Top tips for virtual meetings

We want to hear from communities about their project ideas and, with the current government guidelines around social distancing, this will mean meeting and chatting online.

Hosting (or attending) a good virtual meet up isn’t always easy so we’ve put together some hints and tips to make sure you get the most out of them.

1.  Organise them well

Good organisation is the key to running effective virtual meetings. Here is a short list of things to get you started:

a)    Calendar appointments

Send out a calendar invite well in advance of the meeting and make sure your attendees confirm whether they can attend or not. This will help everyone to plan ahead. Make sure to add the meeting details and main talking points to your calendar content.

b)    Have a notification system

Set up your calendar invite to make sure everyone involved receive a notification at least 15 minutes before the meeting.

Like when meeting Face to Face; not showing up, being late, or showing up unprepared are sure fire ways to get meetings off to a bad start.

c)  Structure your meeting

Structure your meeting clearly. This way everyone will know where exactly their question or comment belongs. An easy way to keep regular meetings organised is having a consistent structure.

If it’s a one-time meeting, make sure all participants have the agenda beforehand.

2.  Focus on what’s important

Every meeting should have a clear objective. Remember that you are taking up everyone’s valuable time. Asking participants to stay and listen to minor issues that don’t affect them is not an efficient way to run a meeting. 

3.  Adopt a video-on policy

a)    Communication is more effective when non-verbal clues are involved. Of course, what you’re saying is very important, but how you’re saying it is also valuable.

b)    Put a face to your voice

Humans respond well to faces. Facial expressions humanise your virtual meetings so using video in your virtual meetings is a must. 

c)  Don’t multitask

Research shows that multitasking harms your performance so really try to stay focused on the meeting at hand.

d)    A video chat should be treated the same as a face to face meet up. Always look directly at your camera when chatting to your audience.

4.  Acknowledge everyone in the virtual room

Even if you meet regularly, it’s crucial that you, as a host, acknowledge everyone who is present at the meeting. Be sure to take the time at the beginning of the meeting to introduce everyone on the call. 

5.  Share the mic

There should always be one person coordinating the meeting, however, all participants should have the opportunity to offer their input. 

Do not allow your meeting to be dominated by the more extrovert individuals, allow the quieter members their screen time too. 

Here are a few ways to try involve more introverted attendees during a virtual meeting:

●     Ask their opinion on specific tasks/aspects
●     Ask for quick updates
●     Ask if they have anything to add
●     Ask them if they have any questions

6.  Keep them short & sweet

If possible, keep your meetings between 15 to 45 minutes so everyone stays focused and makes optimum use of the time.

7.  Agree on the next steps

All action points must be written down, deadlines agreed upon and tasks distributed amongst all attendees. Always reserve 5-10 minutes for wrapping-up your conversation. Determine if and when a follow-up meeting should be planned.

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