Business leaders and employees are holding virtual meetings more than ever. Despite the cost-saving and other advantages, virtual meetings versus in-person meetings have their challenges. One of the largest is because participants cannot bond in the same way as they do when they are sitting across the table from one another.
In the new book, The Collaboration Imperative, co-authors Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese, recommend you follow these 10 tips for making your virtual meeting successful, particularly when you are leading the meeting:
- Before the meeting, make sure attendees have all the preparation materials they will need and the time to review them.
- Begin with a quick warm-up. For example, start the meeting by asking remote attendees to describe what’s happening in their office, town or city.
- During “blended” meetings, where some attendees are gathering in person and others are participating virtually, address remote attendees first and then offer the opportunity to speak to in-person attendees.
- Identify in-person attendees. In-room speakers–whether presenting or making occasional comments–should introduce themselves so that remote attendees know who is speaking and “learn” their voices.
- Ask remote attendees to be vocal. Emphasize that it is their responsibility to let in-person people know if they cannot hear or follow the discussion.
- Rotate meeting times. Ensure that each time zone has a meeting scheduled during normal business hours.
- Solicit participation. Regularly ask remote attendees if they have comments and encourage participants to speak up.
- Assign a meeting monitor.
- Avoid colloquialisms, acronyms and corporate-speak.
- Wrap up by documenting key discussion points, decisions and action items.