Facilitating a Virtual Workgroup Meeting

Managing a remote team often entails grappling with the task of organising team meetings, which can be quite daunting. This difficulty is compounded by having team members located in different parts of the world, making it challenging to coordinate and synchronise schedules efficiently. Even when everyone is online and connected, technical glitches can still impede a seamless experience, notwithstanding the reliability of the technology employed. Furthermore, the same factors that influence the success of in-person meetings need to be considered when orchestrating virtual ones.

There are numerous resources out there that can aid you in executing a successful meeting;

  • Employing a scheduling application can provide some relief when dealing with the stress of working with multiple time zones.
  • One example of such resources are video calling programmes. With the necessary equipment, you can manage a fruitful meeting from any location.

There may be instances where some of your attendees are not well-versed in English, which can present a new set of challenges. However, fret not, as we have some suggestions to assist you.

If you are striving to build an exceptional remote team, we have all the information you need to skillfully preside over a meeting with a dispersed team. Should you require additional aid, kindly do not hesitate to contact us as we are always eager to help.

Prior to chairing a meeting, it is crucial to be adequately prepared

Irrespective of the circumstance, it is prudent to remain composed while on camera, especially when leading a team meeting with participants from various regions. As the renowned scientist Louis Pasteur once asserted, “In the field of observation, chance only favours the prepared mind.” This quote underscores the significance of investing ample time and effort to secure the best possible outcome.

Implications for Specifics

It is imperative to verify that any hardware or software that you plan on employing is operating efficiently before the designated time of use. To ensure a positive outcome, we recommend checking and confirming that the equipment is in optimal working condition at least 24 to 48 hours beforehand, instead of right before the meeting begins. Practising your presentation or screen sharing prior to the meeting can heighten your confidence during the actual delivery of your content.

We strongly urge all participants to utilise the same medium when disseminating meeting invitations. To enable everyone to participate seamlessly and efficiently, we recommend conducting a test meeting or other form of pre-event testing, preferably with the same technology that will be used during the actual meeting, to ensure that all attendees can see, hear, and interact with one another before the event commences.

Meeting Minutes and Additional Documentation

To cover all points of discussion in the meeting, kindly include a request for additional agenda items when sending out the meeting invitation. It is also recommended to send a follow-up email containing the meeting agenda and any mandatory documents for review well ahead of time, providing participants with ample time to prepare.

A Suggestion to Enhance Teleconferences In-person meetings may have less stringent rules regarding ‘reporting back’ compared to virtual meetings. To address this, an alternative solution would be to ask participants to submit written reports before the meeting, which can then be distributed along with the meeting agenda. This approach fosters a more relaxed and informal atmosphere during the meeting, promoting discussion and the chance to ask questions.

To cater to team members who speak English as a second language, it is advantageous to provide written materials about crucial topics. Employing a glossary to clarify the meanings of unfamiliar terms is also a viable approach. To promote effective communication within a distributed workforce, it is best to avoid using informal language or regional dialects.

Utilise Your Social Media Accounts as a Starting Point

By scheduling periodic meetings with your geographically scattered team, you can effectively conduct business while developing stronger relationships with your colleagues. This presents a prime opportunity to cultivate a team-oriented culture and ensure that everyone feels connected to the same group, despite being based in disparate parts of the world.

At the start of the meeting, it is recommended to allow your team members some time for informal banter, replicating the atmosphere of a physical conference room. As the meeting chairperson, you can utilise this opportunity to steer the conversation and offer relevant topics for discussion. This is also an excellent moment to celebrate and honour special occasions, such as birthdays and work anniversaries.

Maintaining a Professional Approach is Essential During Online Meetings

Even though digital nomads can work from almost anywhere, it is critical for them to maintain a professional demeanor while interacting with their team members. If you need to have a private conversation over a conference call, it is unwise to do so in a crowded coffee shop or a shared office space. It is important to communicate to all involved that they must participate from a conducive environment.

A conducive atmosphere can be established by ensuring that your background is free from distractions. While a monochromatic colour scheme yields best results, incorporating your company logo or other branded paraphernalia can lend a more professional touch. This underscores the fact that you are present to carry out business.

Remember the Significance of Graphics in Your Presentation

Video calls offer an excellent opportunity to disseminate various types of content, including live camera feeds. During a video call, you can share your screen, present, and even introduce remote collaboration tools that enable everyone to work together. This degree of remote collaboration can be particularly advantageous for teamwork and boosting productivity.

The ability to record the meeting and upload it into a shared online space is an added benefit. This allows you to not only verify the accuracy of the meeting, but also allows absentees to virtually attend.

Ensure Inclusivity by Encouraging Participation from Everyone

In an online forum, the role of the chairperson is similar to that of a physical meeting; their foremost obligation is to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. Working remotely can be advantageous for both extroverts and introverts, with the latter appearing to be especially well-suited to the task. Though introverts may be hesitant to contribute to an ongoing conversation, their input is certain to be of great value when they eventually do so.

When discussing critical matters, it is crucial to allocate the time to inquire from all present if they have any questions or ideas to offer. The adage “two heads are better than one” certainly holds true when facing obstacles that hinder forward momentum.

Conclude with a Casual Chat at the Water Cooler

Often, the most important decisions are made when people start to disperse from a meeting. Those who remain may seize the opportunity to pose pertinent questions that they were previously unable to ask. Furthermore, collaborative brainstorming can lead to innovative outcomes when a group of individuals decides to tackle a specific problem. Sadly, one major drawback of virtual meetings is the absence of ‘water cooler’ moments.

It is incumbent upon you to guarantee that the intended outcome is accomplished. After the formal meeting has ended, it is crucial that you collaborate with your team to resolve any issues or disputes. It is paramount to guarantee that all attendees comprehend the topics discussed by posing questions and engaging in open dialogue. This will help ensure that everyone departs the meeting with a uniform understanding.

Once you’ve completed your task, why not stay and chat with your colleagues for a few minutes? It’s an excellent means of cultivating relationships and getting to know one another better. As a competent remote team manager, it’s crucial to regularly check-in with each team member on an individual basis. This allows for a greater sense of teamwork and camaraderie, thereby fostering strong working relationships.

In Other Words, That’s How You Function

Chairing a conference call with your team need not be a challenging endeavour. You simply need to employ the same principles and practices that you use in other remote team settings, while making sure that you have the appropriate technology in place. To facilitate this process, it may be beneficial to ensure that your team consists of experienced individuals. If you require any guidance or support in this regard, please feel free to reach out to us as we have a strong track record in this area.

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