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With more organizations continuing to opt for remote work, virtual meetings have become the norm in nearly every industry. They allow dispersed teams to connect from anywhere, without the traditional distractions of in-office meetings. But video calls can also be taxing on your team, and if you’re not properly prepared, you risk hosting an unproductive meeting. 

In order to make the most of your virtual meeting, we suggest adopting some of the following tips:

1. Set an Agenda

As a rule of thumb, organized meetings are effective meetings. Setting an agenda in advance forces you to predefine your goals and objectives for each meeting. Sending this agenda out to team members beforehand can also make your call more productive. 

When participants know what topics are up for discussion ahead of time, they’re often able to contribute more prepared, well-thought-out insights. In addition to enhancing productivity and reducing the odds your meeting will drag on unnecessarily, a clear agenda also helps prevent tangential chats during meetings.

2. Check Technology Beforehand

Technological mishaps are one of the main cons of hosting virtual meetings. To decrease your chances of running into technical difficulties during a meeting, run a precursory check of your technology before the meeting begins. Make sure your notifications are silenced and your microphone, camera, and screen sharing capabilities (if necessary) are enabled. 

If you can, it's always a good idea to chime in from a laptop or desktop rather than a mobile phone. Desktop meeting tools generally are more user-friendly, feature-packed, and boast superior audio and video quality.

Related: Zoom Updates and How Associations Can Leverage Them Learn More >

3. Make Meetings More Interactive

During in-person meetings, you’d generally greet participants as they walk in the door to the conference room. You'd probably also make small talk around the table before the meeting began. Virtual meetings can sometimes feel impersonal and cold without this element of human interaction. 

To combat this phenomenon, hosts should verbally greet attendees as they enter the call. You might even consider occasionally setting aside five minutes at the start of a call for an icebreaker or short group discussion. Throughout the call itself, be sure to ask for input from team members when relevant, otherwise extraverted attendees may tend to dominate the conversation.

4. Schedule Breaks

Zoom fatigue is real, as anyone who's spent the past couple of years in online meetings can attest to. Although the convenience of virtual meetings is undeniable, it's important to set some boundaries so that everyone can get the most out of each call. 

When your eyes are constantly glued to your computer screen, they can also become strained and overstimulated, especially during multi-way calls. Just like with in-person meetings, scheduling breaks in between calls (or during calls, for longer meetings) allows participants time to collect their thoughts, have a snack or sip of water, rest their eyes, and better prepare to tackle the next task at hand. 

5. Don’t Become Over-Reliant on Virtual Meetings

Finally, be sure your association isn’t becoming over-reliant on virtual meetings. Simple questions can often be handled over business communication channels like Slack and Microsoft Teams. More complex issues can be hashed out via email or phone call, the latter being a good option to avoid miscommunications or discuss sensitive material. 

Virtual meetings generally work best for small groups collaborating on projects or large company-wide meetings. Using each communication medium as it’s intended can help you get the best results the first time around.

Ready to Host Effective Virtual Meetings?

The switch to remote work isn't always easy. Two years in, most of us are still adjusting to this new way of doing business and smoothing out the kinks as we go along. But with the above tips, you'll be on your way to hosting some of the most productive and engaging virtual meetings your association has ever seen. It’s amazing what a big difference such small changes can make.

Celita Summa
Post by Celita Summa
February 11, 2022
By day, Celita Summa is a Florida-based freelance writer specializing in business, technology, marketing, and a plethora of other topics. By night, Celita can be found developing her special talents, which include her black belt in karate, her fluent Italian, and her knack for vegan cooking.