How to Run the Best Virtual Meetings in the Business (infographic)

Before 2020, virtual meetings happened at companies with international offices or remote workers, but the impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns have meant empty meeting rooms and lots of people having to quickly get to grips with Zoom and Microsoft Teams. But does this sudden rush to virtual meetings being part of everyday working life mean that they aren’t being run as effectively as they could be?

The stats for how widespread virtual meetings have become in a short space of time are startling, with Zoom having 10 million daily meeting participants on average in December 2019, rising to 200 million by April 2020.

That number may have been inflated by family Zoom quizzes and video chats between friends, but shows just how important virtual meetings are now for businesses.

To help you make sure your business is using them effectively, BusinessFinancing has created this guide with useful tips for getting the technology and the etiquette right:

How to pick the right video conference platform

For many companies, the sudden shift to home working meant an equally sudden decision to make about which platform to use. This means that they might not have had the time to investigate in the same way they would normally have done, whether they went with an existing tool or whichever one looked like the quickest and easiest to set up in time for the first lockdown meetings.

With remote working here to stay for many more businesses around the world, now is the time to re-evaluate and ensure that the right software is being used. But how can you work out which is the best one to fit your needs? This flowchart offers some guidance:

Whether you choose Zoom or go with the options build into Microsoft 365 or G Suite, hopefully this flow chart will have given you an idea about what to consider while making that decision.

Best practices for scheduling a virtual meeting

The first thing to bear in mind when scheduling a meeting is always ensuring as many people as possible can actually attend it. This is even more crucial when the meeting is taking place virtually and might be open to people around the world in various time zones. Luckily there are tools out there to keep your ‘time zone math’ simple, like:
No matter who is invited to your meeting, you should always make sure that you are giving them at least two days’ notice when you send your invitation. The more notice they have, the likely they are to attend and have the time to prepare properly.

Ensuring you are only inviting people who really need to be in the meeting is another important step to preparing a virtual meeting that will be more than a screen full of blank faces. To have an idea of who should be there, start with your meeting agenda first, then use that to determine who to invite.

How to run a successful virtual meeting

Once you have scheduled your meeting, you need to know how to manage it to ensure your goals are met. Virtual meetings are by their nature very different to physical meetings, with technology. For example, participants aren’t sitting in a formal location, they may well be at their kitchen table with pets and children distracting them.

It may be helpful to put up a starting slide before the meeting begins with some suggestions for proper virtual meeting etiquette, with suggestions like:
  • Keep your video on
  • Stay muted when not speaking
  • Raise your hand to ask a question
Other tips to ensure a productive virtual meeting include ensuring that presentations are kept to a minimum to provide plenty of facetime on screens, which help to build trust and relationships, as well as avoiding ‘death by PowerPoint’.

Virtual meetings can offer people an easy place to hide rather than getting involved and participating, so to make sure you are bringing everyone in, try asking specific questions and directing them to people instead of asking open-ended questions. This should also help to avoid ‘dead air’ that can affect the flow of the meeting.

Another way to get the conversations flowing and build up rapport between participants is to make some time for casual conversations at the start. Try asking each participant to share some personal and professional news and this will help them get engaged and ready to contribute.

What to do after virtual meetings

Once the meeting has finished, there’s still work that can be done to ensure that it has been a productive one. A follow-up email needs to be sent, including any agreed actions, deadlines and responsibilities as well as key updates for anyone who was unable to attend the meeting.

Virtual meetings are here to stay and with the help of this guide, you can make sure that, whatever platform you are using, your business is making the most of the opportunities and coping with the challenges better than your competitors.
A Small Business Guide to Virtual Meetings
Previous Post Next Post