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Four Tips for Successful Virtual Meetings

by Margaret

virtual-meetingVirtual meetings are not going away anytime soon. If anything we will have more and more of them. As we reach out globally, yet cut back on spending (goodbye travel expenses), we will continue to meet in virtual conference rooms all over the planet. Like any well run meeting, you need to prepare, you need to have an agenda, you want to have strong facilitation and full participation. You also want to personalize this experience so that we don’t all walk away feeling like a bunch of robots. In addition to your other tips for a well-run meeting, please consider adding this to your bag of tricks too:

      1. Be Nice – Not because it is OK to be mean when you meet face-to-face; rather because when we are virtual not everything translates. We may or may not see one another’s face and so we have audio and chats to carry our tone for us. This means that what is obviously a joke to you, could hurt your colleagues’ feelings. So yes, be extra nice.
      2. Make the Call – This does not mean make a decision or play umpire. It is an acknowledgement that sometimes our chats and our audios and even our webinar tools of choice do not take the place of picking up the phone and having a conversation with someone. When you cannot see each other in-person, this could be the next best thing.
      3. Focus – When I am on a conference call, I turn my back to my computer. Why? Because on a long call it is too easy for me to start looking at email and other distractors. When you or your team are not focusing on the meeting, information gets lost. You might THINK that silence means that your team heard you and understood you; but unfortunately it might mean they were not paying attention. Consider setting some basic ground rules for your virtual meeting to encourage people to dedicate their attention to each other and not to their email.
      4. Meet in Person – What??  These are the tips on how to have a successful virtual meeting. This is not a suggestion that you power up the transporter from Star Trek (although that would be pretty cool, if it works properly). This means that when you can take the opportunity for team members to see each other in-person, you build your working relationships more quickly. One of the ways in which we lose time in a virtual environment is with team bonding. This is not meant to imply that bonding with the team is a waste of time, it means that it takes us longer to form cohesive bonds when we do not see one another in-person.

To learn more about these tips – please check out this pmStudent mini training video and be ready to host better virtual meetings.

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