Most of us have had to “go virtual” for something since the pandemic, whether that be school, family gatherings, or church. Business meetings are no exception. But they require a bit more finesse, especially if you want them to be productive. If your business has had to make the transition to virtual meetings and you’re still getting the hang of it, we’ve got a few tips that might help you out.
Tip #1: Make an outline.
Whenever you “attend” a virtual business meeting, it can be tricky to stay focused and not monologue. Consequently, virtual business meetings can also drag out, perhaps longer than they would have had they been held in person. Prevent lengthy virtual meetings by writing out the topics you would like to cover ahead of time. Even a mini post-it note outline can be a great way to stay on-topic and give you a visual of how you’d like the meeting to flow.
Tip #2: Schedule virtual business meetings during nap time.
If you have children, you’re probably a pro by now at attending a Zoom meeting, turning on a show, and fixing a snack at the same time. But let’s face it, this scenario is less than ideal. Although at times you may have to multitask, try as much as possible to schedule your virtual business meetings during your child’s nap time, while your kids are in school, or when your spouse is home to keep them occupied. This way, you can devote your full attention to the meeting.
Tip #3: Create some guidelines.
Have your Zooms been unproductive and chaotic? It might be helpful for you to set some ground rules. Scrum.org says, “Virtual meetings lack many of the social norms that we implicitly use in regular meetings, so its good to be explicit about this.” Communicate your goals for the meeting, as well as some basic technical expectations from your team. For example, you could ask everyone to mute their mics when they’re not speaking so that background noises like pets, antsy toddlers, or a dishwasher running aren’t causing disruption.
Don’t forget to designate a secretary! Have them jot down any decisions that were made, things that need to be done by the next meeting, etc. Then have them email the recap to attendees and anyone who wasn’t able to attend. This way, the whole team has those key points and highlights to reference and take action on once the meeting ends.