In today’s modern business environment, more and more companies are realizing the benefits of allowing team members to work remotely. Additionally, it’s more common than ever to hold virtual meetings with business partners, prospects, and clients.
But, despite the upsides, things can get tricky. Especially when you want to hold effective meetings with a dispersed team.
Communication, technology, time zones, and more can all add to the difficulty of online meetings. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve how you conduct remote meetings. Keep reading to learn about the best tools, tips, and strategies that you can use to engage attendees, no matter where they’re calling in from.
Online meetings rely on technology, and getting this piece right is crucial to future success. There’s no shortage of software, so use these two important questions to guide your search:
Don’t forget about “old school” tools like conference calls, either. Phone call-based meetings can be very effective, especially when you have access to conference-ready phones and other equipment.
Poorly planned meetings are the bane of every office worker’s existence, regardless of how the meeting is held.
Respect your attendees’ time by preparing an agenda and establishing objectives. Share these details with everyone so that they know what’s in store.
Ground rules ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them. Some helpful rules to share include:
While you’re establishing rules, don’t forget to let attendees know if the meeting will be recorded.
Even the most meticulously planned meetings can go haywire. Prepare for this scenario and think about how you’ll get everyone back on track.
For example, if someone brings up an unrelated topic, you can ask a clarifying question like, “I’m not sure how X relates to (the topic of the meeting.) Can you clarify the relation, or perhaps we should talk about X another time?”
Coordinating schedules across time zones can quickly become frustrating and complicated. You want to choose a time that’s reasonable for everyone, after all.
In theory, tools like Google Calendar should make it easy to schedule events across time zones, but this isn’t always the case. Here are two free online tools you can use to double check time zones: