More professionals in C-level support are working from home now than ever before. Leaders in the field have had to adjust their approach rapidly to ensure meetings remain focused, engaging, and effective. Below are some tips on how to improve your remote team meetings.
Keep Meetings Small
Remote meetings work best if there are fewer than twelve attendees. Before sending out invites, think about who needs to be in the meeting and who doesn’t. Larger meetings tend to be ineffective in a remote setting because it becomes harder for leaders to maintain the team’s focus. In addition, when there are too many people, not everyone will be able to participate equally, which may leave some of your team members feeling like you’re wasting their time. If the information discussed in the meeting is important but specific team members don’t need to be part of the conversation, you can also record the meeting and have them listen to it later.
Many of your team members probably have an unclear understanding of what behaviors make virtual meetings successful. It helps to have periodic discussions with your team about meeting etiquette. For example, team members may need to know how long to make their responses and when it is alright to interrupt a speaker. Guidelines like this prevent meetings from lasting longer than they need to and ensure your team knows what to expect from remote conferences. Other guidelines you should address include whether attendees should have their video turned on, when should they mute their mic, and how they should approach disruptions, such as a phone ringing or baby crying.
Set Time Strategically
Long meetings put everyone in a foul mood, especially if the team has a lot of other tasks they need to complete for the day. Thus, you have to be strategic about time. Make sure necessary technology is set up before the start of the meeting and all documents are ready to go. Have a clear agenda and distribute the agenda to the attendees. Strict agendas keep the meeting focused and ensure everyone is on the same page. Adequate preparation is the key to hosting an effective virtual meeting. Technical difficulties that push the start of the meeting back stresses everyone out, hindering the team’s ability to create and cooperate.
Check for Understanding
It is a lot easier to tell if someone is confused in-person because you can see facial expressions better. In a remote setting, not everyone may have their cameras on. Even with video, images may be small or distorted. Additionally, not everyone will be comfortable interrupting you while you’re talking to ask for clarification. For these reasons, it is crucial you to pause for questions periodically throughout the meeting. This will ensure no one feels lost and everyone feels heard.
It can be difficult to lead team meetings in general, but it is especially challenging when the meetings are virtual. In a remote environment, there is more opportunity for technical difficulties and other disruptions and a lot of nonverbal communication is lost in translation. You can improve virtual meetings by limiting the number of attendees, setting clear guidelines, being strategic about time, and checking for understanding.
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