Make Virtual Meetings Work for You

By Tania Cervoni, Canadian Management Centre

If you’re like many people right now, you’re learning – the hard way - what works and doesn’t work when it comes to leading meetings online.

To help get you started, we’ve summarized a few key tips inspired by GP Strategies’ 6 Best Practices for Leading Effective [Virtual] Meetings.

  1. Think structure. An online meeting is missing a lot of the non-verbal cues that are present in person. This is true even if people are on video. It makes planning who is going to say what, and when, essential. Outlining roles for people not only helps with clarity but helps boost engagement and avoid the dreaded online-multi-tasking-monster threat that is ever present with virtual meetings.
  2. Help people connect. Nothing builds safety and engagement in a [virtual] room better than creating connection between participants. But if you’ve every launched a meeting with an open-ended question, only to have no one answer, you’ve come to realize that you need to structure interactions in a way that helps people understand both the tools and the rules of online engagement. By planning icebreakers, using the chat, polling, raise hand and other features strategically, you can build interactions safely and effectively.
  3. Keep people involved. Distractions are even more tempting for people during virtual meetings. Make sure that any one-way dialogue is broken up with contributions from other members. Inject activities such as polls, whiteboards and chats into presentations to make sure people are staying in the conversation and having opportunities to contribute.

Be sure to end your meeting with the tried-and-true best practice of outlining next steps and answering the question Who will do what, and by when?

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