TOP TRAINING COMPANY BEST PRACTICES
With the work environment becoming increasingly global and advances in online technologies, more and more people are connecting virtually with colleagues and clients. People are used to virtual meetings, whether for team status check-ins, training and even job interviews. While the technology allows employees across the country or around the globe to meet as if they were in the same room, effective meeting training can help to ensure more successful meetings.
Here are 7 training tips for more effective virtual meetings (and in-person meetings as well).
1. Prepare an agenda and distribute materials
One of the biggest meeting complaints for most people is attending a meeting when they don’t need to be there. When scheduling a meeting, create an agenda and send it with the meeting invitation so participants know why they need to be there and can be prepared with the information they are expected to contribute.
In addition to the agenda, distribute any materials – reports, background reading or other documents – so participants can review them ahead of time. This eliminates taking time during the meeting to go through them and allows you to get right down to business.
2. Log in five minutes before the meeting time.
How many times have you attended a virtual meeting and the first 10 minutes was wasted as participants dealt with technical issues? It always seems to take longer than you think to get connected. To avoid the issue and start on time, login five minutes before the meeting time to ensure there are no problems. When setting the agenda you may even want to include this as an item:
9:55 a.m. – Log in to meeting platform
10:00 a.m. – Meeting begins – review agenda items
3. Begin and end on time
Meetings are like water – they tend to fill the space they are given. When planning a meeting, consider if the topic really needs a full hour or will half an hour suffice? Don’t automatically default to a one-hour meeting.
4. Introduce participants
If participants have not met each other, begin by introducing everyone, including their title and function. You may also want to explain why they are there so all participants understand the role of each person in the meeting.
5. Reduce distractions
Background noise can be a distraction during a virtual meeting. If you work in an open environment, use a headset and microphone, and mute yourself when you’re not speaking. If several people in your office are attending, you could also book a boardroom for everyone and close the door.
If you work remotely from a home office, try to eliminate noise and distractions – vacuuming in the other room, barking dogs, or restless children. Find a quiet work area, closing the door and locking it if necessary. Who can forget the hilarious viral video of the kids crashing their father’s live BBC interview? Don’t let this happen to you!
6. Check-in throughout
In most meetings the more vocal people do all the talking and quieter people may not be able to join the conversation. In virtual meetings, this is even more difficult. Before moving on to the next agenda item, stop to ask if the people who have not spoken have any comments and make sure everyone is still engaged.
7. Review action items
The last item on the agenda should be a review of the points covered and action items identified. Be sure that each person who is assigned a task is clear on the action to be taken and the assigned deadline.
Whether meeting virtually or in-person, download the Productive Meetings 101 infographic. This helpful resource will help you make your meetings more successful, and bring meaning back to your meetings.