Most, if not all, of us, have participated and attended virtual meetings. While its advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, there are certain mistakes that depreciate its efficiency which could be easily avoided.
Preparedness does not refer to the absence of corporate blunders; rather, it is anticipating the worst-case scenarios and having a plan to counter it, making sure the meeting agenda is still met. Nothing is worse than conducting and attending a virtual meeting unprepared. It gives an impression of disrespect towards other meeting participants and a lack of professionalism.
And while insufficient preparation is the root of all common mistakes, we narrowed down some specific mistakes that you should try to avoid at all costs.
While virtual meetings are definitely beneficial for companies with offices worldwide, we sometimes fail to remember one downside to it – the difference in time zones. When planning a virtual meeting, be mindful of your participants’ various time zones. A time that works well for you might be really inconvenient for someone from the other side of the globe.
You don’t want to schedule a meeting too early that participants are barely functioning or too late where they’re already preparing to go to bed. Make a wrong move with the scheduled time and your participants may not come in as engaged as you would like them to be. Be sure that the meeting is held at a reasonable hour at a mutually convenient time. You may use online timezone converters to aid you with scheduling and avoid mistakes like this.
Even the most reliable technology sometimes fails. Technological glitches can happen at the most unlikely circumstances. Power failure, software lagging, connectivity issues; these are common setbacks that can completely disrupt the meeting. While you can’t anticipate and counter them all, at least have a backup plan if anything goes awry. Make sure to discuss it with the participants so that everyone is prepared if anything unpleasant happens. Coordinate with the tech team and ask them to be on standby during the meeting.
It’s important to conduct rehearsals and test runs and tech checks beforehand because it will allow you to familiarize yourself with the service or platform effectively and spot possible problems before the meeting proper. This way, you will be prepared for any difficulties that may arise and allow you to deal with it quickly with minimal disruption possible. This is also a way for some participants to try the platform firsthand and see if it also works well on their end.
You may be hidden behind the curtain of the virtual realm and in the comfort of your own home, but that does not give you the right to be lax and unprofessional. You don’t want to distract everyone with the sound of you sipping your tea, your dog barking, or a barista calling for a customer’s name inside a cafe. The ideal situation is that all participants who aren’t speaking should put their phones on mute.
Always be mindful of your screens especially if you’re assigned to share your screen and discuss a topic. You don’t want them seeing whatever’s in your Amazon cart while discussing company goals. Close down unnecessary windows or applications. If you are to discuss topics and there’s a need for you to share your screen, make sure that only relevant items are visible from your end.
It is vital to have a recording for every meeting so as not to miss out on any important details and key highlights. The audio recording of the meeting can be sent out to all the participants afterward so that they can focus on the meeting instead of writing down notes. Recorded audio is the easiest way to keep track of everything that was accomplished in a virtual meeting.
Choose a provider with a platform that all participants are familiar with, or can use intuitively, and be sure that it offers quality video, audio, connectivity, and reliability. If you hope to conduct virtual meetings involving a large volume of people, use large conference calls – it would be beneficial to look for a provider offering experienced and highly-skilled operators.
Preparation is definitely a must. Put in that extra effort and attention to detail and there are lower chances of committing such mistakes. By straying away from these, you can alleviate unnecessary delays in your project.