Love them or hate them, virtual meetings aren’t going anywhere even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
A recent Gartner survey of HR leaders found that 90% planned to allow employees to work remotely at least part-time post-pandemic. And with many organizations saving big on travel expenses and finding it easier to schedule virtual meetings with external partners and vendors, videoconferencing is slated to be a fact of life even for teams working primarily in the office.
Among those who are more ambivalent about this new reality, the problem isn’t necessarily virtual meetings per se. Instead, it’s that many organizations still haven’t quite cracked the formula for making video conferencing as effective as possible. But by following these best practices, you can make your team’s virtual meetings more productive and engaging – paving the path for success in a world where remote work will remain front-and-center.
Be warm and sociable.
Don’t treat a virtual meeting as just a box to check off your to-do list. Make sure that it feels like, well, a meeting.
As with an in-person meeting, you’ll want virtual meeting participants to be awake, alert, and engaged, ready to absorb others’ ideas and share their own. But if you dive right into the nitty-gritty without a bit of small talk and personal connection, it’s harder to build and sustain the natural rapport that’s essential to any good meeting, whether it’s internal or external.
With an energetic, friendly approach, you won’t just get participants interested and motivated and help head off Zoom fatigue, you could also see real bottom-line benefits: According to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, enhanced communication and collaboration can boost organizations’ productivity by 20-25%.
Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Each meeting should have a clear agenda to focus the conversation and ensure that all participants know what to expect and come prepared with the right questions, proposals, and feedback.
Reiterating the meeting’s core objectives at the beginning can help keep the meeting on-point. Laying out the purpose and goals of the meeting isn’t just good for participants; it’s also a great way of helping the leaders of a meeting to organize their thoughts, fine-tune their main points, and prevent an aimless, meandering call that will bore participants to tears.
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