What it Takes to Run a Successful Virtual Meeting

Most of America is back to work in an abbreviated fashion.  With the devastating effects of the past 4 months, management finds it necessary to get back to “business as usual” but have been scared by recent resurrgences of the Coronavirus.  Companies are scrambling to protect employees from the virus with remote work arrangements. As during quarantine, most companies have participated in virtual meetings.  This trend will continue as new Covid-19 hotspots pop up all over the country.

Under the best of circumstances, as soon as one or two attendees “dial-in” to any conference call meeting, productivity starts to suffer.  Attendees often interpret these meetings as a license to multi-task and meeting organizers tend to be less careful with the purpose of the design of the conversation. It’s not uncommon for one or two attendees to dominate the discussion while others sit back and tune-out.

Here are some suggestions for a productive virtual meeting….

1.) Using a video meeting like Zoom makes your attendees feel like they’re all at the same meeting which helps to keep the conversation relevant and keep attendees engaged.

2.) Test your technology ahead of time to be sure everything is up and running and to avoid killing the momentum with “technical difficulties” at the start of the meeting.

3.) Be sure your “in-room” participants’ are visible and clear while deciding how your in-room participants will see the virtual participants – in gallery style – seeing everyone in the same size box on the screen or a large picture of the participant who is speaking with all other participants in small boxes on one side of the screen.

4.) Stick to the meeting basics by using an agenda and maintaining clear objectives or send a pre-read if appropriate.

5.) Minimize the length of the meeting or any presentations to keep from losing your attendees’ attention.

6.) You may want to consider an “ice-breaker” to reinforce interpersonal relationships when people may be feeling isolated. It’s also important to know if a participant may have a friend or relative fighting the virus or lost to the virus so some type of “pre check-in” may be in order.

7.) Assign a facilitator to take the pulse of the group on certain points to ensure all voices are heard or to guide the conversation.

8.) Call on everyone especially when making a decision which will allow the facilitator to drive closure to a bullet point and keep the meeting on schedule.

9.) Don’t be afraid to tackle tough issues – you’ll be amazed how much you can get accomplished once you and your team become comfortable working in a virtual meeting.

If you are the meeting host, there are several ways to go about running a successful virtual meeting.  As the host, you can start the meeting from the Zoom desktop client for Mac, PC or Linux, the Zoom app for Android or iOS, your web browser or an H 323 or SIP device.  Or – you can just come to the OfficePlace Great Room also known as the Pro Zoom Room where it’s all set up for you.

You can use your account but if you have limited experience in virtual meetings, or don’t have a Zoom account, we invite you to use our Pro Zoom account with assistance from our on staff Zoom Tech. With our Pro Zoom account and high-tech equipment, you can Zoom for unlimited hours with unlimited virtual participants, and up to 25 in the room.  In our Zoom Room we are maintaining social distance with individual desks set six feet apart.

Our extra-large monitor with camera allows your virtual participants to see the entire Great Room and hear everyone with our high-quality microphone and speakers – all audio and video has been tested and is ready to go.  All meeting rooms are cleaned and disinfected after every group.

To schedule your Zoom meeting, contact Kate at 860-419-5900.

Written by Kate Fuechsel
Illustration by Dave TenEyck

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