Virtual team meetings are essential for remote team collaboration and productivity: they serve as a venue for aligning on shared goals. And, yes — it’s a venue. The team needs to understand that this virtual meeting spot is your hangout, your space, your place, and your venue. This information tells them — we meet here; we belong here.
It doesn’t take much to undermine the magic when team meetings don’t work.
Meetings with no purpose or organization are not only a waste of time, but they also stifle employee productivity and irritate employees. It’s no surprise that many people find meetings inconvenient, boring, useless, and just too frequent.
Do you want your employees to feel that way about your meetings? You want your team to be happy, productive, and active in their work community.
So here we are, with some practical suggestions for doing shorter, more productive meetings while avoiding the common pitfalls of remote work. You want high performance.
1. Should we meet, or should we not meet?
Nobody likes to waste their time in ineffective meetings; therefore, first and foremost:
Consider if you really need a meeting or whether you can get the same outcome with a different approach.
Is it feasible to send an email or a short video message summarizing the significant points of your meeting?
Can you address your problem at the next meeting if your team has recurring sessions to address any changes or impediments?
Avoid the temptation to “invite everyone just in case” and instead focus on the most critical attendees to the meeting’s success.
2. Hold meetings that will benefit your whole team.
According to recent research, 42% of remote workers felt “more productive” after working uninterrupted for an extended period. Conversely, getting everyone in the exact virtual location without disturbing production might be challenging, especially if you’re working with a remote team that spans many time zones.
Before agreeing on a time for your meeting, check calendars to see what people’s working hours are.
Instead of spreading meetings throughout the day, consider grouping them together to create large windows of uninterrupted work time.
Avoid scheduling a lot of emergencies or unexpected meetings since they may cause an employee’s regular workday to crash.
Encourage members of your team to keep track of their own schedules.
As a consequence, meeting planners will have a better understanding of the best days and times for everyone.
3. Make a thorough team meeting strategy.
Setting a clear agenda for each virtual meeting that includes the following things is critical:
In addition, there is a time restriction for each component and crucial talking points.
Each team member participates in the meeting according to your expectations.
Any relevant documents
Aside from questions and answers or debate,
Set a meeting time limit and stick to it — you want your meetings to be as productive as possible!
Everyone can prepare if the plan is shared ahead of time.
4. Keep everyone’s attention.
All of the components we’ve described are necessary for a virtual meeting to take place.
But now comes the tricky part: keeping the team engaged throughout the meeting.
You have to work twice as hard to produce realistic, in-person conversations in a virtual environment since you don’t have all of them in an office setting.
Spend a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting checking in with everyone, keeping up with what is happening, or just discussing the most recent series everyone is talking about.
This will strengthen your team’s culture while also fostering an open and welcoming atmosphere.
Also, remember that remote collaboration may be more difficult or stressful than face-to-face collaboration.
According to studies, Microsoft observed that brainwave indications associated with overwork and stress are much higher in video meetings than in non-meeting work.
In a remote conference, participants must maintain regular eye contact with the screen to extract essential information and stay engaged. Unfortunately, there are few nonverbal cues to assist them in reading the room or knowing when it’s their turn to speak.
To keep your team’s attention and ensure that everyone on the team has a role, try to break up long meetings with little breaks every thirty minutes.
Passive listeners are prone to be bored or distracted, but giving them a role may help them feel like they’re a part of the action.
Who will be taking notes, for example?
Who is in charge of the follow-up?
5. Have a specific team meeting aim in mind before you leave.
Never leave a meeting without clearly conveying your intention and verifying that your meeting objectives were satisfied.
Everyone should walk away from a meeting knowing all there is to know on the following topics:
- What are your plans for the future?
- Who is responsible for each task?
- When is each assignment due?
- When will the next meeting be held?
Finally, keep track of your peeps after the meeting so that everyone on your team knows who is working on what and how it is developing.
And — really (bosses) — think about butting out of the meeting at the end and let your virtual team and your office team have a few minutes to chat together — without you sitting there observing.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Kampus Production; Pexels; Thank you!