3 Phases of Effective Remote Meetings

24 January, 2021
5 min

2020 has been all about attending remote meetings and making sure you have set up a proper workplace setting for it to go smoothly. Gone are the days when you could be present in the conference room at the time allotted to you and the meeting would take place. In-person meetings were free from technical glitches, miscommunications, and even eventual fallouts. 

Although organizing a remote meeting may seem like a daunting task, it can prove to give efficient results if implemented properly. Eliminating distractions, reducing the background noise, and being well-versed with remote tools may come in handy. With the global pandemic in the picture, the smart choice would be to adopt these tools in time.

So, what does an effective remote meeting look like? 

How can you concentrate through a makeshift home office without getting distracted?

Learning to communicate effectively and trying not multi-task during a remote meeting could be a great start. To combat the many challenges, make sure you have a clarity of purpose and deliver the same to the team. This will give each member the chance to get prepared beforehand. 

We have rounded up the 3 phases of remote meetings that generally take place.

1. Preparation

For any task you begin, the first step you take is mostly preparing the data, resources, and whatnot! Similarly, before any remote meeting takes place, you should be creating a preparation plan. 

Set an agenda

The purpose of the meeting should be concise. The topics that need to be covered should be well highlighted so they do not get missed.

Shoot calendar invites

Set a suitable time for the meeting and send out a calendar invite promptly. Make sure to add a time slot and an accessible meeting link of the remote tool your team is most comfortable with.

Assign roles

This might not seem as significant as other tasks but it will save a lot of time and effort later on. You can assign roles to the participants to have someone lead the meeting, someone else taking notes, and so on.

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2. Going through the meeting

Now that all the above steps are in line, you’d mostly be prepared to attend the meeting. Be punctual and keep all your notes accessible.

Be engaging

It can get difficult to keep everyone engaged with the virtual setup in the picture. Thus, asking appropriate questions and letting individuals deliver their point of view can boost engagement and teamwork.

Stick to the agenda

Don’t waste time discussing irrelevant topics. Keep a check on the list of topics you created and avoid getting derailed. This would save time and will prove to be highly efficient.

End meeting on time

Make sure you cover all the topics in the set time. In case the meeting needs to be extended, ensure that all the participants are truly comfortable with that before imposing long meeting hours on everyone.

3. Keep a discussion session

Before ending the meeting, set aside some time to discuss all the points. This will ensure that each participant is free from any confusion. 

Brainstorming

If the meeting requires input from the participants, then you can organize a brainstorming session. Using the ‘chat feature’ can allow everyone to write their ideas in the chatbox that can be read by everyone.

Answer queries

A lot of participants might struggle with a point or two, you can help them by providing solutions to these, one by one.

Follow up

Once you are sure that everyone has understood their duties, you can compile the points/notes and send them to each of the participants for them to review after the meeting is finished.

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Does effective leadership help with remote meetings?

It is not a hidden fact that a leader can make or break a deal. If the individual has amazing leadership qualities, they will go to lengths to achieve success. 

So, will a leader have any effect on running effective remote meetings?

Well, yes! A good leader will ensure that they get the most out of a meeting– be it in-person or virtual. They wouldn’t let these trivial matters get in the way of achieving the goals.

With all the leadership theories in the world, one can always find a way to work around it. In a complicated and evolving world, all leaders need to have a clear sense of what it takes to lead efficiently. But having to make things work from a distance, may seem like a cumbersome and complicated task. 

Although, it may appear like the leadership qualities remain the same for every environment, however, having to lead virtually can differ a lot. It requires the individual to have a better expertise of technology, the exceptional experience of working around team dynamics, good communication skills, ability to manage, and lots of patience.

Top Tips For Having Productive Remote Meetings

  1. Keep your meeting tools stack ready at all times: Every tool that you might need for connecting and collaborating with the team, have access to it. From Google Docs to Google Meet to Slack.
  2. Always set an agenda and share with everyone in advance: Have a clear goal for the meeting and stick to that goal no matter what. Try to cover every topic that is in the agenda. 
  3. Invite the people who are responsible for the agenda: It can get overwhelming to manage a lot of people in a remote meeting. Thus, ensure that only the right people are invited to the meeting.
  4. Initiate a small talk before starting the meeting: After making brief introductions, always grab the opportunity to connect with remote colleagues and make everyone feel comfortable.
  5. Ask participants to contribute and be engaging: Make it a point to directly ask for input from others. The discussion should be as engaging as possible for it to be fruitful.
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Concluding Thoughts

Remote work has both ups and downs associated with it. But saving time, energy and cost have been the motivating factors for organizations worldwide. What can be discussed via the internet was taking place in an office setup, which meant various operation costs. So, if you come to think about it, a lot of people are benefitting from a remote work environment.

However, make sure to organize meetings only when necessary, otherwise, they tend to lose the meaning and intent of it. Make use of as many tools as you can and allow your team to be well-equipped with these tools too. You can even go to Proficonf if you indulge in video conferencing from time to time. If you can follow through, then the global pandemic will not affect the productivity and efficiency of your team.

Author Bio: With years of experience in digital marketing, Bella helps university students crack HR assignments so that they can meet the desired learning objectives of their business management course. She has also co-founded Top My Grades to help students with career counseling.

Daria Afanasieva