Today’s workplace is one where it is highly likely that you will conduct virtual meetings with your employees and clients across the country or even across the world. Therefore, any business must be able to run professional and productive virtual meetings.
In recent years, the adoption of online meeting platforms and incorporating a corporate event planner have become standard operating procedures for any corporation, company, or business. Moreover, virtual conference software for online meetings has become a regular part of the daily workflow. In a nutshell, virtual meetings are here to stay. So how can you make them more professional and more productive?
This article will provide you with 7 secrets to run more professional virtual meetings by outlining specific steps you can take to turn your virtual corporate events and daily remote meetings into productive avenues for networking, connecting, and fostering a lively and active professional community. So, let’s get into it!
1. Organisation is Key
The key to running effective and highly productive virtual meetings is to organise them well beforehand. The organization of a virtual meeting should start with a group calendar on which you can send all your attendees an invite and ensure that they have confirmed their attendance well in advance.
Moreover, a vital aspect of virtual meeting organisation is to use virtual conference software that works for you and your team. This is crucial to avoid technical issues, communication problems, and equipment malfunction while the virtual meeting is underway.
Finally, structuring your meeting is essential for keeping it professional and ensuring that it is productive for everyone involved. There should be a time set for presentations and a time set for questions and answers. Moreover, by keeping this structure consistent for every virtual meeting with your team, you can ensure professionalism and productivity in the long run.
2. Focus on Key Objectives
Every virtual meeting, or every meeting for that matter, should have clear-cut objectives that all participants are aware of before joining the virtual conference room. Any corporate event planner will tell you that a professional meeting or event sets out key objectives for the conference well beforehand so that everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what to expect and what to focus on.
The discussion during the virtual meeting should be coordinated based on the critical topics of interest. Moreover, ensure that you aren’t holding your participants hostage by dragging on discussions about minor topics of little interest. Not only will this make you seem less professional, but it will also throw a spanner in the level of productivity of your team.
3. Set Some Ground Rules for the Meeting
As with any professional meeting, you need to set some ground rules to ensure efficiency and greater productivity. These ground rules should apply to every participant and every virtual conference, and all attendees must agree to comply.
Some basic ground rules to make virtual meetings more productive are:
- Ensuring a video-always-on policy
- Staying on mute until addressed by the speaker or someone else in the group
- Using the raise/lower hand feature to manage Q&A
Suppose you can keep these and other ground rules consistent for all your virtual meetings. In that case, you will eventually find that your sessions run smoother and more efficiently, thereby maximising productivity.
4. Acknowledge Everyone in the Meeting
It doesn’t matter if you meet all your teammates every week inperson; during the virtual meeting, it is easy for individual attendees to feel alienated from the larger group. Therefore, the host needs to take time out at the start of every virtual meeting to acknowledge everyone’s presence by introducing all the team members to one another. Not only will this make every individual participant feel welcomed, but it will also boost attendee engagement.
5. Keep the Meeting Short and Sweet
Keep your meetings between 15 and 45 minutes to maintain focus and engagement throughout, depending on the objective at hand. Long and drawn-out meetings are not only a bore, but they will reduce overall engagement and waste everyone’s time, thereby decreasing productivity over time.
Moreover, if you feel like you cannot manage all the key talking points in the allotted time, this could mean one of two things. One, you may not be sticking to the most critical objectives for the meeting. Two, your preparation could use some work.
6. Assign a Co-host and Breakout Rooms
Suppose you are hosting a virtual meeting with a larger group or are hosting a hybrid corporate virtual event with many different speakers and participants. In that case, you can make your life easier and ensure more remarkable professionalism by hiring a co-host for the meeting. Tasks can then be divided between the two co-hosts to maximise efficiency and ensure greater productivity.
Moreover, most virtual conference software has the feature of breakout rooms, which you should use to give attendees a chance to talk one-on-one in smaller teams. This will provide a change of pace and tone in the middle of the meeting, thereby acting as a small refresher. It will also allow attendees to brainstorm and dig into details that can’t be managed in the larger group discussion.
7. Create and Distribute an Agenda
One way to make your virtual meeting more professional is to create an agenda for the meeting well in advance and distribute it to all participants involved. The agenda should ideally list the main points and key objectives for the meeting and detail the most important outcomes and takeaways from the meeting.
Moreover, a timekeeper should be assigned to make sure the meeting is progressing according to the agenda. Not only will this make your meeting feel and look more professional, but it will also ensure that each meeting is as productive as it possibly can be without overwhelming all your participants.
The popularity of virtual conference software and the incorporation of a corporate event planner or two into remote meetings, conferences, and events tell us that virtual meetings are here to stay.
Therefore, learning how to conduct highly professional and productive virtual meetings is a skill set that every business, company, brand, and professional needs to learn to keep up with today’s ever-changing work environment.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd, a leading corporate event planner in Birmingham offering venue finding and event management services. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.