With remote working on the rise, virtual meetings are no longer an ordinary office feature but an absolute necessity and a way of life for many. The immediate need for people to work remotely due to the current global health pandemic has brought about a surge in virtually run meetings.
In this new remote working reality, almost everyone is having to adapt to new habits and routines to maintain the status quo. To ensure team collaboration and innovation, inclusion in meetings must be part of organizational success.
But how can you make sure these virtual meetings are as collaborative and inclusive as possible?
Here, we will look at some of the best practices to make your virtual meetings feel more engaging and inclusive.
Begin with a Human Check-In
A great meeting always starts with an icebreaker. These are questions or activities used to help the team members relax and feel welcomed into a group meeting. Such an intro can create a positive atmosphere for the group, break down social barriers, and get people to know each other better especially in these unprecedented times of intense physical and emotional stress. That kind of interaction can lead to more team collaboration and clearer communication.
Create a Shared Space
In the absence of in-person connections, we are learning how to use technology such as video conferencing to fill the avoid. But not everyone feels comfortable turning on their video.
Depending on the nature of the meeting, you may require some additional tools to get everyone on the same page. You may need flip charts, virtual whiteboards, shared screens, or collaboration tools. Make it an option to have these tools during meetings. Also, demonstrate the need for all these features at the beginning of the meeting so that participants are aware of how to engage. A combination of different shared spaces positively influences your remote team presence in a meeting.
Set Clear Ground Rules of Meeting Engagement
Whether you’re managing a remote team for the first time or your team is working remotely, virtual meetings are a new set up for everyone. For this reason, it’s important to set some ground rules that refer to processes, preparations, and best communication practices that will apply to any meeting.
Here are a few things you should consider:
- Use of technology that is accessible to everyone on your team
- Test your technology like audio and video calls clarity and stability before the meeting.
- Don’t multi-task during the meeting.
- Be clear about your expectations in terms of engagement in the meeting.
- Mention the meeting etiquette expectations before you start. Some of them include checking notifications, stepping away from your desk during a session, usage of phones, or eating during meetings.
Share the Agenda Beforehand
Try to share your agenda with the team in advance so that everyone can prepare if needed. Make it clear what topics you’ll be discussing, what’s expected of the participants when it comes to preparation, and what the results of the meeting will be. Don’t forget to include a non-scheduled time for team members to raise any issue on their minds.
By creating a schedule and documenting every agenda to be discussed, you not only give way to collaborative problem solving but also facilitate better organization into your meeting.
Encourage Active Contribution and Participation from Attendees
It’s common to find one or two people dominating in virtual meetings. In this case, it can be hard to remain focused when you’re essentially listening to somebody going on and about something. Since you put the work into organizing these meetings, make it as engaging as possible with lively interactions and good visuals. The idea is to ensure everyone can participate fully and their opinions are heard.
Yes! It’s possible to have engaging, inclusive, and productive virtual meetings. Focusing on being inclusive in virtually run meetings and conferences can have a positive impact on your team’s innovation, engagement, and productivity. These simple steps will help you know how to conduct virtual meetings that are more engaging and inclusive. Give it a try and feel free to share what you’ve learned!