Get the Most out of Your Virtual Meetings
Tens of millions of Americans are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of whom will never return to the office. A great deal of us enjoy the freedom and convenience that comes with telecommuting and would like to continue doing so. A recent survey by Morning Consult found that 75 percent of American workers would prefer to work remotely once the pandemic is over. Employers have also warmed to the idea of their staff telecommuting, and with good reason: people working from home are putting in more hours than they did in the office, and are more likely to work nights and weekends than before working remotely, according to a study by JDP. Not to mention the fact that a remote work-friendly approach allows companies to tap into a significantly larger pool of job candidates.
One of the tools that have enabled companies to conduct business as usual while their staffs are away from the office is the virtual meeting. Whether it’s facilitated by Teams, Zoom, or WebEx, the virtual meeting allows us to communicate, collaborate, and connect with co-workers, team members, prospects, and clients effectively. With the trend of employees working from different locations expected to continue well past this pandemic, what was once seen as a temporary adjustment will become a typical part of the workday for many. As such, it behooves us to make the most of this solution. But how can you run effective virtual meetings?
For starters, the best meetings are ones in which its attendees are actively engaged. One-sided conversations are rarely productive or interesting, and for us to truly collaborate, all participants must be involved and contribute. A great way to ensure engagement is by greeting and welcoming all attendees upon arrival. In addition to breaking the ice, this will make your guests feel as if their presence—and their contributions—are valued. Once the meeting is underway, don’t monopolize the microphone. Encourage participation by asking others for feedback and utilize frequent pauses to give others the chance to speak.
Even though we’re working from home, we’re still working; we must manage our time effectively. As we all know, meetings can be a surefire way for us to waste time, a precious commodity in business. Therefore, just like a meeting in the office with everyone in attendance, be sure to have an agenda for your virtual meetings, share it with fellow attendees, and try to stick to it. In addition to mitigating wasted time by keeping the meeting on track, an agenda can improve the efficacy of meetings as it prepares others for what to expect.
One thing virtual meetings lack compared to their in-person counterparts is a personal connection, which can make it easier for attendees to act unprofessionally or tune out. Thankfully, this can be resolved through the power of video. Require all in attendance to have their video turned on for the entirety of your virtual meetings. Knowing they’re on camera broadcasting their behavior, expressions, and body language will help ensure attendees are present, pay attention, and respect their colleagues and superiors.
Unwelcome background noise is a huge distraction and can extend meetings to lengths they don’t need to reach. To help eliminate this, at the start of the meeting, ask everyone in attendance to mute their microphones when they’re not speaking. Whether it’s a screaming child, a barking dog, or the doorbell, there can be more distractions at home than in the office. Muted microphones can minimize their disruptions during your virtual meetings.
If your company lacks a quality videoconferencing solution or any other collaboration tools that your staff needs to work effectively while telecommuting, contact us today. We’ve got everything you need to get the job done from the office, home, or on-the-go.
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