We’ve already covered tips for having a productive meeting such as planning ahead and turning off distracting tech toys, but how do you stay productive when one or more people aren’t even in the same room? How do you engage participants who are across the country or even around the world?
In its semi-annual State of the Modern Meeting Report, Blue Jeans Network, a video-centric collaboration service, found the five most common business uses for a virtual meeting include:
- Team meetings, especially for geographically distributed organizations.
- Sales and marketing—for customer presentations and internal reviews.
- HR for both recruiting and training.
- Executive meetings and board meetings.
- International meetings with partners, vendors and employees to reduce travel time and expense.
Plus, the report found that in 33 percent of all meetings today, one or more attendees participate from a mobile device.
So how can you make sure you’re getting the most out your virtual meetings?
Set aside plenty of time.
With virtual meetings you have to expect some people will get the time difference wrong or possibly have trouble logging on to the meeting. Don’t shortchange the meeting by leaving too little time to make some chitchat, wait for participants to “arrive” and then get down to business. If something comes up and you don’t think you’ll have enough time to have the meeting, give everyone plenty of notice that you need to reschedule.
Set the mood.
Remember, since you’re not actually in the same room, it’s even more important to make personal connections. You are a team whether you’re geographically challenged or not.
Set the table with any tools or visuals you might need.
It’s easy to share visuals these days while having a virtual meeting. Tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts or GotoMeeting make sharing documents and slides simple and seamless. If you have an extremely visual project you need to collaborate on, check out Realtime Board where users can provide feedback, review materials and draw ideas on a “whiteboard"--all in real time.
Make sure everyone in the meeting understood what was discussed and knows the next steps by sending a follow-up email to all participants. Include any questions people may have had and set up the date and time for the next meeting.
Virtual meetings can be just as productive, if not more so, than regular meetings. Just ensure you follow these key tips to make the most of your meeting time.
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