Workplaces are headed towards the work-from-home set-up, with companies gradually expanding to remote teams and investing in conferencing tools. The global pandemic, however, expedited workplace migration. City lockdowns and quarantines have forced offices to shut down their desktop computers and send employees to their makeshift home offices.
Now is the time to uphold best practices during meetings. There’s no room for dull and draggy presentations. In the world of virtual meetings, the more concise and chirpier, the better.
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Use Video but Prepare Back-Up
A video conference fosters a sense of belonging between the participants. Now more than ever, the facilitator must make people feel like they’re in the same meeting and forge a bond among the participants. A video call also makes the meeting more personal and keeps the participants engaged. It displays the facial expressions and body language of the participants — something taken for granted but extremely important, especially when discussing sensitive matters.
Video meetings, however, rest on a strong internet connection. Some people might encounter connectivity issues in the middle of a meeting. As such, use a platform that enables them to join via audio, so they can still listen to the conversation and pitch in ideas.
To continually improve virtual communication, capture feedback from your employees. Use a survey software to find out their apprehensions and concerns about the channels you currently use.
Uphold Meeting Best Practices — But Make It Snappier
Now is the time to follow best practices in conducting meetings. If your conventional meetings are fast and efficient, you must make virtual meetings even faster and more efficient.
- Set Ground Rules – A person acts as a facilitator, who will go through the agenda one by one. Meetings start on time and exhaust all the items on the checklist. If the meeting will take a while, the participants can go on a quick break. At the end of the meeting, the facilitator recites the points and outlines the next steps.
- Send the Agenda in Advance – Just like office meetings, people should receive a copy of the agenda in advance. This ensures that they have enough information about the topic that will be discussed and prepare to air any concerns they foresee.
- Invite the Right People – This becomes even more important during virtual meetings. You don’t want to include people who have nothing to do with the agenda; they’ll only take up time and (screen) space that could have been allocated to people who are really involved in the meeting.
Make It More Personal with Small Talk
This is where virtual meetings deviate from ones held in the office. You’re compensating for face-to-face communication, so the facilitator must put in more effort to make everyone feel they belong. So, a bit of small talk won’t hurt.
Ask everybody how they’re coping with work-from-home. Take the time to introduce everyone, too. The video camera doesn’t show everyone’s face — some have display icons, and some can connect only through the audio. You can also start with ice breaker questions, just to make everyone feel more connected.
Most of the time tracking software, the best practices in office meetings apply to virtual ones. However, video conference calls require a bit more creativity to keep everyone engaged, connected, and productive.