The key to having productive and focused virtual meetings is for them to have a host responsible for coordinating the gathering and seeing that it accomplishes what it was meant to. Sometimes, this is easier said than done.
To avoid any potential hiccups along the way, it is important to take a strategic approach to hosting such meetings. This means drawing up a plan of attack and being able to adjust on the fly if a group video call takes an unexpected turn.
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Scott Wilson, Co-Founder and CEO of virtual meeting solution Banty Inc., hosts multiple video conferences each week with the members of his team. He believes that in order for them to go well, it pays to do the following:
- Have great timing: There are points in a day, week, month, or year where it is not a great idea to pull staff away from projects to have virtual meetings. This could be due to various initiatives coming to a head at once, or times in which staff might be away on vacation. When scheduling virtual meetings, always keep these points in mind. That said, if the urgency of a meeting is high, trust your gut and get whoever is available on to the call
- Send invites well in advance: Many video calls require participants to speak at length about a specific subject, or to offer insight on a company matter that requires their expertise. To see this happens, send out virtual meeting requests well in advance and attach an agenda to them. This will allow invitees to rid their calendar of any conflicts and mentally prepare themselves for any subjects they’ll need to touch on
- Let others contribute: Even if a virtual meeting is well-planned, there will be instances when certain teammates unexpectedly feel the need to jump into the fray to offer opinions on a subject. As such, hosts should make sure all invited parties feel empowered to participate in the conversation. Sometimes, it is contributions from these individuals that wind up shaping new ideas and endeavours
- Always be organized: Being organized for a virtual meeting goes well beyond the planning stages of it. Once the group call has begun, it is the host’s responsibility to keep conversations on track and see that all subjects are covered before the scheduled end-time of a meeting. Sitting back and letting a meeting operate without continual navigation could cause issues
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“Hosting a virtual meeting is an intensive experience that needs to be taken seriously by whoever is at the helm of it,” adds Wilson. “Thus, this individual needs to always be well-prepared in the planning stages, then keep a firm grasp on the controls once a virtual meeting begins. This can be accomplished if the steps listed above are followed.”
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