How to run effective virtual meetings

Empty boardroom table and chair with light colour wood

By Brie DeLisi

There is a call to practice Social Distancing in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, and many organizations have responded accordingly. Companies are shifting to an entirely remote workforce, where possible, and with this significant shift in the physical nature of the workplace, comes a new workforce dynamic. Meetings that were previously held in person are now shifting to a virtual conference call – and that can exacerbate pre-existing issues around participant engagement. In order to better prepare you and your team for this new meeting setting, we’ve compiled a number of recommendations to run effective virtual meetings:
- Pick the appropriate tool for collaboration – do you need video capability? Screen sharing? Recording?
- Video chat is highly recommended, as it is more engaging because the participants can see one another, their expressions, and their attention to the conversation.
- Give plenty of notice – last minute meeting invites can result in a lack of attendance if the invitees are doing other work and not focus on their inbox.
- Make the meetings short and to the point – the longer the call, the more likely you will lose focus and engagement.
- Provide an agenda and assign responsibility to as many of the invitees as possible to elicit participation.
- Pay attention to your email attachment size – most servers have a size limit 10 MB. Compress and convert to PDFs when possible or share on a cloud platform.
- Set group ground rules for meeting etiquette. Examples include: no multi-tasking, interrupting others mid-sentence, hanging up early, remain cognizant of the noises around you that can be heard by others, etc.
- Take attendance – don’t assume that everyone is on the call.
- Ask open-ended questions to increase engagement levels, instead of asking simple “yes” or “no” response questions.
- At the end of the meeting, provide a recap of what was discussed and align on next steps.
- Send out an email to all attendees with meeting notes and next steps.