How to Run Effective Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings are ubiquitous now. With the coronavirus devastating the world, they became a necessity. Given how effective and efficient online meetings are, it would be no surprise if companies continue to use them after the pandemic ends. Business owners should be aware of the commonly faced challenges with virtual meetings and how to overcome them. This article will act as a complete guide to virtual meetings.

What is a Virtual Meeting?

A virtual meeting is one where people from anywhere in the world can use the internet to connect with other people. With the pandemic, companies have started using virtual meetings to replace physical meetings.

Types of Virtual Meetings

Here are some virtual meeting examples: 

1. Status update meetings

A status update meeting is regularly held to exchange information about the developments in a project. It is conducted at different stages of a project to ensure that things are going as planned. The attendees are participants in these meetings and share their progress.

2. Information sharing meetings

The primary goal of information-sharing meetings is to inform the participants of upcoming projects, new products, or knowledge about a particular subject. The participants are mostly passive listeners in these meetings.

3. Decision-making meetings

Important decisions should not be made in isolation. Stakeholders and knowledgeable people are taken into consideration in these meetings so that decisions can be taken objectively.

4. Problem-solving meetings

Problem-solving meetings are conducted to strategize and come up with new solutions to problems faced by the company. Processes such as brainstorming, Q&As, thinking outside the box, etc., should be used to come up with new ideas to tackle the problems.

5. Team building meetings

Companies operate with the help of people working together in teams. As such, people need to form a bond so that there is less friction while working together. Team building meetings are essential for this reason. They can be conducted to have all-hands meetings, kick-off projects, when projects are finished, etc.

Virtual Meeting Etiquette

1. Don’t cut people off

Do not interrupt when someone else is talking. Raise your hand and wait for them to finish. When people are talking over each other, it does not lead to a fruitful conversation.  Virtual meetings can be successful if people follow this basic etiquette. Moderators should convey this ground rule to all when a meeting starts.

2. Mute your microphone when you are not talking

Microphones pick up on a lot of background news. Even when you are not talking, your microphone can cause a disturbance. So, you should mute it when you are not talking.

3. Your background should not be distracting

Choose a quiet part of your home to attend a meeting. If there’s motion in your background, other people can get distracted by it. Tell your family members that you are taking a meeting and if you have pets, keep them outside the room.

4. Stay focused

It is easy to doze off in a virtual meeting. Some people do not concentrate on what’s happening and miss out on important information. For a fruitful meeting, the participants need to stay present and actively listen to what people are saying.

5. Effective and direct communication

When you are talking in a meeting, make sure that you communicate your ideas directly and effectively. Do not speak for the sake of saying something. Make sure what you are saying has substance and meaning. 

6. Miscellaneous things
  • Make sure that all your equipment (camera, microphone, laptop) works fine before the meeting takes place. 
  • Introduce yourself the first time you speak in a meeting.
  • Do not eat while a meeting is going on.
  • Tidy up your room.
  • Dress appropriately

Benefits of Virtual Meetings

1. No risk of contracting COVID-19

There is no geographical location of virtual meetings. People can attend from anywhere. During a raging pandemic, holding a physical meeting can be dangerous. Virtual meetings are completely safe.

2. No wastage of time

With a physical meeting, there are lots of things to do. The staff has to set up equipment, remind people to attend, arrange for water and coffee, prepare the meeting room, etc. Even then, some people come late, and the meeting is extended. With virtual meetings, there is no hassle of preparing for it other than sending the link to the meeting and doing a test run.

3. Everything on record

Meetings can be recorded easily. The average attention span of people is not long. People get distracted sometimes. They can rewatch the bits they missed out on to get clarity. Use Superpro.ai to record, get advanced analytics, and much more.

4. Inclusivity

People can jump in on a virtual meeting anytime and anywhere. They don’t have to travel to attend them. Moreover, they do not have to take out much time if meetings are held efficiently. All the employees have greater accessibility and opportunity to attend them.

Challenges of Virtual Meetings

When the pandemic began, virtual meetings became all the rage. But soon, companies were holding too many meetings, and it led to “Zoom fatigue.” Gradually, people have realized that virtual meetings are not a panacea. Here are the challenges with virtual meetings:

1. Zoom fatigue

A recent study has shown that Zoom fatigue is a real issue that threatens to harm the productivity and well-being of employees. Additionally, women experience more zoom fatigue than men. 

 Video calls which should ideally be over in a short time, go on for too long. Moreover, virtual meetings are not being used judiciously.

2. Depersonalization

In real-life meetings, there’s small talk before the agenda. People talk to their work friends and catch up on various things. With virtual meetings, it is not possible to do so. Everyone can hear what others are saying. 

One more factor is that humans have evolved together. Everyone has their own unique body language and way of talking. Virtual meetings miss out on the essence of sitting together with other people, going at a problem, coming up with new ideas and solutions. They can be impersonal at times.

3. The absence of social cues

Social cues are crucial for human interaction. People respond to a meeting in different ways. With virtual meetings, there is no way of knowing whether people are actively listening or not.

4. Technical problems

Technical problems are all too common with virtual meetings. Some people experience failure of equipment such as a camera, microphone, or their device, and they do not know how to correct it. There are also problems such as no or slow internet connection, software problems, etc. 

To make it easy for clients, customers, or investors to join in on a virtual meeting. You can use Superpro.ai. It can be integrated into your website or app with their API. With Superpro.ai, anyone who wants to join a video call does not have to download an app or log in. Create a customized room for a smooth meeting.

5. Problems with virtual meeting etiquette

Some people are not well versed with virtual meetings etiquette, such as not talking over other people, muting when not speaking, etc. This can result in an unproductive meeting.

How to Run Effective Virtual Online Meetings

Here are some ways to conduct effective virtual meetings:

1. Judicious use of virtual meetings

Managers should not call too many meetings. For some purposes, emails and phone calls are sufficient. Hold a meeting only if it is necessary.

2. Set an agenda

There should be an agenda for every meeting.  Circulate the agenda beforehand and ask people to prepare themselves for the meeting. When the meeting takes place, the moderators should ensure that participants do not stray from the objective of the meeting. Moreover, the timing of the meeting should be fixed and followed. 30-minute meetings should not be extended.

3. Keep participants engaged

Moderators should set the meeting well. Participants should be encouraged to be present and react to the meetings. Silent participants can be motivated to talk by getting them involved in the meeting. Address everyone by name and request feedback.

4. Educate participants about technology

Technical issues in virtual meetings can be overcome by educating them about the most common problems and their solutions. Moreover, even some money can be given to them to purchase high-quality web cameras and earphones so that their audio and video are crystal clear.

5. Focus on visual learning

The attention span of most people is short. To keep them engaged, use visual cues learning. You can take the help of PowerPoint presentations and videos. More importantly, there are people with hearing problems. To accommodate them, it is imperative to go the visual way.

6. Take notes

Ask someone to prepare notes for the meeting. Not everyone would go back and see the recording. People can use notes to catch up on what happened. Notes can also be used to recap the important parts of the meeting. Circulate them to all the participants for an effective virtual meeting.

Conclusion

Virtual meetings and how you conduct them can make a sizable difference in your operations. Business owners can benefit a lot from being aware of the issues with the concept and ways to solve them. Facilitating online meetings can be made easier with solutions like Superpro.ai. For effective virtual meetings, understand the issues commonly faced and implement the solutions mentioned in the article. 

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