August 29, 2022
Zoom Calls, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams…Most of us must fire up the screen, drag a comb through our hair, and put on a shirt for virtual meetings these days. Once a necessity during the pandemic, virtual meetings have now become standard practice, letting many of us work remotely, reduce our carbon footprints, and put commuting time into more productive use, like doing laundry. While working remotely is a boon for most of us, it’s still not the same as meeting in person.
5 tips to ensure you get the most out of your virtual meetings
- Set and share an agenda. Like in "real-life" meetings, having and sharing a plan ahead of time sets expectations and helps people be prepared. Include items for discussion, responsibilities of attendees, and any relevant handouts.
- Appoint a notetaker. Appoint someone to track the discussion and jot down action items (and who they're assigned to) will help ensure things don't fall through the cracks.
- Encourage interaction. If you’re running the virtual meeting like a lecture, half of your participants will be tuned out and playing Candy Crush after the first five minutes. Keep it lively, elicit responses and ask questions. Meeting with cameras on is an excellent way to keep attention tuned to the screen and not to the cat attempting to knock your coffee cup off the desk. Eye contact, even through your laptop's camera lens, is important, even if most of us are just watching ourselves on the screen and wondering if we've aged better than our high school chums.
- Avoid multitasking. It may be tempting to clean out your inbox or scroll through your LinkedIn feed during the meeting but stay engaged. If you want to get the most out of the meeting, treat it like an in-person meeting (assuming you're not the ne'er-do-well that stares at your phone, deleting emails, and scrolling through social media feeds during meetings.) The chance of missing something essential skyrockets if you let yourself get distracted.
- Establish key takeaways, action items, and follow-up tasks. Make sure you and everyone attending the meeting know what action items and assignments they're responsible for and the deadlines attached. And, don’t forget to add tasks and deadlines to any project management software you use.
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