Given the world we’re living in today, remote meetings have become the norm. While virtual meetings were slowly being adapted pre-pandemic for convenience, the current demands for stringent measures to safeguard the health of every employee have led to virtual meetings becoming the ultimate solution.
Such meetings take a lot of getting used to. Talking to a screen is nothing like having a meeting in person where you can gauge the other person’s expressions and body language. Sometimes the video is on, but more often than not, you will just hear a voice during the virtual meeting.
With remote meetings being the way forward, it’s time to make the most out of the situation.
What are Remote Meetings?
Remote meetings, or virtual meetings or conferences, are meetings hosted over the internet. The setting is a virtual environment involving an audio and video element compared to the traditional meeting’s physical or face-to-face aspect.
With virtual meetings, you can gather all the participants in one “room,” irrespective of the time and location. This has been a practice to avoid essential participants from traveling or flying in for hours to another location just for an hour’s meeting.
Remote meetings heavily rely on technology to achieve that real-time interaction among participants. All panel members would need a reliable internet connection, a computer with a webcam, or a smartphone.
How to Manage Remote Meetings?
Hosts of remote meetings need to be able to manage them effectively to ensure productivity. It should not waste anybody’s time and should achieve the established purpose of the meeting.
Remote meetings should be scheduled at least 2-3 days before sending out an invite, complete with the link to join the discussion, along with an agenda so it can be set on everyone’s calendars.
Whether this is the first or the nth remote meeting, always include a quick how-to guide on how to attend a meeting remotely. This will help ensure that no one struggles with the technological part of it and create minimal confusion.
Another challenge is regarding how to make team meetings more engaging. It is always recommended to turn the video on whenever possible to encourage more interaction. Prepare virtual icebreakers to help everyone ease into this new normal.
Even if the meeting is informal and more for discussion or brainstorming, have a structure for the meeting. This will help ensure that the meeting doesn’t drag on and waste anyone’s time.
Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean that you extend the meeting for another hour or use the platform to discuss other things not on the agenda since “everybody’s here anyway.”
Benefits of Remote Meetings
Remote meetings are an effective option for communication with people from different places.
Here are some of the reasons why remote meeting solution is encouraged and recommended:
- Cost-effective since some expenses like commute, accommodation, and food are no longer needed.
- Fosters inclusivity among the organization’s members.
- Encourages participation, which means more ideas and possible solutions.
- Promotes productivity and better time management.
- Meetings can be recorded and easily shared with everyone.
Pitfalls of Virtual Meetings
Virtual meetings are now an essential workflow management tool for managers with employees in various locations across the globe. Although virtual meetings are the new exciting way of doing business, you should be aware of pitfalls as a manager or business leader.
Here are some pitfalls that you should try to avoid:
In remote meetings, there’s no direct personal interaction as you would have in a regular meeting. You should send out all information pertaining to the meeting well in advance, beginning with a thorough and concise agenda.
Remember, you’ll not have the opportunity to pass out handouts as you would in a regular meeting. Even though everyone is in front of the computers for the meeting, it is not the time to send them the plan or PowerPoint presentations. You should always send the agenda and all other information for the meeting before the meeting.
AgreeDo is a tool you can take advantage of. This makes creating and keeping track of your agenda an easy task.
In a virtual meeting, your audience is not directly in front of you, and it’s easy to try to multitask when conducting or attending a virtual meeting. It is so convincing to appear focused on the meeting via webcam when you have thousands of things going on in your mind.
There’s always that urge to check your calendar or email. Check a social media notification and even glance at what’s showing on Netflix. Find out what’s cooking or baking downstairs.
And if you are at home with kids, they may come in and out and cause distraction. Your pet cat or dog might even want to join the meeting.
If you know that you are easily distracted, set a dedicated room in your home. Share your meeting schedules with your family so they know not to disturb you during those hours.
In some cases, you might have other meeting attendees in your office or conference room, and it’s easy to carry on side banter that has nothing to do with a virtual meeting.
Remote meetings also have a chat option that some may take advantage of during the meeting, and what’s worse is you have an entirely different topic — a more interesting one — in the chatbox.
You might have missed lunch because of a hectic day, and you might be tempted to munch a little. After all, no one can see you, right?
The other meeting participants may not see you, but they can certainly hear you, especially if you forgot to click the mute button. Avoid eating or chewing gum when attending your virtual meeting. This is a distraction to everyone.
A glass or bottle of water should be enough to tide you during and after the meeting discussion.
Remote meetings have become a solid and essential platform to maintain communication and interaction within the organization.
Sure, the traditional way of conducting meetings will always be something that will be missed, but remote meetings are the best solution for now. And if you address these few pitfalls, virtual meetings may just become an integral part of your organization’s process.