Tips for holding effective virtual meetings

Business woman in one-on-one meeting via computer.These articles from Harvard Business Review offer insights into how to hold effective virtual meetings. The brief summary will get you up to speed quickly. Follow the links to the articles if you want the full story.

How to Run a Great Virtual Meeting

The articles suggest there are ethical rules that we must follow before, during and after virtual meetings for them to be truly successful. The two fundamental principles are to be respectful of others’ time and to be present.

  1. Before the meeting:
    • Think of the technology. Video is the best way to make everyone feel like they are in the same room, however, you should turn the video conference program on and test it. Have a backup in case the video is not working (it could be overloaded at your home or in the cloud given the number of people using videoconferencing). Have an audio dial-in option.
    • Cut out the report outs where everyone reports on status. Send the status update round in advance to report on key agenda items and use the meeting if people want to ask questions or comment.
  1. During the Meeting
    • Connect people. Do a personal / Professional check-in at the beginning.
    • Ban multi-tasking. In a physical meeting you would not permit attendees to spend time doing other things like emails etc. make it the same in your virtual meeting. Use video or use strategies like calling on people to share their thoughts.
    • Involve everyone, go around the table and ensure everyone is included.
    • Appoint a Yoda/Facilitator. This is someone responsible/authorised to manage the virtual meeting protocols and keeping everyone active and on topic. From time to time the leader can ask the Yoda how the meeting is going.
  2. After the meeting
    • Formalise the water cooler. 5 or 10 minutes before the end simulate what people would do after a physical meeting but do it in the meeting and make sure it is transparent. Either in a large group or split into small groups and ask people to comment on what they would have done differently. What they disagreed with, what they are challenged with, what are they concerned about, etc.

More information.

Ferrazzi, K., (2015). How to Run a Great Virtual Meeting. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2015/03/how-to-run-a-great-virtual-meeting

Frisch, B. & Greene, C., (2020). What it Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-it-takes-to-run-a-great-virtual-meeting

Man with headphones and microphone working from home office.

How to Get People to Actually Participate in Virtual Meetings

In this article, the authors suggest following these rules.

  1. The 60-second rule: do something engaging in the first 60 seconds.
  2. The responsibility rule: create an opportunity for members to take meaningful responsibility
  3. The nowhere to hide rule: give members tasks that they can actively engage in
  4. The MVP rule: determine the Minimum Viable PowerPoint deck needed
  5. The 5- minute rule: never go longer than 5 minutes without giving the group another problem to solve.

Full article

Hale, J., & Grenny, J. (2020). How to Get People to Actually Participate in Virtual Meetings.  Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-to-get-people-to-actually-participate-in-virtual-meetings

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Matt is the Market Development Manager at QUTeX and has considerable experience in client relationships, in senior leadership roles and in development of new educational products. Matt has over 16 years experience in the Education Industry with QUT and Federation University. Before entering the university sector Matt held senior project and program management positions with IBM and with WorldCom where he was responsible for the set-up of international program management offices. Matt holds an Executive MBA from QUT.

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