4 tips to make your virtual meetings work for you
December 04, 2015

Not every meeting with your staff or clients has to happen in your office. In fact, in some cases it's better to keep a slight distance between you and the people you have to meet with on a regular basis, if only because they like to not wear pants. With this in mind, you have the opportunity to address this lack of location by performing virtual meetings instead when you need to discuss the current status of a project or the general direction of a company. It's important to consider that there's an obvious intangible barrier in place that makes these meetings a little more awkward to conduct. However, with these few tips involving time management and other practices, you can surmount these concerns and become an expert.

Set up rules
One of the best ways to derail any meeting is to go off-topic with tangents and monologues. It's easier when you don't have a physical crowd in front of you to keep you in check. If you wish to stay on track, Adigo suggested that you lay some ground rules, such as identifying yourself during the call as well as limiting how much time you speak when given the virtual floor. It will help keep things rolling.

Plan ahead
Because of the fact that not everyone is in the same space as you, they may lack all the information and materials necessary to conduct a successful meeting. Business professional Jaleh Bisharat, in an article for the Huffington Post, recommended that you distribute everything to the participants that you know will be on the agenda. That way, everyone's on the same page.

Keep people engaged
Of course, while meetings can be brisk and informed, they may lack a certain amount of coordination. The virtual setting creates intangible social barriers that can make the situation as awkward as your first high school dance. Suddenly you have a bunch of wallflowers staring at their cameras or silently listening to you talk. According to Inc., the best way to deal with this problem is to get people involved throughout the meeting process. Have everyone introduce themselves and let them submit questions beforehand so that they know they will talk at some point during the conference. In this manner, they have a stake in the matter.

Follow meeting etiquette
Even if the venue is different in more than one way, the function of virtual meetings is the same as physical ones. Run them as you would with a staff or client in front of you. Be on-time, polite and efficient in how you handle everything. Expect the same of your staff members. When you encourage this activity, people understand the stakes involved and eventually see no difference in where they meet you.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2