As technology progresses, the world has become increasingly connected, resulting in businesses expanding their global presence and employing remote staff. This has created a greater demand for virtual meetings, and if you’re a manager, chances are you have had to arrange and lead one of these meetings. Unfortunately, such meetings can be challenging due to issues such as participants not paying attention, meetings running for too long, and communication not being clear.
Remote meetings, when conducted in a well-planned and organised manner, can be an effective and efficient means of communication. Here are some useful tips for helping teams who are working remotely to make the most of the meetings they host: 1. Establish clear objectives and goals for the meeting beforehand, so that all participants know what to expect. 2. Ensure that all participants have access to the necessary technology and have the skills to use it prior to the meeting. 3. Assign a facilitator to keep the meeting on track, manage time, and make sure everyone has a chance to contribute. 4. Ensure that everyone is aware of the rules of etiquette for virtual meetings, such as muting microphones when not speaking and limiting the number of people speaking at one time. 5. At the end of the meeting, summarise the key points discussed and assign tasks or set deadlines for any action items.
Don’t include everyone.Given the current climate of remote work, it is essential to ensure that all meetings are productive and that employees are engaged. To achieve this, it is important to evaluate which workers are necessary for each meeting and to exclude those who are not required. Doing so will not only save time but will also ensure that it is used in the most effective manner. Additionally, it will show employees that their presence is valued and that their time is respected. Ultimately, this will lead to a more productive and engaged workforce.
Think about how you will work together on a project.It is essential to ensure that all meetings, but especially those held remotely, have an agenda that all employees are familiar with. Establishing an agenda will provide structure to the meeting and ensure that the discussion remains focused on the intended topic, while also providing employees with an opportunity to express their ideas and opinions.
Allow local workers to participate in meetings with distant colleagues remotely.It may seem far-fetched, but consider this proposal: if your organisation has a combination of onsite and remote employees, enabling those onsite to join the meeting virtually from their computers could be a great way to create a sense of parity.
Remote employees often feel excluded and unheard in meetings, leading to reduced engagement and productivity. To ensure everyone feels valued and included, companies may consider having all participants join the conference call from their individual devices. This strategy can promote equality in the meeting, allow for everyone’s opinions to be heard, and save time. Logistically, this is often a sound decision, as it eliminates the need for travel and allows for more efficient use of resources.
Use tools to increase communication.You can replicate a real-life conversation as closely as possible by utilising screen-sharing software and online chat platforms like Skype. You may be familiar with the most popular applications for these purposes, but there are also some lesser-known programs that are just as effective, if not more so. Here are a few of these options that you may want to consider:
Join.me: An instant video conversation with ascreen sharing component
Up to 100 workers can attend a Zoom.us meeting or webinar at once
Anyone can join and leave Appear.in at any time, live video chat room
It is important to ensure that remote staff members are given the same opportunities to participate in meetings as those who are present in person. This includes providing the same access to information, discussions, and decision-making processes, even if they are not able to be physically present. By taking measures to ensure remote staff are fairly represented, organisations can foster an inclusive and equitable environment for all employees.By selecting a representative to act on behalf of your remote teams, you can give your employees the opportunity to express their ideas and concerns without worrying about being judged. This can also help streamline meetings and ensure that communication is clear and effective. Additionally, having a remote representative can be beneficial if your remote teams are based in a country where English is not widely spoken. For instance, if your remote team is based in China and many of them are not proficient in English, they may feel more comfortable communicating their concerns to an English-speaking Chinese representative who can then relay their worries to you.
Holding a productive meeting with remote staff may appear to be a difficult task; however, with a few simple steps, you can ensure that remote meetings are just as effective as those that take place in person.