How To Lead an Effective Virtual Meeting

Meetings have always been a complicated topic. They’re both necessary and sometimes a distraction for your employees if not handled properly. But moving everything to virtual space has changed the meaning of meetings for good. Virtual business meetings require a little more creativity and finesse than their in-person counterparts. Here are a few management tips that can help you run an effective virtual meeting.  

Consider Attention Spans 

When done efficiently, inperson meetings should be short and sweet, covering only the essential information. The same is true for virtual meetings. And the nature of remote work means this is even more critical. Know that your employees have short attention spans. That doesn’t mean they can’t focus on a task, but when they have important tasks to do, they don’t want to be derailed and distracted by an unnecessary meeting.  

Adjust for Time Zones 

Remote employees may mean you have people working in varying time zones. It would be best if you accounted for those working in Pacific Time when scheduling an 8 a.m. Eastern Time meeting. If your company happens to be global in scale, this will complicate the timing dramatically. Plan so no one is caught off guard.  

Send an Agenda 

To keep the meeting on schedule and task, send an agenda ahead of time. Stick to just the topics and limit additional conversation and questions. This will help everyone know what they need to prepare for ahead of the meeting and what to expect during the meeting. Any additional questions or concerns can be handled via email or one-on-one.  

Record the Meeting 

There are, of course, advantages to virtual meetings that in-person meetings could never have. One is the ability to record the sessions. This can be helpful for people who were out of the virtual office that day or for someone who gets pulled away because of an urgent task. You never have to catch someone up; you can send them the recording. But be sure to let people know if you’ll be recording so they won’t be caught off guard.  

Prepare for Participation  

With virtual meetings, you also have to plan for participation. Will you allow others to share their screen? Do you just want people to watch and not interact? Will you have the chat enabled to allow side conversations? These things should also be determined ahead of time, so you know the flow and don’t have to use valuable meeting time to figure them out.  

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