Love it or hate it, virtual meetings are here to stay! The pandemic and the requirement to quarantine created the perfect conditions to push virtual meetings as part of a daily routine. Running a successful virtual meeting requires thorough planning and forethought. Before you jump into your session, spend some time thinking about your goals for the meeting and figuring out how you can make the most of your time together.
To run a successful virtual meeting, the Account Managers at Thinkr Marketing have put together a set of Do's and Don'ts to follow when preparing for a virtual meeting.
- Test your microphone and camera before the meeting begins. Avoiding any technical issues will avoid wasting valuable time at the start of your session. Technical problems can happen, but by testing beforehand, you can troubleshoot them before the meeting begins.
- Develop a short itinerary and an objective summary to send along with your meeting invitation. All attendees should know:
- The meeting purpose
- What topics you’ll cover
- How long the meeting will be
- Give clear login instructions. Ensure all participants have the proper login info before the meeting. Educate them if they need to download an application, and provide instructions for basic things like screen sharing and muting audio. Send all of this in an email as a reminder before the meeting starts for easy access.
- Come prepared. Keeping an agenda of topics you plan to discuss will help move the meeting along and will act as a guide to ensure you have covered everything. Put the agenda on a slide to use as an added visual reminder. If things get off track, the agenda is an easy reference to help attendees refocus.
- Send a follow-up summary. After your meeting is finished, set aside some time for a 10-15 minute meeting debrief with yourself or your team. Send a meeting summary to the client and outline your next steps in writing. This can act as a guide so you do not lose sight of anything and can reference it in the future.
- Save the small talk for the start and end of the meeting. Virtual meetings can easily get off topic. Connecting with your client is essential in any working relationship and instils trust. However, small talk can go overboard, so as the meeting host and director, it will be your job to mediate the discussion and keep track of what is essential.
- Leave the microphone on when you are not speaking. Microphones can pick up background noise or just static, which can distract others in the meeting. Simply turn the mic off until it’s your turn to speak.
- Multitask during the meeting! If you are running the meeting you need to have your whole focus on the meeting screen. Don’t send any emails or chat on the side of the meeting. Stay on task when hosting a meeting. We are all busy, but it is important to pay attention.
- Overpromise or agree to due dates without discussing them with your team first! It can be challenging if a client puts you on the spot about due dates and deadlines; however, if you agree to them without confirming with your team that they are achievable, you can run into major difficulties later on. Instead, inform your client you will get back to them after the meeting and consult with your team about due dates, deadlines, and new project tasks. Not only does this benefit you, but it also benefits your client as you will provide them with quality information they can trust!
- Interrupt people unless necessary or return to the topic you were discussing if you missed a part. The best way to do this is to wait for an opening at the end of a topic of discussion or at the end of the meeting.
There's nothing like a personal face-to-face meeting to build rapport and generate actionable business insights. But in today's hyper-connected world, you don't always have the time or budget to travel to a distant location. That's where virtual meetings can shine: they allow you to connect with colleagues and clients from anywhere in the world at any time.