Make your next virtual meeting productive and engaging with these tips.
Hosting a virtual meeting can be a daunting task if you’re gathering an important audience. You want to ensure that the meeting serves its purpose and remains productive and worth every attendee’s time.
For sure, you already know how crucial it is to have a strong Internet connection and to set up at a location with minimal background noise. But what else can you do to ensure that your attendees are engaged all throughout and you achieve the goals of the meeting?
We listed down action items that will help you make your virtual meeting a success at every stage.
Pre-meeting: Schedule and prepare
1. Schedule the meeting ahead of time
Virtual or not, the first step to a successful meeting is finding a schedule that works for everyone. Suggest a time and date at least 3 business days in advance and make sure to block off your attendees’ schedules by sending a calendar invite. This way, you stay proactive and give your attendees ample time to organize their week accordingly.
2. Send a clear agenda and have some ground rules
Send a list of meeting activities so your attendees know what to expect. Include what the expected output at the end of the meeting is so people can prepare. Also, set some ground rules that will answer pre-meeting FAQs like “Is there a need to open our cameras?” or “Will there be a Q&A session?”.
Most hosts get so caught up with their own preparations that they forget their attendees need time to prepare, too.
3. Open your meeting files
If you are presenting, it’s best to have your files ready prior to joining the meeting room. This allows you to quickly open your presentation/s and share any files you may have used as a reference or source. This keeps the meeting moving along at a good pace.
Meeting time: Focus and have fun
4. Take some time to break the ice
The first two to three minutes of every virtual meeting is usually spent waiting for attendees to be completed. Maximize this time by making small talk with the first people to join. Don’t forget to greet people as they come in, too.
It’s important that you start the meeting on a positive note so everyone feels comfortable.
5. Introduce participants to each other
If you have attendees from different departments or organizations, encourage them to introduce themselves so they feel involved from the get-go.
For meetings with large audiences though, it becomes the host’s responsibility to do the introductions. This will help your attendees be acquainted and understand the role they play in the meeting.
6. Focus and stay on track
Follow the agenda and keep your meeting within the agreed time. This shows respect for your attendees, who also juggle virtual meetings daily.
7. Reserve the last 10 minutes to align on the next steps
Before closing the meeting, make sure to recap all important points, agree on deadlines, and distribute action items among members. If possible, determine also if there’s a need for a follow-up session.
Post-meeting: Align on next steps and express gratitude
8. Send a thank you email and share meeting files
Express your gratitude for everyone’s time and send a thank you email after the meeting. This is also the best way to send the minutes and remind them of the next session if you need to. You can also take this as an opportunity to share relevant files and request feedback from your participants.
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