Nowadays it’s a common practice that people and organizations prefer remote meetings or are forced to do so due to evolving business scenarios, remote workforces, global delivery of services, working environments that demand collaboration etc.

Remote meetings can be as effective as physical meetings and may be more than that considering other associated benefits and conveniences. How handle meetings, how to ensure effective communication, how to engage everyone in the meeting etc. are some of the concerns that arise when we think of remote meetings.

The following tips would be handy to conduct effective remote meetings and to reap maximum benefits out of it.

1. Schedule an appropriate and convenient time

Some meetings are early planned and some will be emergency meetings. In both the cases, try to find a suitable time schedule for the meeting so that everyone can attend the meeting. It is important to consider the time zone of the attendees while scheduling the meeting.

2. Share the remote meeting details in advance – technology and content

It’s a good practice to share the brief agenda of the meeting in advance with the attendees. It helps the attendees to prepare for the meeting in terms of information they have to present.

It’s also necessary to share the details about remote meeting platform which will be used to conduct the meeting. This will help the attendees to install necessary applications in advance so that any delays to start the meetings can be avoided. A backup platform can be considered as well if the preferred platform fails.

3. Consider limiting the number of participants and invite right people

Too many participants in the meeting can lead to ineffective meetings as there could be distractions, frequent interruptions, prolonged time to get an opportunity to speak, cross talking, not all attendees joining on time etc. It’s better to conduct meetings with a limited number, say 5 people and such meeting could turn out to be more engaging and effective than crowded meetings.

4. Don’t allow muting

It’s a debatable tip. This has got positive as well as negative benefits. By not allowing to mute, it can be ensured that attendees don’t multitask in between the meetings and they are very much attentive to the discussions. But at times, it is required to mute the attendees so as to remove the disturbances and make the voice of speaker clear and audible.

5. Promote video meetings

Having video meetings will make the meetings more engaging and will give a personal feel of face to face meetings. Again, it will make the participants more attentive.

6. Use screen sharing when required

Most of the remote meeting platforms support screen sharing and it is a good practice to use this feature if required. It helps to provide better understanding to the attendees about the topic. The of this feature depends on the topic.

7. Assign talking points to all the participants

If all the attendees are assigned with at least one talking point in the meeting, they will prepare for the meeting positively. It is a sign that, they are part of the team and everyone’s contribution is important and valued. It gives the attendees a feeling of satisfaction as their valuable time is utilized. Some meetings are conducted in such a way that some of the participants will not be aware of the purpose of their presence in the meeting. This applies to physical meetings as well.

8. Arrange a proper workplace

The location from which the meetings are attended also have an important role in the meetings. Having a place that have proper lighting and away from disturbances will result in a good meeting experience. Use of earphone will be more convenient.

9. Dress up for the type of meeting

Depending on the nature of the meetings, participants can consider different dressing styles. As majority of the corporate meetings are going to be formal, a formal dressing style is preferred. Depending on the organization culture, there can be variations.

10. Be present for the meeting before the scheduled start time

Participants may logon to the meeting platform at least 10 minutes in advance so that connections can be checked and get familiar with the technology. This also ensures that actual meetings are started on the scheduled time.

11. Consider an Ice Breaker or Get to Know

Even if the participants are known to each other, remote meetings can be started with an ice breaker session with people introducing themselves or some casual talks or some testing of the tools present in the meeting platform. Again it can depend on the nature of meetings.

12. Communicate 4 Ps at the start of the meeting

Let the team be informed about the 4 Ps at the beginning of the meeting. The 4 Ps are:

  1. Purpose – purpose of the meeting
  2. Payoff – what the participants will gain out of this meeting
  3. Preview – topics that would be discussed in the meeting
  4. Process – how long the meeting will last, structure of the meeting session etc.

Some details about these Ps would have been shared in advance. Here at the beginning of the meeting, these subjects are elaborated and reiterated to the participants.

13. Simplify the presentations

Don’t bomb the meeting sessions with too many presentations and slides. Keep it simple and precise. Give importance to discussions.

14. Pause and check the understanding

Pause in between the meeting to check the understanding and encourage for questions. Make sure that everyone is in the same page. Avoid long silences.

15. Plan for next steps

Collect feedback and inputs from participants towards the end of the meeting and plan for the next actions. Participants can use notepads in the platform to write their thoughts and inputs and concatenate at the end of the meeting.

16. Choose appropriate length for the meetings

Keeping meetings short will keep the participants engaged and positive. Lengthy meetings could lead to distress and deviation from the topics.

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