next Steps of Chicago.