With work from home and social distancing, the popularity of virtual meetings has grown tremendously. Organizations can conduct these meetings online with the help of various digital tools and technologies. We have put together 5 best tips to enhance the productivity of virtual meetings to help organizations and their managers maximize their output.
Virtual meetings enable employees to meet and interact with their co-workers and supervisors without being in the same physical location.
Hence, organizations are leveraging online conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams, WebEx, Skype, etc. for this.
There are many reasons for the growing popularity of virtual meetings:
1. Extremely Cost-Effective
2. Offers Flexibility
3. Suitable for Diverse Needs
4. Ensures Safety of Participants
5. Extremely Convenient
Virtual meetings, unlike face-to-face meetings, are extremely cost-effective.
Participants attend these meetings from anywhere, eliminating or reducing the need for meeting rooms.
Moreover, organizations can save on the expenses of providing refreshments, stationery, etc. to the meeting attendees.
Virtual meetings offer flexibility by enabling the participants and organizers to overcome the challenges of space and time.
It is even possible to organize such meetings outside the regular office hours, after considering the availability and convenience of all the participants.
Also, they offer flexibility in terms of the number of attendees, from just two participants, or even a large group.
Virtual meetings can serve diverse purposes from discussing strategy, and employee performance, to even celebrating milestones.
Organizations can have the meetings streamed live, recorded, and shared with participants who can then respond to the point discussed as and when required.
Also, during the current pandemic, social distancing, employee health, and safety are one of the topmost priorities for any organization.
Hence, this is one of the factors behind the growing popularity of virtual meetings in recent times.
Organizations have mandated virtual meetings not just for remote employees but also for those within the office for social distancing.
While the pandemic might ease over time, such practices might continue for much longer.
Virtual meetings are easy to set up and attend, often with just the click of a button.
The organizer has control over the meeting such as the number of participants, schedule, and even who can speak and for how long.
Also, organizations can set up these meetings at very short notice, which might not be possible for physical meetings.
Despite that virtual meetings have been around for a while, their large-scale adoption in organizations is still relatively new.
Hence, in most organizations, most employees are still trying to get a hang of how things work.
Virtual meetings have significant advantages, that cannot be ignored.
Since virtual meetings will only continue to grow in popularity, organizations and employees will need to figure out ways to enhance their productivity.
Here are the 5 best tips to improve the productivity of virtual meetings:
1. Set Clear Agenda
2. Ensure Familiarity with Technology
3. Eliminate Distractions
4. Engage Participants
5. Adhere to Schedule
Organizing a virtual meeting with no clear purpose often results in confusing the participants and wasting their time.
The meeting host needs to create and share the agenda with all participants in advance so that they can be prepared.
There is nothing worse than meetings that are titled ‘team meetings’ or ‘all-hands meetings’ without a proper agenda.
When participants are unfamiliar with the tools being used, a lot of time tends to get wasted.
Hence, the meeting organizer should ensure that all participants are familiar with the conferencing platform being used for the meeting.
If need be, the meeting organizer should share the usage instructions or even a tutorial video with the participants.
All distractions should be eliminated to ensure the productivity of the virtual meeting.
The host should set the ground rules at the start and restrict the use of phone, email, messenger, etc..
It is important to clearly define rules such as keeping oneself on mute when others are speaking or using the ‘hand signal’ when wanting to speak.
This will help the participants to stay focused and ensure that the meeting is highly productive.
Ensuring the engagement of participants is important for the success of a virtual meeting.
For this, the meeting host should pay attention to every participant and allow them to express their views.
It is also important to pace the meeting properly, to cover the entire agenda, and to keep sessions animated and interesting.
Otherwise, participants may get ‘switched off’ during the meeting and stop contributing to the discussion.
Setting, and adhering to the meeting schedule in the strictest manner is essential for maximizing the productivity of virtual meetings.
All participants should join on time and get a reasonable time to speak.
The meeting host should ensure adherence to timings and focus of the discussion on the agenda. Only then the meeting is likely to fulfill its objectives.
Virtual meetings have become an integral part of business operations for most organizations, especially during this pandemic.
Given their significant advantages, they need to enhance the productivity of virtual meetings for higher business impact.‘
Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn
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