Meetings are an essential part of any business organization. People working for any corporation will always need to come together and discuss strategies and ideas. However, it may not be possible for some of us to be physically present during the meetings. There are a variety of factors that affect attendance for meetings and conferences. Where operations of a business corporation spread over a vast region or across continents, it is challenging for people to attend meetings physically due to the travel requirements. Holding emergency meetings will prove to be more difficult in such a case.
Another factor that affects the physical attendance of meetings is the restriction on movement of people. For example, an outbreak and spread of an epidemic may lead to restrictions in the movement of people through curfews and lockdowns. With the current advancement in technology, however, we can connect and interact with our bosses and co-workers. We can also hold meetings and discuss businesses using a platform that provides virtual conferencing platforms.
Holding a virtual meeting is as easy as the typical face-to-face conferences. The only difference is that you have to adopt an online platform in this case. However, there is a need for adequate preparation for the virtual meeting to be a success. The following are guidelines on how to conduct virtual business meetings.
How to Conduct Business Virtual Meeting
When planning for a virtual meeting, you will need to have an understanding of your needs. It will depend on the size of your business and the number of people expected to take part in the meeting. In doing so, you will be able to choose a suitable virtual meeting technology.
Set meeting objectives
Before the meeting, the leader should ensure that they set clear goals for them to follow. Where possible, it is also necessary to share these objectives with the participants of the meeting. Doing so will allow them to prepare their input and possible questions. It will also help in ensuring that the meeting will be all-inclusive.
When planning to hold a virtual business meeting, it is essential to consider the time factor. Participants should be notified about the meeting in advance to allow them to clear their schedules. Where the participants live in different time zones, it is essential to have the meeting at a time that does not inconvenience them.
Testing the technology
Before the meeting starts, all the participants should ensure that they make the necessary tests to ensure that the platform is working. They should ensure that they have a reliable internet connection. They should also choose rooms with adequate lighting and minimal distraction. The background should be natural to low better visibility.
Understand the objectives
Every participant of the virtual meeting should do sufficient research on the topics set for discussion during the meeting. They should ensure that they read and understand any information sent to them before the meeting. When one is well prepared, they can participate confidently. They are also able to discover new ideas and policies that help in attaining the objectives of the meeting.
The presentation of different agendas should be short and to the point. The information on the topics should be shared with other members before the meeting. It will allow members to participate in discussions with questions and suggestions.
Running a virtual business meeting successfully
For any meeting to be successful, there must be a set of rules to be followed by the participants. These should include strict adherence to the agendas set, the sequence of steps to follow throughout the meeting, and observation of time.
The rules should also ensure that every participant sticks to the meeting to the end. Just like in a one-on-one meeting, there should be no unnecessary movement. Everyone should desist from multitasking. It would be unethical to mute the meeting to answer calls or read emails.
Seeing Builds Trust
Having you meeting participates enable their video and showing their faces, makes a person more real and enable the use of more visual ques for interpreting the participates mood, emotion context, and intention.
Over the years, there have many numbers bantered around regarding the percentage of human communications comes from non-verbal cues. The Mehrabian and Ferris study provides a predecessor formula to 55/38/7. Meaning that human communications do not all come from the spoken language, but rather that human communications are 55 percent body language, 38 percent tone of voice, and 7 percent spoken words. While these numbers are not absolutes, they do convey the idea that visual cues significantly aide communication between meeting participants. Also, it is human nature to trust more with whom we are familiar with. Knowing and seeing a person’s face makes us feel more familiar, and there we trust them more than some who we do not recognize and therefore is a stranger. with then
Break the ice
It is appropriate to start any meeting in a way that allows all the participants to connect. The leader of the meeting should allow a few minutes for the people to exchange pleasantries before starting the actual business. Allowing them to connect will play a part in boosting the productivity of the meeting. It is also a way for them to understand one another, which is essential during the discussion of agendas.
Appoint a facilitator
For the meeting to have an orderly flow, members should assign one person to take the lead. The leader should then take charge of the discussions and ensure that other members are sticking to one topic at a time. The facilitator should also ensure that members are giving their views in an orderly manner.
The leader of the meeting should encourage all the members to participate in the discussions. After every presentation of a topic, participants should have the chance to seek clarification to ensure that they are all on the same page. It is also essential to allow room for giving suggestions on different topics. With adequate participation, it becomes easy for the members to come up with ideas that stimulate business growth. It also becomes easy to find solutions to problems that the business may be facing.
To ensure that all the participants are active in the meeting, everyone should have a few minutes to suggest an issue for discussion outside the set topics. Other members can also give their input or ask questions on the matters raised. Such a strategy will increase the productivity of the meeting and provide points for future discussions. At the end of the session, participants should have a chance to give a review and make suggestions on any changes in the future.
Water cooler conclusion
Before the meeting comes to an end, the participants should have a few minutes to share their opinions on the meeting topics. The ending conversation will allow them to point out their reservations on different matters. They can also put forward other pending questions relating to the meeting or otherwise.
We have all witnessed significant growth in technology. The growth has made it easy for people all over the world to be connected. It has made it simple for people to come together for discussions and sharing of ideas without meeting in person. In the same way, people can run their businesses without the need to be physically present. Technology has also allowed employees to work remotely and efficiently. It is significantly helping in overcoming barriers such as distance and time. The use of virtual meeting technology has been a crucial realization for many companies and institutions.