5 ways to host more productive virtual meetings

By now, we’ve all gotten used to the notion of virtual meetings via Zoom, Go to Meeting or Skype. Some of us are in meetings for an entire day, while others gear up for virtual meetings a few times per week. 
Let’s be frank — few people enjoyed meetings when they were in person! Now that many of us are working from home, Zoom meetings offer some unique challenges for individuals and organizations. Now’s as good a time as ever to take a look at your virtual meetings to see how they can be improved and optimized. 
Here’s some advice that can help. 

1. Put someone in charge.

With any effective meeting, you need someone steering the ship. Someone who will hold attendees accountable and ensure everyone’s on the same page. To minimize chit chat beyond a quick catchup and ensure the meeting is valuable and worth everyone’s time. 
Maybe that’s you, or maybe it’s a unique person for every meeting. Take some time in advance to be sure you’ve got the right person at the helm for your virtual meetings, and you’re much more likely to have a productive meeting. 

2. Have a clear agenda.

To that end, your meeting also needs, well, a purpose. “Catch all” meetings tend to turn into chaos, with everyone chiming in on this thing or the other. Without a clear goal or set of goals, and designated steps to achieve them, your meetings can fall apart quickly. 
Zoom fatigue is a very real phenomenon, and agendas can help quite a bit by keeping everyone on track. If another topic arises that merits its own meeting — be sure to schedule another meeting for that topic! Don’t try to “double dip” your meetings. Virtual meetings are especially draining — mentally and physically — and remember, some of your team may be in meetings all day. By holding your meetings to an agenda, you keep meetings to the necessary length and free up time for your team to decompress. 

3. Only invite people who are absolutely necessary. 

Can you see a trend here? Keeping your virtual meetings lean and eliminating the unnecessary is good for your team and good for your business. It can be tempting to invite anyone who may be somewhat involved with an agenda item, but there are few things more frustrating than sitting in on an hour-long meeting when you’re only needed for 10 minutes, or if a simple email after the meeting would suffice to keep you in the loop.
When you’re sending out a meeting invite, think about who absolutely has to be present. Those with critical input, decision makers or experts in the topic you’re discussing. You can always expand the list when sending a follow-up email, including bullet points for those who may have an interest in the meeting, but weren’t absolutely needed in attendance. 

4. Ask everyone to be 100% present. 

Your meeting attendees wouldn’t walk out of an in-person meeting to check emails or take a phone call, so you most definitely don’t want them to click “mute” and work on other things. 
Make it clear to your team that multitasking during meetings is banned (HINT: Only inviting people who are absolutely necessary in the meeting, as mentioned above, can help ensure people aren’t bored or distracted). 
Keeping everyone engaged and present helps the meeting go by more quickly, and ensures everyone is informed and ready to go when the meeting wraps. To keep your team “honest” in this, call on participants at random and ask them for input. When you do this regularly, your team will know they need to be ready at all times, and it discourages slipping.

5.  Provide an action plan. 

Have you ever left a meeting and wondered, “now what?” That’s often a failure on the part of the meeting host. When meetings are held for a specific purpose, every attendee should have a clear idea of what’s next. 
If that involves specific tasks for each attendee, be sure to note that clearly at the conclusion of your meeting. Ideally, you or someone else will also send out an email recapping expectations and next steps for everyone. It’s a simple step, but one that prevents multiple meetings for the same purpose, keeps your team on task and eliminates frustration over “pointless” meetings or confusion over responsibilities. 

We help you add the right people to your team.

From successful meetings to successful projects and beyond, the right people are essential. Here at Matlen Silver, we have a strong network of talent across the United States. They’re ready to get to work right away, and they care about making a positive impact on your business. To learn more about our staffing solutions, contact a member of our team today.

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