In light of the pandemic, many professionals find themselves working from home quite suddenly, thrust into a new norm that prompted adjustments around communication and work culture. Professionals everywhere are learning what emails need meetings and what meetings could have been emails. Remote meetings are vastly different than in-person ones. Voice calls lack facial expression, chat groups lack tone and voice and there are a dozen ways to be misunderstood in each. Even a bad connection on a video chat can leave a poor impression. But great remote meetings are possible and here are some tips to mastering them.
1. Share the Agenda
Staying organized during a meeting is important when considering everyone’s time and effort. Creating an agenda not only allows you to be time-efficient but will keep you on track during your calls. Lastly, sharing it with the meeting attendees gives people a chance to prepare and ask questions or make addendums. If you’re not running the meeting, feel free to ask for an agenda so you can better prepare to attend.
2. Keep Them Small
The more people in a meeting, the less effective they become. Consider your key stakeholders and trim the fat. If the meeting has to be everyone, such as an “all-hands” or company meeting, have moderation and order during so that the routine keeps everyone mindful of the time and message.
3. Test Your Equipment
Internet connection, mic, headset, camera, lighting — arrive a few minutes early if needed to make sure that your setup makes sense and works well. Hangups involving equipment can account for a lot of wasted time. In 2020, consider this the equivalent of bringing a notebook and pen to a meeting.
4. Assess and Reassess
Applying the strategy of evaluating and re-evaluating meeting effectiveness will improve overall results. Regularly take a look at structure, content, time, and output to ensure you’re using your meetings wisely in this new virtual climate. Soon some meetings may become unnecessary and get phased out, others might become shortened and others still might need a schedule change. It’s important to be adaptable when facing something new like sudden remote work and adaptability means staying observant, thoughtful, and creative.
5. Take Notes
Whether you’re running the meeting or attending, notes keep you organized, informed, and prepared. Understanding previous topics prevent overlap and allows for smarter questions and greater outcomes. Keeping track of what you learned, questions you had and quotes made creates a deeper learning experience and makes you a better, more attentive professional — even remotely.
When faced with remote meetings for the first time in your career, you don’t need to panic. Millions of people across America are experiencing the same thing. You become a stronger professional when you face a challenge head-on and come out on top. Add these five items to your arsenal and watch your online meeting skills skyrocket.