With many of us moving to home offices for a while, the number of virtual meetings has skyrocketed leaving many people feeling ill-prepared to run high quality meetings. Use these 7 tips to improve the results immediately:
2. Use the darn webcam! People complain and whine at first, but stay firm on this point. With video, attendees can interpret the facial expressions and social cues, which allows everyone to “read the room” and react accordingly. By bringing these other interpersonal interactions to a virtual meeting, you can inspire the type of productivity that might happen with everyone in the same room. And, it probably goes without saying, that keeping the webcam on will cut down on participant multi-tasking.
3. Leave the audio un-muted. This is not your mother's conference call of 1985. The value of a spontaneous response or laugh in a moment changes the energy of the "room" completely. In my mind, it's critical, so ask people to leave the lines un-muted and do their darndest to get to a quiet spot. With internal teams, half of the relationship building comes from the impromptu visit by the family dog.
4. Don't skip the icebreakers. They are even more important here than when you're all in the same room. In “live meetings” people will naturally use the time before the meeting to catch up with each other. In fact, arrive five minutes early so people can get the same effect as they enter the virtual meeting room. After opening, consider round robins to share a success, a failure or something personal. This will break the ice in a non-contrived way and create an environment of sharing.
5. Do skip the PowerPoint deck. I've been teaching virtually for years and the one thing I know is that people check out when the screen is static. If you have to use a deck for clarity or a point or data, then pull it down and go back to the head shots as soon as you're done with that point.
6. Get creative on process. How will you drive collaboration? What tools could help with this? Consider things like whiteboarding, sharing screens (other than your deck) with attendees, using the chat box to stimulate creativity while giving people time to think about ideas.
7. Hit “record” for attendees who couldn't attend the virtual meeting. This is an automatic improvement over meeting notes, which lack the context you get from being in the meeting. In fact, there's a great tool in OneNote that records the typing while recording the audio and video, so you could share the notes, action plan and video/audio. Here's a 1 minute demo of that feature excerpted from our WorkingSm@rt + OneNote class.