If you and your team are working remotely, you’re likely having many more meetings online than usual, and they’re very different from an in-person meeting. Here are some tips to help you run your remote meeting more effectively.
Pick a webcast platform
First, you have to decide where to have your remote meetings. To do this, research the platforms that are available, how much they’ll cost you, and what they offer. We’ve put together a guide to some of our favorites to help you choose.
Invest in a quality headset
There are few things less conducive to an effective remote meeting than bad sound. Using your laptop’s microphone won’t ensure that you are heard, and when you’re relying on technology for communication, you should have the right technology. Invest in a headset that helps to avoid echo/feedback. There are plenty of affordable options on Amazon in the $20-30 range, and even one of these will make a huge difference.
Even if you’re using video, attendees won't have body language cues to know when to speak. Using verbal cues, and using them assertively, will be more important than ever. Frequently tell participants to stay on track and address people by name when you want them to answer.
Set up meeting etiquette
Speaking of, it’s important to set rules for remote meetings that wouldn’t be necessary in person. Decide on a hand-raising method -- when someone wants to speak, what should they do? Some webcast platforms have an integrated hand-raising feature. Also, it’s a good standard practice for everyone to mute themselves while the main speaker, or whoever they address, speaks. This not only helps avoid interruptions, but also keeps out noises from people’s backgrounds.
Record the meeting
If it’s useful to you, you can also record the meeting, whether for future reference or to send to other team members later. Most platforms do all this for free. If it’s not necessary, then just skip this tip.
Schedule meetings at the quarter-hour
Want to keep your meetings short? It may sound strange, but schedule your meetings at the quarter-hour (e.g. 8:15 or 8:45). This makes attendees subconsciously believe they've been on the call longer than they have, so they’re more likely to try and end the call at the half-hour mark (ex: 8:30 or 9), keeping calls short and concise.
Have a plan
Any meeting should have an agenda, but in a remote meeting, it becomes absolutely essential. Create an agenda with topics and action items, share it with the group beforehand, and follow it closely. This will keep your meeting concise and organized.
Make meetings regular
Setting up regular daily or weekly meetings is a good idea when working remotely, as the usual conversations that happen in an office won’t occur as easily in a remote setting. Having regular meetings will make everyone’s day more effective, and will prevent each meeting from running long with a backlog of topics and questions. A quick sync-up per day can be more effective than a weekly hour-long meeting.
Follow up after
After the meeting, make sure to follow up and remind everyone of the action items and important notes that were discussed. This will ensure that each meeting actually has a purpose, and help you avoid repetitive discussions in the next meeting.
Follow these tips, and your meetings, and by extension your workday, will go much more smoothly.