How to have a productive meeting while working remotely
Now that many of us have to work from home, it’s more important than ever to keep communicating. This presents a challenge. It’s not easy to keep everyone up to date with what’s happening in your organisation, while maintaining business-as-usual productivity levels. But it also brings opportunities – more on those later.
As virtual meetings become a bigger part of your day, it’s a good idea to check you and your team have everything you need to hold productive get-togethers.
Here are 4 top tips to make that happen:
1. Pre-test the tech
If you’ve got a lot of people connecting to an online meeting or call, make sure you do a quick test with colleagues who might have different set-ups and perhaps don’t use the software regularly. This will be especially important as people are getting used to more online meetings.
2. Share an agenda and agree the output
Aim to set an agenda with clear objectives for the meeting and share them in advance. This gives everyone a chance to apply themselves fully to the meeting once it starts, having thought about the content beforehand.
3. Keep it concise and action-oriented
Designate a facilitator to guide the meeting and steer the conversation if it gets off track, and who is responsible for introducing some added elements of interactivity, like a poll function to get a final decision on next steps and actions.
To build a sense of meaningful involvement for everybody, consider asking participants to take turns presenting content by sharing their screens – but be disciplined with anything you’re sharing by keeping it short and to the point.
4. Embrace video!
Wherever possible, it’s best to use video. Seeing each other on screen helps people feel like they’re all ‘in the room’ and reveals those all-important interpersonal cues which build understanding and trust. It also avoids the risk of people tuning out and missing anything.
A check-in at the start can help get people comfortable with talking to each other on video. Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist starts his team’s weekly meeting with everyone sharing a personal or professional failure and any learnings, helping build a sense of psychological safety.
We’re in unprecedented times, and a shift away from presenteeism is long overdue. This experience is giving many organisations a chance to test something that they had long thought about but not fully embraced. By following these simple steps, you’ll create an environment where great ideas can come to life, while developing key skills for the future.
Helpful further reading
- What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting – HBR
- How to have a virtual meeting that’s not painful (and actually productive)
Infographic data source: Study: Nobody Is Paying Attention on Your Conference Call