In 2023, virtual meetings and conferences will remain the norm in the business world. Constant technological advancements have made it easier for organizations to stay connected with their global stakeholder base, while still maintaining a sense of personalization.
No doubt about that. But what makes virtual meetings so attractive for businesses? The answer is simple, and you will find it in this article.
Benefits of Virtual Meetings
#1 Cost savings
This point is incredibly important in an era of recession and the high prices of travel and lodging. With virtual meetings, companies can save on all these costs which would have been incurred if they were to attend physical meetings. Furthermore, time saved from not having to commute and spend long hours in transport or airports can be used for more productive activities instead.
Virtual meetings reduce ANY need for physical travel and associated expenses such as airfare, accommodations, and more. This makes it easier for companies to keep their operational costs low while still engaging with stakeholders around the world.
#2 Increased productivity
Imagine that you are attending a physical marketing conference for corporate travel and the person who is speaking has to travel from one place to another to deliver their sales presentations. This would mean that the speaker needs to come back after their presentation and then proceed with their other tasks, leading to a loss of time and productivity.
In virtual meetings, however, speakers can continue with their work almost immediately after presenting without any need for travel. That’s because all of the presentations and discussions take place online so physical presence is not necessary. The same is true for digital brushes like the procreate hair brush for download, that you can use to create virtual illustrations, all from the comfort of your home and share with the whole world.
#3 Better collaboration
Moreover, virtual meetings also provide an opportunity for people to collaborate and communicate in real-time without having to be physically present in the same room or time zone. This makes it easier for teams to carry out their projects efficiently and effectively.
With the help of virtual meetings, teams can work together from different parts of the world without having to worry about time differences or geographical restrictions. This leads to better productivity and more collaboration in a shorter amount of time. And that translates into an improved performance that itself can lead to higher profits and better customer satisfaction.
#4 Can Be Referred To In The Future
Transcribing a meeting can be a valuable tool for future reference. By having a written record of the meeting, individuals and organizations can refer back to the transcript to jog their memory or access important information discussed. This can be particularly helpful for individuals who were unable to attend the meeting, as they can still access the information that was discussed and stay up-to-date with any decisions that were made.
Additionally, transcribing meetings can serve as evidence in case any disputes arise in the future, particularly in legal or compliance-related matters. Having a written record of the meeting can also help ensure that all participants are on the same page and have a clear understanding of what was discussed, which can lead to more effective communication and collaboration in the future.
How to SUCCESSFULLY implement virtual meetings in your business
#1 Create a designated meeting space
Your virtual meetings need to be held in a designated space. That way, everyone involved will know when and where the meeting will take place and can plan accordingly. You should also make sure that the technology you’ll be using for your virtual meetings is reliable and efficient.
The worst thing that can happen is for your meeting to be interrupted by technical difficulties or lack of bandwidth. So, make sure to invest in good equipment and ensure the space you’re using has a reliable internet connection.
#2 Set boundaries and guidelines
It's also important to set guidelines for virtual meetings so that everyone knows what’s acceptable and what's not. This includes setting rules for attendance, dress code, and conduct.
Having these guidelines in place, you can ensure that your meetings will be productive and successful. You should also make sure to include a schedule of the meeting topics so that everyone knows what to expect before attending.
Let's assume that some of your stakeholders can't attend the meeting. In such cases, you should provide them with access to a recording or summary of the meeting so that they can stay up-to-date on what's happening.
#3 Establish and communicate guidelines
Especially for internal meetings, you need to develop clear rules regarding acceptable behavior during virtual meetings and inform all participants prior to the start time.
The guidelines should include topics such as the importance of being on-time, not interrupting other participants and general decorum. This will ensure that everyone in attendance is focused on staying productive and respectful throughout the meeting.
By communicating these guidelines to your teams beforehand, you can help create an environment where virtual meetings are taken seriously and productivity is maximized.
#4 Introduce yourself before beginning
Greet each participant by name and explain what the purpose of the meeting is at the start of every gathering. Even if it's a recurring meeting, you should ask a few ice breaker questions and start by introducing any new members who have joined since the last time.
This will create a sense of comfort and familiarity that can help get everyone on the same page before diving into the agenda. It won't take too much time out of your meeting and can be a great way to build team morale and camaraderie.
Furthermore, it's a great opportunity to set the tone and expectations for the meeting, which can make it easier to stay on track throughout the gathering.
#5 Stay focused on the topic
Monitor conversation to ensure it remains on-topic and remind participants when they begin to stray off-topic. When that happens, politely redirect the conversation or ask them to move their comments to the appropriate place in the discussion.
It's also important to keep track of who is speaking so that everyone has an equal chance to contribute and be heard. This will help ensure that all perspectives are considered during your virtual meetings and can prevent any potential conflicts from arising. On topof that, it will make sure the meeting is not dominated by one individual.
#6 Take advantage of interactive features
Interactive features are there to be used! So, take advantage of various tools available in modern day meeting platforms to engage with the participants.
For example, you could use chat, polls, or surveys to measure audience engagement and get feedback on certain topics. This will help everyone stay focused and it can also encourage participation from all members - not just those who are more comfortable speaking up.
You can also use the chat function to encourage a Q&A session or ask for volunteers to lead certain tasks. This can make the meeting more engaging and help everyone stay focused on the task at hand.
#7 Schedule breaks regularly
Breaks should be taken after each section of the discussion or every hour so that people can stretch or grab a drink/snack if needed. It's easy to forget about breaks during virtual meetings, but they can actually be quite helpful in keeping everyone productive and energized.
You should also use breaks as a chance to transition from one topic to the next. This will help keep people engaged and focused on the agenda items that need to be discussed. Without even a single break, it might be impossible to keep everyone interested the entire time.
#8 Recap main points at end
Summarize key takeaways discussed during the meeting for clarity and recap any next steps or action items assigned to anyone in attendance. This step is crucial especially for virtual meetings as it helps to ensure everyone is on the same page and that they don't forget any important details.
It's also a good idea to thank all participants for their time and efforts, which will be greatly appreciated by your team members! This small gesture can really go a long way in fostering more collaborative relationships and creating an overall
#9 Allow for questions/comments after ending
Provide participants with an opportunity to ask any questions or make comments about topics discussed during meeting before officially concluding it. Giving even a few minutes of open discussion can be very beneficial in making sure that everyone walks away feeling satisfied with the meeting and understanding what their role is in the next steps.
For example, if you're discussing an upcoming project, this is a great time to ask for any additional input or feedback before moving forward. This can help avoid any potential issues down the road and ensure that all team members are on the same page.
And that's what you want in your virtual meeting, right?
#10 Follow up afterwards
Your virtual meeting shouldn't just end at the conclusion of the call. You should follow up with participants afterwards to recap any important points or decisions made during the meeting and ensure that everyone is on track for their next tasks. For instance, if you are a newly recruited freelancer for the business, it is advisable to follow up later to ensure that you are functioning effectively.
There are various types of follow-up that you can do - from sending out meeting minutes, sharing an assessment report, to checking in with specific team members to make sure they have everything they need. The important thing is to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any next steps are clear for all participants.
You can also send out a thank you follow-up email along with notes from meeting summarizing main points discussed and next steps required if necessary. Using these follow-up steps can make sure that everyone is clear on the objectives and outcomes of your virtual meeting.
Onto your next virtual meeting!
When thinking about your upcoming virtual meetings, remember that proper preparation and planning are key. Use the tips above to ensure that everyone is engaged and productive during each meeting - from start to finish!
With a few simple steps, you’ll be sure to have successful virtual meetings that help move your team forward. Good luck!