Poorly organized meetings cost businesses about $399 billion a year. Most meetings get spent with participants looking down at their phones.
Then came COVID-19.
Everyone turned to remote work, which made meetings a bit more challenging. Instead of looking down at their phones, people would check other websites, or get distracted by others in the house. engaged with polls and salesforce surveys.
There is value in holding an online video conference. You can go over important points and get your teams on the same page.
How can you make sure your meetings are productive and don’t waste time? Read on to learn the top tips for holding engaging virtual meetings.
1. Establish the Purpose of the Meeting
Your employees know when you hold a meeting for the sake of holding a meeting. That’s the fastest way to get a group of people uninterested in anything you have to say.
Your employees have a dozen of other things to do during the course of the day. They’re already stressed about getting things done.
Do you want to add to that stress by taking up an hour of their time?
That’s why you need to know the purpose of the meeting ahead of time. Set out your expectations and what you want the meeting to accomplish.
You’ll quickly realize that you don’t need to meet that often.
2. Set an Agenda
An agenda sets the tone for the meeting. It should keep the meeting on track, but that’s up to the person running the meeting.
It’s easy for someone to ask a question that derails the agenda.
Create an agenda with a timeline. That helps you and your team have a shared set of expectations. It prevents people from taking over the meeting.
3. Give Space for Everyone to Speak
The one advantage that in-person meetings have is that it’s easy to interact with each other. In online video conferences, people tend to talk over each other.
You have to be aware of who’s trying to make a contribution and give them the space to speak up. For instance, you can ask people to raise their hands or enter their questions into the chat.
You can also pause for a few minutes and ask if there are any questions or comments.
There’s a fine line between letting everyone speak and shutting people down because they have off-topic comments.
If there are comments or questions that are off-topic, let people know that you’ll table the question and address it outside of the meeting.
4. Use Video Conferencing Features
There are video conferencing suites that have a lot of features you can use to your advantage. Keep people active and engaged with polls and surveys.
One thing that’s present in all meetings is a whiteboard. This is where ideas and action items go. You can enjoy the same benefits with an online whiteboard.
Take the time to learn the different features of your video conferencing software. Test them out and incorporate them into your online meetings.
5. Bring Your Own Tech
There are video conferencing tools that are limited in scope. They let you change the background, share screens, and add branding.
If you’re on a limited budget, you might have to live with these basic features. That doesn’t mean that you’re limited to a basic meeting.
Bring your own technology such as multi-cam. You can plug in different cameras and switch between them. It creates the same effect that video editing does. It keeps people engaged.
6. Check Technology Before You Begin
It seems to happen at every online video conference. There’s always someone who takes up the first 10 minutes of a meeting to figure out how to get the sound to work.
It’s frustrating for the person running the meeting and for everyone else in the room. That’s also time that eats into your agenda.
You need to remind people to respect your and everyone else’s time. Encourage everyone to get there a few minutes early to test their technology.
7. Recognize Success
Employees that get recognized for good work are more engaged. Leave space in your meeting’s agenda to recognize the outstanding contributions of your employees.
Don’t give a general “great work everyone,” to the meeting participants.
Get specific. Call people out by name and tell everyone the specific reason why they’re getting recognized.
It showed people you’re paying attention and that you value their hard work.
8. Follow Up
Does it seem like all you do is meet and nothing happens afterward? That’s common. You can boost engagement and make your meetings productive with an action plan.
You can write on the virtual whiteboard or you can take notes during the meeting. The main thing to remember is that you want to maintain the momentum after the meeting.
Every meeting should end with a wrap-up. Go over the main points that got discussed. Make sure everyone knows the next action items.
Create a list that details the actions, person responsible, and due dates. Send that out along with meeting notes to all participants.
Have an accountability system to make sure each item gets done.
Make Your Next Online Video Conference Engaging and Productive
It’s not enough to just have an online company meeting. You have to go out of your way to hold the attention of everyone in the virtual room.
Every online video conference needs a plan and an agenda. Stay on track and use technology to get everyone engaged. Follow up and give everyone a rundown of what got covered and the next action steps.
Your meetings will end up making money instead of losing money.
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