Holding remote meetings have become a regular aspect of our workflow. They help you stay connected, improve productivity and brainstorm new ideas. In some cases, it is the only effective means of communication among employees.
However, it can be challenging to effectively communicate when you are not sitting face-to-face in a conference room. There are several factors that can hamper the success or smooth run of a remote meeting. From unavoidable distractions to poor internet connectivity, it can end up being a mess and a total waste of time.
So, how do you ensure that your remote meeting is a success and your employees are an active part of the meetings? How do you successfully conduct or lead remote meetings?
Prepare Ahead of Time
You know how you take your time to prepare for physical meetings? You go out of your way to outline the agenda, fix the date and time, make sure the venue is available for use and inform your employees ahead of time. Well, it is even more important to prepare ahead for remote meetings. You need to make sure that you have your materials and team updates ahead of time, so that everything goes smoothly.
Reduce The Number of Participants
Having a remote meeting with several participants tends to be challenging and sometimes unproductive. More people mean more distractions. It could also increase the chances of dealing with poor internet connectivity and sound quality issues. Instead of inviting the entire company for one meeting, split it up and hold frequent separate meetings with different participants. Try to limit participants to three to six persons at a time.
Take on The Role of a Facilitator
To ensure that every attendee of remote meetings takes an active part, you will have to be an active facilitator. This means that you need to keep them engaged and make them an integral part of the meeting. Call out individuals to contribute to specific aspects of the meeting. Instead of asking the generic “any comments” question, consider saying, “Sarah, please share your thoughts on xyz…” You also need to watch out for those who tend to ramble on and politely interrupt them so that the meeting does not end up dragging on unnecessarily.
Make Use of Available Tools
How you use the tools available to you can determine how successful your remote meeting will be. Most of us are familiar with online video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype etc. For a more effective delivery, ensure to use a software with screen sharing features. You can also use apps like Klaxoon and Poll Everywhere to hold polls and have participants vote for or against a motion.
For ease and simplicity, we advise that you ask participants to use the “raise hand” feature on the video conferencing software to vote or indicate that they would like to contribute/speak. Proper use of the technology and tools at your disposal will increase your employees’ engagement and involvement during remote meetings.
Allow Room For Some Distractions
Remember that holding a remote meeting means that your employees are working from home. This also means that sometimes, they might be interrupted during the meeting. While this should not be encouraged, you should understand that your employees have lives outside of the meeting and might be distracted by their pets, kids, spouses, technical glitches or even power outage.
Remember to ask for feedback from your employees, as this will help you determine how involved they were at the meeting and how much impact the meeting has made or will make on them. To learn about the best ways to get feedback from your team, click here.
In conclusion, conducting a successful remote meeting is not exactly rocket science; neither is it easy. There is no one-size-fits-all rule to it, but applying the tips above will go a long way in helping you lead remote meetings.
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