3 Tips for Facilitating Virtual Meetings26 May 2020
In the current coronavirus-affected business climate, many employees are getting used to the new normal of remote working environments. And while the idea of communicating with your team via technology may seem out of the ordinary, it's certainly something to consider getting used to – Sid Sijbrandij, CEO and co-founder of GitLab told Human Resources Director magazine that remote work is beneficial for both the company and its employees.
"For companies, there are unique operational efficiencies, huge cost savings on office space and a broader pool of job applicants," Sijbrandij shared. "For employees, this structure enables off-peak lifestyles, family-friendly flexible schedules, and improved work/life harmony."
These countless benefits show exponential growth and positivity across company culture, but ensuring that administrative staff continues to communicate and collaborate with workers is essential to such success. Virtual meetings are essential during these unprecedented times, so understanding how to connect with employees and keep them engaged and organised is critical.
Here are three helpful tips for facilitating virtual meetings:
1. Set an agenda and always come prepared
While digital tools have proven to be highly beneficial in the workplace for years, there's always a chance for technological issues or difficulties. Interaction Associates recommended budgeting for ample time to get the meeting started to avoid any potential problems caused by technology.
Preparing an agenda in advance is another significant action item in preparing for a virtual meeting as it gives employees action points and takeaways and also shows that you have respect for staff members' time.
2. Give everyone on the meeting a chance to participate
Employee engagement is an important factor in facilitating virtual meetings since you won't have any face-to-face interaction with staff members. Promoting inclusiveness is a strong signifier that you're focused on fostering strong connections with employees no matter where you are. Always make time for staff members to reach out for questions and don't hesitate to let them have a chunk of time during the meeting to address any concerns they might have with their current work environment.
Remember: You know your employees more than anyone, so make sure to gauge the "room" from one virtual meeting to the next to decide how you want to facilitate the meeting. If your staff members are more engaged on a phone call over a video meeting, you don't have to make them turn the webcam on. Understanding their comfort levels while working from home and providing flexibility is a great way to connect with staff.
3. Don't wait until the end of the meeting to ask questions
While we're on the topic of questions, it's very important to consider the following: It might be most common or convenient for you to wait until the end of the discussion to ask questions, but you may find your staff members to be more engaging if you make time throughout the meeting for questions and concerns. This is a simple way to keep the attention of the meeting attendees and give others a chance to talk as well. Remember: These meetings should be highly effective to keep staff members connected and on track, so be sure to make your virtual meetings as efficient as possible.
Leading a remote team may be a new responsibility for you, but it doesn't have to be a confusing and difficult task to navigate. With ICML's online training workshop dedicated to leading and managing virtual teams, you can learn how to effectively check in on team members, keep everyone engaged and manage performance and productivity from afar. During this training, we'll teach you the importance of maintaining connections while staff members work from home and guide you through the in's and out's of facilitating virtual meetings on a regular basis.
To learn more about managing a virtual team of employees during such unprecedented times and into the future, contact ICML directly today.