The Complete Guide to Successful Remote Meetings
In this new modern age of remote work, many of us are adjusting to a different way of operating in the work world. We’ve left in-person meetings and offices behind for more effective ways of functioning - remote work. Remote work has been around for ages, but the pandemic surged a rapid increase in the amount of companies, businesses, and employers switching to this way of work. As more people come to understand that remote work is effective, more cost efficient, and increases employee accessibility, we can expect the increase to continue.
With the trend heading towards more remote work, many employers and leaders have found themselves wondering how to properly run remote meetings. Remote meetings are the same as the typical in-person office meeting, as they have the same goals and purpose, but the operation looks a bit different. If you’re wanting to learn how to run effective and productive remote meetings, you’ve come to the right place.
In this complete guide to successful remote meetings, we’ll cover:
- What remote meetings are.
- The 3 types of remote meetings.
- The top benefits of using remote meetings over in-person meetings.
- How to make remote meetings successful and engaging, and so much more.
What Are Remote Meetings?
Remote meetings, also referred to as virtual meetings, are meetings that take place via technology opposed to in-person. They can be used in any setting and participants can join from any location in the world. Remote meetings are used by companies, organizations, agencies, businesses, universities, and more. Their uses are endless and as long as you have access to a computer and the internet, you can join a remote meeting.
Remote meetings can be compared to the traditional in-person meetings, but have many benefits of being remote. We’ll further discuss the great benefits of remote meetings below. There are three different types of remote meetings: teleconferencing, video conferencing, and web conferencing. Each type has their own set of benefits and potential limitations, all of which we will discuss below.
Teleconferencing is an audio only remote meeting, meaning you will not visually see the other participants. Teleconferencing works by having participants dial into a given conference number and entering the password for the meeting. They allow participants to call in to join the meeting from any location in the world. They allow for international communication, which is great for many businesses and companies. Teleconferencing allows for more accessibility by only requiring a working phone to join the meeting call. These calls can be recorded for documentation purposes and they save on travel costs.
Video conferencing is very similar to teleconferencing, except with video. This type of remote meeting allows participants to see each other via webcams. They include audio and video, meaning all participants will be able to hear and see one another during the meeting. Just like teleconferencing, video conferencing allows participants to join from any location in the world. As long as you have a computer with a microphone and webcam, you’re ready to join a video conferencing meeting. These take teleconferencing to the next level by allowing participants to see one another during the meeting. This is great because it allows all participants to see each other’s faces and body language during the meeting and it promotes connectivity.
Just like the name suggests, this type of remote meeting includes the internet. Web conferencing is an online service where users can hold meetings, conferences, and presentations via the internet. Like video conferencing, web conferencing uses microphones and webcams to connect the participants. It goes a step beyond video conferencing by allowing participants to share their screens with other members of the meeting. This is incredibly beneficial in the workforce, as it allows participants to share their work, documentation, and more.
What Are the Benefits of Remote Meetings?
Now that we have the basics of remote meetings down, let’s discuss the many great benefits they have to offer. As mentioned above, we can expect to see an increase in remote work and remote meetings in the future and it’s due to the great benefits they have on employers and employees alike.
Saves Commute Time:
One of the biggest benefits of remote meetings is that they completely cut out commute time. In in-person and office based meetings, all participants had to travel to attend. In the remote work world, the days of excessive business travel are long gone. Many employers and employees alike have previously spent entire work days, or multiple days at a time, traveling to attend in-person meetings. This reduced work productivity and took a toll on everyone involved. Remote meetings completely cut out travel time by allowing participants to join from any location.
Saves Commute Cost:
Not only does traveling for work meetings take up our time, it also costs employers and employees money. Many companies, businesses, and corporations have spent large amounts of money covering travel costs for meeting participants. These costs can include airway travel, rental car, lodging, food, and more. Those costs definitely add up over time and removing travel from the equation saves everyone money. Employees are likely to spend money traveling as well. Even with their employers covering traveling costs and food, it’s very unlikely that they can travel without spending at least a little bit of their own money. Removing traveling from meetings saves money for everyone involved.
Remote meetings allow participants to join from the comfort of their own home or workspace. This is incredibly enticing for many as people typically prefer to be in their own space. This also allows participants the freedom of being able to structure their days in ways that are more productive and efficient for them. Instead of having to spend time and money traveling to attend the meeting, participants can simply log on and join from wherever they’re already located.
Saves on Office Costs:
In in-person meetings, an office space is required. Maintaining an office space is more expensive than you may think. Not only do businesses and employers have to spend money to keep an office space functioning, such as renting or buying the space, they also have to spend money on other office space requirements. Many offices are equipped with beverages, coffee machines, snacks, supplies, and more. These costs can add up quickly and removing an office space from the equation saves large amounts of money.
Promotes Participant Accessibility:
Potentially the biggest benefit of remote meetings for employees is the accessibility boost they offer. Prior to remote work, many people missed out on exciting opportunities due to their location. Now, employees have the ability to find great opportunities from any location. Being able to work remotely and attend remote meetings have given many people the chance to excel in positions they would have missed out on. This is also great for employers as it allows them to find great talent from many different locations.
Even in a post pandemic world, the remote meeting isn’t going away any time soon. If the coronavirus epidemic taught us anything, it’s that people will still find a way to meet even when we can’t do so in person. Read more in our post on what is the use of remote meetings in the post pandemic world?
How to Make Remote Meetings Successful and Engaging
Transitioning to remote meetings may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! We have many excellent tips and tricks to ensuring your remote meeting is successful, engaging, and productive.
Use Ice Breakers
Ice breakers always tend to get a bad reputation, but they are incredibly beneficial when it comes to team meetings. An ice breaker is a game, question, or prompt designed to create a sense of welcoming and discussion for a meeting. They help ensure all members are participating and engaging in conversation. It helps members become acquainted with one another and feel more comfortable speaking up.
They promote comfortability, engagement, and conversation within a meeting. They ease the anxious tension that is present at the beginning of the meeting and can help all participants feel more calm and confident. They’re meant to be light hearted and to start the meeting off on a good foot. There are many different types of icebreakers you can utilize to start your meeting such as common ground, this or that, two word check in, and more. Using an icebreaker at the start of your meeting will surely make participants feel more calm and relaxed.
How to Start a Remote Meeting Positively
The beginning of a meeting is incredibly important and should not be overlooked. This is your chance to set the tone of the meeting in a positive and productive way to ensure it runs smoothly. We shared in a recent post how to start a remote meeting positively, but here are the most important steps you will want to follow:
Introduce All Participants:
It’s not uncommon in remote work for participants to not know one another. That, paired with the fact that not all participants will be shown or speaking during the meeting, makes it important to acknowledge all attendees. If someone is never acknowledged or introduced, they may not feel comfortable enough to speak up during the meeting. Introducing everyone will make all participants feel respected, important, and more comfortable during the meeting.
Catch Up With Each Participant:
Make sure to check in with all participants when starting your meeting to ensure everyone is given the opportunity to share. Maybe a participant will have an exciting piece of news they want to share with everyone, or maybe a participant will have a question or concern regarding a work issue they want to discuss. Opening the floor like this promotes participant engagement and comfortability within the meeting. Don’t forget to include an icebreaker or two at the start of your meeting!
Present the Goal of the Meeting:
Setting the goal and purpose of the meeting is incredibly important. This ensures that all participants are on the same page and have similar expectations. Presenting the goal at the beginning will allow participants to know what they need to bring to the table and allows them to prepare. This also ensures that everything will be covered and discussed during the meeting.
Encourage Questions and Prompt Participant Engagement:
In remote meetings, it’s incredibly important to encourage participant engagement. By meeting remotely, aspects of inclusiveness and connection can be lacking, so you want to really make sure you’re prompting participants to speak up. This will show participants that their comments, questions, and concerns are important and they will feel more comfortable speaking up.
How to Make the Meeting Engaging
A successful remote meeting will have all participants mentally present and participating within the meeting. Participants should be engaging with one another, the content, and the speaker. Remote meetings can be just as effective and efficient as in-person meetings, if done properly. With the lack of physical inclusivity, we need to take steps to ensure our remote meetings are engaging.
Following these tips will ensure your remote meeting is engaging:
Prepare the Agenda in Advance
Not only is this smart planning on the host’s part, it will allow participants to prepare for the meeting as well. Create an outline that includes what content needs to be discussed, what expectations you have for participants, and set a time frame for the meeting based on your needs. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and sets participants up to be more engaged during the meeting.
Have a Backup Script
A backup script should include key concepts and ideas that need to be covered within the meeting. Keeping this handy will ensure nothing is forgotten or overlooked. By utilizing a backup script, it allows your meeting to open up and become more conversational within all participants. If you notice the meeting is trailing off track, you can use the backup script to get back on the same page.
Gather a Status Update
Gathering a status update from participants allows everyone the opportunity to discuss their work. It allows participants to share any questions, concerns, comments, or good news regarding their personal work. This promotes engagement and keeps everyone on the same page.
Be Clear About Expectations
We can’t expect participants to be able to read our minds, so providing them clear instructions about your expectations will help the meeting run more smoothly. This also gives participants an opportunity to plan and prepare for the meeting. People tend to respond better when they know what is expected of them, so doing this will only help your meeting.
If you notice that participants are struggling to comprehend or work through an issue, offer them help! Reaching out a helping hand can go a long way in the workforce and it makes participants feel more comfortable speaking up.
Don’t Overshoot The Duration Of The Meeting Too Much
While you don’t need to watch the clock obsessively during your meeting, it is good practice to not extend the meeting if unnecessary. If you notice that the meeting is supposed to be coming to an end but there is more content that needs to be discussed, be sure to ask participants for permission to extend the meeting. This shows participants that you respect their time.
To learn more about how to engage remote meeting participants, click here.
How to End a Remote Meeting
Ending a meeting is important ensuring that all participants feel informed, connected, and optimistic. You never want to end a meeting on a bad note, as that can leave participants feeling bad and pessimistic. Follow these tips from our post How to End a Remote Meeting to ensure you’re ending your remote meeting on a positive note:
Keep the Audience Engaged Until the End
We’ve already discussed the importance of participant engagement, but it’s important to keep in mind that the engagement should last throughout the entire meeting. Keeping participants engaged throughout the meeting ensures they’ve understood all content and discussion. This will keep them feeling motivated, included, and connected.
Summarize the Key Points of the Meeting
Before signing off, you want to summarize the important concepts and points of the meeting. While you don’t want to bore participants by repeating the same information, you do want to ensure they fully comprehend the important aspects of the meeting. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows what they need to do.
Re-emphasize on the Agreed Action Plan
In the same way you want to make sure everyone understands the important concepts of the meeting, you also want to ensure everyone is on board with the agreed action plan. This ensures that everyone knows what is expected of them and what they need to work on. Not emphasizing the action plan can leave members feeling confused, unsure, and unmotivated.
Present the Next Steps
With everyone on board for the action plan, you can go ahead and assign the next steps for participants. You want to keep participants continuously informed on expectations to promote productivity. All participants should be leaving the meeting knowing exactly what is expected of them.
Ask for a Rating
While this may feel uncomfortable, asking participants for a rating is a great way to assess the success of the meeting. Participants will have the opportunity to share any questions, concerns, or comments they have about the meeting and can offer suggestions on how to make the next meeting even better.
Close the Meeting on a Positive Note
This one is very important! Regardless of the outcome of the meeting, it’s important to end it on a positive note. As the meeting leader, it’s your responsibility to make sure participants are feeling optimistic, enthusiastic, and good after a meeting. Meetings are meant to promote connection, inclusivity, and productivity. Promote recognition and praise, and thank all members for attending.
Tips for Running an Effective Remote Meeting
Now that you understand the importance of starting, ending, and promoting engagement during a remote meeting, let’s discuss some tips to boost effectiveness.
Schedule the Meeting in Advance
This boosts effectiveness by giving all participants a proper notice for the meeting. This will allow them to plan and prepare for the meeting and ensure they can set the allotted time in their calendars.
Share the Meeting Agenda Beforehand
On the same note of alerting participants of the meeting ahead of time, presenting the meeting agenda ahead of time will boost your productivity. This allows participants to prepare their contributions, documentation, and gather any questions they may have.
Choose the Right Meeting Software
Utilizing proper and efficient software will help your meeting run more productively and smoothly. Choosing the proper software will help you avoid technological issues and delays and you can choose software based on you and your team’s needs. We recommend trying Ring4, Microsoft Teams, or RingCentral.
Establish Meeting Etiquette
Establishing meeting etiquette helps set the tone for the entire meeting. This allows you to set expectations, guidelines, and the purpose of the meeting. This boosts productivity by ensuring everyone is on the same page.
If the Meeting is Long, Include Short Breaks
Providing short breaks in long meetings are beneficial because they allow participants to take a moment to “reset”. People tend to lose focus during extended meeting times, so this allows them to take a breather or grab a snack or refreshment.
We cover these ideas more in depth in our post “How to Run Effective Remote Meetings - 6 Ways to Ace It.”
Remote Meetings Made Easy With Taggg
Running a successful remote meeting doesn’t have to be intimidating. By following the ideas and advice we’ve shared in this guide, we can assure you that your remote meeting will be productive, efficient, and effective. Keep in mind the importance of starting and ending the meeting on a positive note, keeping participants engaged, and utilizing tips to help the meeting run more smoothly. By following our guide, you’ll be well on your way to hosting the most successful remote meetings.
When you’re ready to book your next remote meeting, be sure to do it with Taggg. Not only will our software help you find the perfect dates and times for your meeting attendees, you can book events in just a few clicks. Our software takes the stress out of booking because of our connected calendars feature. Click here to get started for free!
The Complete Guide to Successful Remote Meetings
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