#ThinkDigital: Consider Virtual Meetings

Communication is an undisputed essential for company success and virtual meetings have become an effective way of ensuring that there is never a downtime in executing any project. With the rapidly advancing work environment, virtual meetings create an avenue for easily disseminating information. Most executives, team members and others rely on this for feedback no matter what part of the globe they are located. It is also useful for troubleshooting purposes.

Quite a number of people still haven’t been able to fully maximize virtual meetings. So, here are some essentials to assist you in conducting or participating in any virtual meeting.

First, punctuality is key. Do endeavour to arrive long before the slated time to avoid keeping other parties waiting. Encourage your other colleagues to do same if you are not the only one participating in the meeting. Also ensure that the communication lines are set up early enough.

Second, the quality of feedback and amount of information derived from virtual meetings are highly dependent on the quality of the relationship already existing between the parties. Hence, there is a need to establish a level of cordiality that enhances the outcomes of virtual meetings. To do this, you need to deliberately create an avenue to exchange pleasantries with the other party minutes before the actual meeting time. Ask about their welfare and also give room for your colleagues to also share theirs. This helps to set a good tone for the meeting and relieves the atmosphere of tension. Overtime, the good relationship established would enhance the smooth running of the meeting and subsequent ones. Another good way is to meet the other party face to face whenever they come visiting.

Thirdly, if you are leading a meeting you must be prepared with a clear agenda which contain the objectives and planned strategies for the meeting. Print your agenda ahead of time as this will help participants get acquainted with the topic of discussion and also help them participate actively. Always find out the names of those present and write them down in a note so that you can refer to them individually during the meeting. Doing this would retain their attention, harness their contributions and also show that you value their opinions.

Additionally, do not rush out of any meeting unresolved. Those affected by a particular issue need to be appeased. Manage the meeting well enough not to leave any disagreements lingering between any parties. Constantly check for understanding to avoid leaving any party in the dark.

Finally, whether you are a leader or a participant, multi-tasking during virtual meetings is a complete no-no especially because it is distracting and limits your full participation. This is the essence of early preparation; clear your desk, reply all urgent e-mails, suspend calls if you need to and treat the meeting as importantly as you would if the other participants were sitting in front of you.

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