We are all dealing with new ways of working these days and as we embark on engaging more frequently in the digital arena, virtual meetings have now become a norm — even for sectors and teams where that is not ordinarily the case. As such, we want to ensure that you and your team feel prepared, and that meetings can continue to be joyful and effective.
Here are some simple ideas to support you and your team.
First of all – do all the things that make ANY meetings effective
Schedule in advance
Check your team’s calendar and schedule meetings in ahead of time. Pick a time that is mutually convenient for everyone who is meant to attend.
Assess how much time you actually need
The default setting for most of our calendars is 1 hour, but first assess: do you really need an hour? Or, you need more than an hour? Make sure the amount of time you’re scheduling matches the agenda..
Speaking of agendas, have one
We are all busy and have lots on our plates – so make sure that you know what you’re covering in each meeting, and either put that agenda directly in the meeting invitation or go over it at the beginning of the meeting so everyone is clear on what’s being covered.
Be clear about next steps: Make sure to end the meeting with deliverables and next steps, when those things are due, and who is responsible.
5 Tips Especially for Remote Meetings
It’s not just what you say… it’s how you say it
Be conscientious of your tone (especially if offscreen) and body language (if video is on). Research says that 55% of communication is body language, while another 38% is tone of voice – we read a lot from what is “unsaid”!
Everyone can tell when you’re multi-tasking. Yes, when dialing in from the biggest distracting tools (phones and computers), it can be tempting to check email quickly or respond to that whatsapp message. But treat this like any other face-to-face meeting, and stay focused.
Start with a checkin and end with a burst
These connectivity rituals can be even more important during a time where we’re working remotely. While this may not be necessary for a shorter, more tactical meeting, err on the side of taking the time to continue to strengthen culture.
Pass the baton
If you’re doing a go-around where everyone should answer – ask the person speaking to pick the next person so that sharing happens efficiently.
“Oh sorry, I was on mute”
If you’re taking the call from somewhere quiet, no need to keep your mute button on, as people often forget or take time to “unmute” themselves. However, if there’s a lot of background noise where you are, please stay muted unless you’re speaking.
Extra Bonus section… some special tips for using Zoom
Seen and heard!
Use headphones to prevent interference, and use video (not just audio) if possible, at least at the start of the meeting. If you want to see everyone at once, you can switch to gallery view in upper right corner.
Share your screen
Depending on what you’re covering, you may find it useful to share your screen. However, don’t forget to close out when you’re done sharing!
Break-out of the norm
Did you know that you can create break-out rooms (how to use breakout rooms) on Zoom? If you need to do a turn-and-talk, or separate a larger group into smaller ones, this feature can be particularly useful
And… don’t get caught playing “conference call Bingo”!