After working from home for a while, your team may have fallen into some bad habits around your virtual meetings. Maybe the meetings drag on a bit. Maybe they lack focus or don't get the results you need. Maybe employees are tuned out because it's hard to get a word in.
Well, after months of hosting and managing large events, working with our clients to understand how their organizations work best, we're ready to share what we've learned.
Check out our virtual meeting best practices!
Based on trials, failures, and successes, here's what we've learned about conducting an effective meeting on Zoom.
1. Make someone the discussion moderator.
Is your organization sometimes guilty of "meeting just to meet"? If so, try assigning a moderator to your virtual discussions, whose job it is to consistently bring the group back to the agenda, key questions, and purpose of the meeting.
If you've got a big meeting like an annual retreat or strategy discussion, where you want everyone's opinion or perspective, it might even be worth it to hire a facilitator to drive the discussion. Sometimes, it's helpful having an external third party who is immune to company politics and can drive the discussion to the desired outcome.
2. Use Zoom's existing tools.
One of the more challenging things about virtual meetings, compared to in-person, is that you can't exactly read body language. So, it's harder to tell when someone is confused or trying to enter the conversation.
We recommend you test out some of the built-in Zoom capabilities to get more from your meetings. As you think through your agenda, plan out some questions or topics that you want the team to weigh in on. Then, create a poll and launch it at the right point in the conversation to get real-time input from your team.
Or have people use the "raise hand" feature when they have a comment/question. The point is, these tools exist to solve a problem. So you might as well use them!
3. Encourage people to use the chat.
Noticing a trend so far? So much of effective virtual meeting management is making sure that you get to hear from the right people at the right time, without interrupting the flow or distracting from the main purpose of the meeting.
So, at the start of your meeting, encourage people to use the chat and reinforce the message throughout the conversation.
Want to add on to a speaker's point? Don't interrupt them to say you agree... just add that in the chat. Want to share a document or file that will bring the discussion up a level... add it to the chat. Got a funny sidebar joke that will liven the mood? Add it in the chat!
4. Make it fun!
Don't just share your screen with a boring deck, packed with dense words. If you want to have a truly engaging discussion, spend the extra time on your presentation materials so that people pay attention. We love using GIFs on slides to add some animation and energy. Or, embed a link to a video that brightens everyone's spirits and changes the mood.
By adding just a little bit of thought and personality to your meeting, your presentation will light up the room and get the results you set out for. Trust us, it's worth the effort!
Looking for a partner with more tips and tricks to help your team manage meetings? We're happy to help!