human resources

How to hold a productive virtual meeting

Zoe Papadakis

By Zoe Papadakis Nov 30, 2020 · 2 mins read

How to hold a productive virtual meeting
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With a move to remote work due to the COVID pandemic, meetings have become an essential tool in managing work flow. Virtual meetings are convenient, especially when employees are located across the country, or world, but a bad one can drive staff nuts, and can lead to frustration and even resentment.

It’s inevitable that things will occasionally go wrong. You may experience technical problems, things could drag on for hours with no resolution in sight, employees may forget about the virtual meeting… the list is endless but there are ways to avoid these problems from arising.

Send Reminders

You’ve sent invitations for the virtual meeting but it’s easy for staff to forget these things. Not only will a gentle reminder ensure they attend, it will also give employees time to prepare.

For things to flow smoothly, you can outline the agenda in the reminder and request that everyone test their meeting technology in advance.

Prepare An Agenda

It is common to miss out on important points during virtual meetings when you bounce between topics, or when some participants dominate the conversation. Setting an agenda can help you to avoid these pitfalls.

Prepare thoroughly for the meeting by establishing clear objectives, determining the duration of the meeting and by knowing who will be presenting, notifying them in advance and allocating each presenter a set amount of time.

Minimize distractions

Nothing derails a virtual meeting faster than bad etiquette. Unmuted microphones, cross talking, dominating the conversation… these practices can be very distracting.

Laying down key points at the start of the meeting will help to keep everyone focused and on topic. For example, urge attendees to mute mics when not speaking. You could also request that they use visual cues such as raising their hand when wanting to talk and that they stick to the topic.

Stay Engaged

It’s not always easy to engage with all participants and to keep them focused. Try to interact with everyone involved and give each person a chance to speak. Ask questions to those who are shy or introverted

Another way to keep everyone engaged is to include visual aids to draw employees in and keep them from developing mid-meeting fatigue.

Keep it short

There is no need for a virtual meeting to drag on. Unnecessarily long meetings interfere with productivity and can lead to mental fatigue among staff. Keep it as short as possible.