With most of us working remotely from home, now, more than ever, are we aware that meetings are and will always be an essential part of corporate life. Similar to in-person meetings, effective virtual meetings are interesting, high-energy events where team members work together to make decisions or solve problems which motivate us to work more efficiently.
With people working at home, more teams are catching up over virtual meetings these days, though it doesn’t mean that it is always productive. Retaining people’s attention for a prolonged period over video conferencing can be quite challenging with people ending up feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted at times.
We need to find ways for meetings to be intentional, energizing and productive to deliver real, tangible results for the organization. The question is how can you effectively lead an effective team meeting?
Here are some ideas on how you can effectively lead meetings that are productive and beneficial for everyone involved:
- Carefully select who needs to attend
Not everyone in your team needs to attend every single meeting. Before you send out an invitation for a video conferencing call, think about who should be participating in the meeting and why they should be there. Be intentional. The meeting topic should be relevant to every person in the call. It’s not about filling the room. Choose people based on how they can contribute to the success of the meeting or project that will be discussed. People are busy so don’t think about just filling the room. Choose people who you know will make the most contribution.
- Create a Clear Purpose for the Meeting
It goes without saying that every meeting should have a clear purpose whether it’s a regularly-scheduled update meeting or a meeting to discuss a specific project or issue. This purpose should be stated upfront and communicated to the meeting participants ahead of time.
Circulate the agenda beforehand, so that participants can take notes and gather relevant information to make the best use of the meeting time. When the purpose of the meeting is clear, the participants will be more engaged, know what to prepare beforehand and understand the desired outcomes of the meeting.
- Start and End on Time
No one likes waiting for meetings to start and then having to reschedule when meetings overrun. Set a schedule and stick to it where possible. Consistently run meetings that start and end on time so that your team members will know what to expect. Once you establish a clear purpose and set the agenda, you will have a sense of how long the meeting should last. Remember not to go beyond the schedule you initially announced.
- Let Them Talk
Give your participants a chance to express themselves. When appropriate, give the group the time and freedom to share individual perspectives and bounce though off of one another. Allowing time for discussions, insights, and feedback is a great way to show that you value the opinions of your team.
- End Meetings with Clear Action Items
Wrapping up meetings is a critical aspect of leading meetings. At the end of the meeting, summarize the key takeaways and reiterate the specific tasks that the participants need to complete and the timeframe they have to complete it. Include these action items in the meeting notes, and follow up on the status of the action items the next time the group comes together.
- Ensure Everyone has the Right Tools
Having the right tools will ensure that your meeting participants can remain focused during the discussion. Try to limit technical difficulties by making sure that your team members know what they need to do and have the tools that they need to do it.
Here are additional considerations to keep in mind for successful remote team meetings:
- Ensure that everyone has access to the meeting software or link. Use an online calendar to ensure that everyone can see the meeting and attend.
- Remember to consider the timezones when selecting a time for a remote meeting if you are expecting someone from another country or a different timezone to join the meeting.
- Familiarize yourself with your organization’s meeting platform. Whether you are using Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or any other software, practice beforehand to know the available navigational tools and to minimize any technical issues during the call.
- Make Time to Have Fun
If you find that meetings are slow to get going or are becoming stale, it might be time to change up your environment. Add variety to your meetings by inviting guest speakers, running team-building activities or celebrating team achievements or milestones.
It’s good to have fun and unwind with the team every once in a while. With the holiday season coming up, why not organize a virtual holiday party to give your team members the chance to relax and reconnect with co-workers?
Here are a few virtual holiday party ideas that you can check out:
- Dress up in holiday costumes
Get into the holiday spirit with people with the right outfit. Even if the team is not together, seeing the team put effort into picking fun costumes is a great way to make your virtual meetings more exciting.
- Play virtual holiday bingo
Bingo is a fun and easy game to play whether offline or online. To save you time, you can also look for holiday-themed bingo templates online.
- Send goodie boxes to your team
Send a box of goodies to your team members at least one week before your virtual party, so that you can enjoy it together when you finally meet up. You can send cookies, candy, a mug and fun holiday hats or accessories to get everyone in a party mood!