Virtual meetings have become increasingly popular since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online conferences or audio calls are a great way of connecting with people from different locations.
With the rise of remote work, virtual meetings are integral to today’s workplace communication.
However, meeting and talking to people virtually require a different set of skills than in-person meetings.
In this blog, we'll share some practical tips on how to master virtual meetings.
Whether you're new to virtual meetings or want to improve your existing skills, this blog will provide you with the knowledge and tools to become a virtual meeting pro.
So, let’s dive in!
- What is a virtual meeting?
- Benefits of Virtual Meetings
- Pre-meeting Preparation
- During the Virtual Meeting
- Post-meeting Follow-up
- Final Thoughts
What is a Virtual Meeting?
A virtual meeting is a meeting that takes place over the Internet using video conferencing or audio call software.
Participants don’t meet in person. Instead, they connect through their devices from their homes or offices to communicate and collaborate.
Here’s what makes virtually meeting people different from in person:
- Virtual meetings rely on technology, so a stable internet connection and appropriate software are necessary.
- You need to be mindful of your surroundings to avoid any audio-visual disturbances.
- You must adjust your communication style (both verbal and non-verbal) due to the limitations of the virtual setup.
Benefits of Virtual Meetings
Despite these differences, virtual meetings have many benefits.
- They save time and money by eliminating the need to travel.
- They are convenient as you can connect with people without leaving your desk.
- You can easily collaborate with clients from different time zones or countries.
- They are more efficient and productive. You can instantly share your screen, documents, and other resources with participants and accelerate the work process.
- The recording feature helps you go back and review the meeting later.
Mastering virtual meetings helps you make the most of these benefits.
And you’ll communicate effectively with your colleagues, clients, and business partners.
Before you start your virtual meeting, it's important to prepare a few things.
These 5 steps will ensure that the meeting runs smoothly and efficiently.
1. Set up the virtual meeting space: 🧑🏻💻
Select a quiet and well-lit space to conduct your meeting. Make sure everyone will be able to hear and see you clearly. Avoid using a space with a lot of background noise, like near a window.
2. Technical checks: 🎙️
Make sure that your device’s camera and microphone are working correctly. Ensure your internet connection is stable enough to support the virtual meeting. Also, already share your contact number with the participants in case of technical issues.
3. Familiarize yourself with the virtual meeting tools: 🖥️
Take some time to familiarize yourself with the platform you are using, like Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype. Try out in advance how to use the different features, such as screen sharing or virtual backgrounds.
4. Preparing an agenda: 🗒️
An agenda is a list of items that will be discussed during the meeting. The agenda helps you keep the meeting focused and on track. Share the agenda with the participants ahead of time so that they come prepared.
5. Sharing meeting details: 📨
Send the meeting details, such as the link to the virtual meeting room and the time and date, to participants ahead of time.
6. Consider the meeting duration: ⏲️
Virtual meetings can be tiring, so try to keep them shorter if possible. Include small breaks in long meetings to stretch and move around.
By taking these steps, you will be better prepared for a successful virtual meeting. Taking the time to prepare will help you achieve your meeting objectives efficiently.
During the Virtual Meeting
During the virtual meeting, it's important to keep things organized and productive.
Here are 9 tips on how to lead a meeting effectively:
1. Starting the meeting on time: ⏲️
Starting the meeting on time shows you value everyone's time. It also ensures everyone can participate and contribute effectively.
Either if you are the host or an attendee, always join the meeting a few minutes before. This helps resolve any technical issues beforehand.
2. Introducing participants: 👥
When meeting new participants for the first time, it's best to introduce yourself at the start of the meeting. Also, introduce everyone in attendance if there are participants who have not met each other before.
You can ask the other participants to introduce themselves. Tell them to keep the introduction brief.
3. Engaging all participants: 🙋🏻
Make sure everyone is actively involved in the meeting and feels valued. Engage the participants by asking for their input, opinions, or feedback.
Make sure to address everyone by their name while speaking. Encourage people who are afraid to speak by asking specific questions or calling on them directly.
4. Sticking to the agenda: 🗒️
Make sure to follow the meeting agenda and avoid getting sidetracked by off-topic discussions. The agenda should be shared with all participants before the meeting.
If there are any urgent matters that are not on the agenda, discuss them briefly or schedule another meeting for them.
5. Active listening: 👂🏻
Pay attention to others when they are speaking. And understand their point of view.
In online meetings with multiple participants, people may talk simultaneously, making the discussion harder to follow. So, avoid interrupting the speaker. Wait for them to finish before asking questions or making comments.
Use nonverbal cues such as nodding your head to show that you are listening.
6. Using clear and concise language: 🗣️
It's crucial to be concise and clear in your responses. Speak slowly and clearly, and avoid using jargon or technical terms that may not be familiar to everyone.
If you need to explain something complex, break it down into smaller parts.
Prepare your message beforehand, or take some time to think before speaking. Always be considerate of others' time and not dominate the conversation.
7. Nonverbal communication: 👍🏻
In virtual meetings, nonverbal communication shows you are engaged and interested in the discussion.
Use eye contact, nodding, and smiling to show that you are actively listening and participating in the meeting.
8. Avoiding distractions: 🔕
Distractions make it difficult for participants to stay engaged. As mentioned earlier, make sure to find a quiet and well-lit space for the meeting.
Turn off your phone or other electronic devices, and close any unnecessary tabs on your computer. If you encounter any technical issues, try to troubleshoot them as quickly as possible.
Avoid multitasking during the meeting, as this can distract you from following the discussion.
9. Taking notes and assigning action items: ✍🏻
As the host of the meeting, ensure to take notes during the meeting. In the end, assign action items to participants. Clearly specify what needs to be done, who will do it, and by when.
Also, share the meeting notes and action items with all participants to avoid confusion or miscommunication later on.
Virtual meetings come in different types, and each one requires a different approach.
- One-on-one meetings: Have a clear agenda and listen actively. Keep some virtual meeting icebreakers ready with you. A few examples are "What's on Your Desk?”, "What’s the Story of Your Name”, "Share Your Favorite Hobby”, etc.
- Team meetings: Have a clear purpose, encourage participation, and assign clear action items.
- Client meetings: Research beforehand, understand the client’s needs, and follow up after the meeting.
- Job interviews: Dress appropriately, check your background and lighting, and show enthusiasm.
- Virtual events: Promote beforehand, engage with attendees, and provide clear instructions.
Remember that regardless of the type of virtual meeting, it's important to communicate clearly, listen actively, and be respectful to all participants.
If you want to take your communication skills to the next level, consider trying out BBR English. You’ll learn and practice techniques of effective communication from corporate experts.
In live 1:1 personal sessions, you get to target your specific needs, such as how to talk in online meetings, job interviews, client interactions, workplace communication, etc., through customized courses.
Book a counseling session with BBR English now and start becoming a better communicator today.
After the virtual meeting has ended, it is important to follow up with the participants.
It is just as important as the meeting itself and should not be overlooked.
Post-meeting follow-up ensures that all tasks and action items are completed and that everyone is on the same page.
Here are the ways to do it:
- Share the notes and action items with all participants via email or a shared document, such as Google Docs. State clearly who is responsible for each action item. Also, set the deadlines for completion.
This ensures accountability among participants.
- Request participants to provide feedback on the meeting. Prepare a brief survey or follow-up email for attendees. Include questions about the effectiveness of the meeting and the quality of the discussion. Use the feedback to identify areas for improvement.
This helps you make adjustments to future meetings and ensures that they are even more productive.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the meeting. Look at whether the goals and objectives of the meeting were met. Review whether the meeting was well-organized and on track with the agenda.
Watch the recording and see how you performed as a host or an attendee. Take a close look at your verbal and nonverbal communication. Note down the mistakes and be mindful of not repeating them in future meetings.
As virtual meetings become more prevalent in our work and personal lives, mastering this communication medium is essential.
While virtual meetings have their advantages, they also come with their own unique set of challenges. Poor connection and technical glitches are just a few of the obstacles that can arise during virtual meetings.
While the tips outlined in this blog will certainly help you master virtual meetings, it is important to remember that practice is key.
Like any skill, virtual meeting proficiency requires time, effort, and consistent practice to improve.
The more you conduct virtual meetings, the more comfortable you will become with the technology. And the more confident you will be in engaging participants and leading productive virtual meetings.
Schedule regular virtual meetings with colleagues, clients, or team members. And use these opportunities to practice your communication skills.
Remember, practice doesn't make perfect, but it does make progress.
So why not start now and take your virtual meetings to the next level?
The rewards will be worth it!
Meanwhile, why don't you start from our top 3 blogs -