The current professional environment necessitates virtual meetings in an effort to keep businesses moving forward in a safe and productive manner. Communication and networking via remote meetings requires a different modus operandi than traditional meetings. Here are tips for hosting a successful remote meeting.
Choose Reliable Tools
Video conferencing tools are available to link participants with audio and visual connections. Choose a reliable service that supports all invited attendees. Send clear instructions within the body of the invitation and promote early attendance to ensure everything runs smoothly. The instructions should include specific login criteria and information for attendees to quickly and easily join the meeting. If requesting or recommending that guests use a virtual background, send links with the suggestion.
Set Agendas and Expectations
Preparation for a remote meeting is vital. First, make sure that a meeting is actually required. If the message could be communicated via email or phone, do not plan a virtual meeting to discuss it. Some inconsiderate hosts assume that attendees have time for meaningless or redundant discussion simply because they are working from home.
Circulate a pre-meeting agenda and provide an opportunity for comments and suggestions. Set expectations within the agenda and stick to topics at hand. If the course of the remote meeting should veer off topic, consider the relevance and bring the attendees back to focus. Do not let meetings wander uncontrollably off-course. Virtual meetings should be productive and efficient for all involved.
Practice Remote Etiquette
During the meeting, a few tried and true tips from expert hosts should be taken under advisement. The host who expects attendees to behave properly during a remote meeting should model the same behavior they anticipate. Some basic rules of etiquette include:
- Be punctual
- Be prepared
- Mute cell phones and electronic devices
- Avoid physical distractions (pets, family members, etc.)
- Limit unnecessary movements
Productive remote meetings depend on the participation of all involved. Participants who remain engaged and stick to the stated agenda will gain value. Side discussions or off topic distractions should be avoided. Simple small talk and pleasantries at the time of introductions is acceptable, but this should not last more than a few minutes for the sake of time.