Guest Contributor

How to Improve Virtual Meetings with your Team

By | McKenzie Jones

Regardless of whether you work for a startup with three employees or a seasoned corporation with 300 employees, the COVID 19 pandemic has changed the way we work. Regardless of skill level, many have been forced to engage in virtual meetings or teleconferences, and there seems no end in sight. That means that even the most non-essential or computer-savvy employee has had to learn terms and deal with technology that may not have previously been part of their job descriptions. Discover how employees are changing the game when hosting virtual meetings and get tips to improve upcoming virtual meetings that you will have with your team.

It is not only kids who get bribed into activities that aren’t a top priority for them. Research has shown that when employees know that there are rewards for attending virtual meetings, they are more eager to participate. Those gifts don’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive; they can be a free lunch, an afternoon off work, or even a box of chocolates.

In addition to gifts, some ways for hosts to improve your virtual team meetings are:

Get help hosting meetings.

If you’ve found yourself having to host a meeting, don’t let the work involved frazzle you into anxiety. Asking yourself “how to host a webinar” won’t get the job done. Instead of worrying or trying to figure it out, use a company that makes the planning and hosting a breeze can save a lot of stress. They will handle everything so that you and your employees only need to show up.

Have a plan/objective/agenda for the meeting.

As a person with authority, don’t plan a virtual meeting for the sake of scheduling a meeting. It is a waste of employees’ time, even if you are the one signing their paycheck. Instead, make sure that you have something to go over with staff and plan for it. Write your plan ahead of the meeting and email it to everyone participating in the discussion.

Some benefits of having an agenda or objective for the meeting are:

  1. An agenda keeps all employees on the same page and focused on topics that are important for discussion.
  2. It shapes the direction of the meeting.
  3. It shows the importance of following processes if you stay on topics according to the schedule.
  4. It acts as a reference for answers to questions or things that are still open for discussion.

Let employees know ahead of time that you expect participation.

If you open with reading minutes from a previous meeting, make sure that the employee reading them is made aware. If you want each employee to go over their accomplishments of the past few weeks, give them time to prepare a statement. Anytime other employees speak during a virtual meeting, let them know to show up prepared ahead of time.

The benefits of planning for employee participation during a virtual meeting make meetings feel more personal. It makes engaging easier when others besides the facilitator, boss or manager are speaking. An engaging group of employees makes for great icebreakers and ensures that employees don’t feel invisible since they are behind a screen. It also makes employees feel valued and part of a team when they are asked to participate and speak during virtual meetings.

Minding manners during the meeting.

Everyone is at their own home during virtual meeting, but tones say a lot about how employees feel. As the team lead or host of the webinar, it is up to you to keep your staff as polite as they would be if working in person. Make sure that your team understands that interrupting others, foul language and disregard for an ethical workspace will not be required during your virtual meeting.

In addition to showing manners during the meeting, employees should also:

  1. Be on time for the virtual meeting.
  2. Turn down the volume to distractions in their home.
  3. Don’t try to multitask during meetings – no cooking or putting dishes away.
  4. Dress appropriately for a meeting.
  5. Mute microphone when others are speaking.
  6. Do not have video “off” for every meeting.
  7. Try to keep children and pets quiet during sessions.

Virtual meetings and teleconferences don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Therefore, changing the game when hosting virtual meetings will improve those meetings and make employees feel like they are more part of the company.

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