For many of us during these difficult times, it can be a challenge to ensure that virtual meetings are actionable and productive.
As staff and teams have transitioned to working remotely, many of us have had to rethink our meeting practices.
Here are five powerful tips and advice on how to run your remote meetings more effectively:
Tip #1 - One To One Meetings
Building rapport can be difficult in a remote setting, especially when we're used to meeting in-person. Therefore, for your virtual setting, rather than delve right into the meeting agenda and its content, allocate three to five minutes, in the beginning, to see how your colleagues are doing on a personal level. Ask questions like; "how are you feeling", "do you need anything", or "how can I help? you”.
Tip #2: Team Meetings
For some, working remotely can feel a bit like Groundhog Day. As leaders, we can help with this by making a conscious effort to engage with everyone during the conversation - this helps them to align and achieve. We can use this opportunity to inject variety into the ways we communicate with our staff and teams by using methods such as the three "P's". This is where we ask each attendee to bring one of three “P’s” to the virtual meeting with them, e.g. a plant, pet, or picture (for example of their children, parents, or partner). This gives staff and teams the ability to focus and also the space to share something personal about themselves - our most basic human need is to share and connect with each other.
Tip #3. Virtual Events
An immediate reaction might be to replicate an in-person event into a virtual environment - this isn’t usually the best approach as virtual events are more of an exercise in subtraction rather than replication. Therefore, it's important to re-evaluate your objectives for the event and how to best meet those objectives using a virtual format, e.g. you can transform a three-day in-person event into a series of online sessions taken over several weeks. This will help staff and teams be better prepared to absorb all of the content online, as it won’t be packed into one long session.
Tip #4: All-Hands Meetings
For many leaders, all-hands meetings are the main way for us to communicate our business updates. During these uncertain times, it’s not business as usual, so virtual all-hands meetings shouldn’t be either. It's important to rethink the format of your all-hands meetings and ask if it’s based around employee wellbeing, e.g. dedicate the first half of your all-hands meetings to do an employee check-in by asking all attendees to answer a series of pre-provided questions, such as; "what am I grateful for today?", "who am I checking in on or connecting with today?", "what expectations of 'normal' am I letting go of today"?, "how am I getting outside today?", "how am I moving my body today?", "what beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?". Questions like these will help to ground everyone and allow them to embrace a healthy perspective.
Tip #5. Virtual Presentations
Technical hiccups are almost unavoidable during online meetings - especially when they involve multiple hand-offs between different presenters, so you should expect virtual presentations to last 25% longer than in-person presentations with similar content. The extra time allocated will allow us to handle presentations with persistence and grace, rather than panic and blame.
Running effective meetings online can be challenging even in the best of times. Now more than ever, it’s likely that the way your staff and team members approached meetings before will not be the same way they approach them in a remote environment. So, take a minute to look back on these tips and see how you can tweak your meeting agendas and/or format to better align with your remote staff and teams. By doing this you will not only sharpen the contents of your meetings but provide a powerful way to help them feel even more seen and supported.
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