How to Lead a Successful Virtual Meeting

September 15, 2020
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2020 has been a year of change for a lot of us. We have all had to change a lot of our daily routines and habits. Our kids are going to school online, and our kitchen tables have become our new office. In such unprecedented times, we still need to keep things as normal as possible. Business meetings are a normal occurrence regardless of the field you are in. Now, of course, most meetings have to be held virtually. Keep reading to learn how to lead your team to success through virtual meetings.

Use Video

Being able to see each other helps create a sense of normalcy. When everyone is on the camera it holds them more accountable. It’s easy to stop paying attention in a meeting when you can simply mute your microphone and no one can actually see you. When working from home there will be a lot more around that can break focus, but at least you can all help keep each other on task.

Dial-In Option

Everyone’s Wifi and computer systems are different. Instead of counting on everyone’s systems working perfectly while they are at home, provide a sure-fire way they can participate in the meeting. Give a dial-in option for your employees to use instead of their computer’s audio. There is a lot of fantastic conference call software you can choose from.

Test It

Like I said before, working from home poses a challenge when it comes to how perfectly our systems and wifi want to work. Test the software and programs you need for your meeting before the actual meeting. This way you can work out any bugs and make sure it’ll be smooth sailing during the real meeting.

Keep It Business as Usual

Obviously, virtual meetings aren’t going to be exactly the same as in-person meetings. However, you should try your hardest to keep things as similar as possible. Expectations of yourself and your team should be the same. Create an agenda for the meeting. If a team member has some information they need to present, they should have everything ready to go for their portion of the meeting. Also, these presentations should have a set amount of time the presenter needs to stick to. Sticking to the agenda and not giving lengthy or drawn-out presentations helps everyone in the call focused. Outside distractions should be limited and an action plan should be ready to go.

Encourage Participation

During a virtual meeting, everyone should be able to speak and communicate their thoughts and opinions. However, these comments and conversations shouldn’t take over the whole meeting. Assign someone on the team to manage communication, whether this is through a group chat or actually asking and answering questions. This person can help conversations stay on task and keep everyone from delineating from the agenda. As the leader, you should also be actively calling on team members to share their ideas or thoughts. This also helps everyone feel like they are actually part of the meeting and not just sitting and listening to a lecture.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t expect everything to go perfectly according to plan. Yes, you should always prepare to the best of your ability for your meeting, but expecting it to all go perfect will just leave you disappointed. Leave room for errors or system issues during your meeting.

This is an unprecedented time for a lot of us. We are all learning and adapting every day to this new world we are living in. All we can do is make the best of our resources and work together to ensure that once this storm passes, we can get back to business as usual.