The pandemic has brought a list of new things into our lives, one of which is regular virtual meetings. We’ve taken our regular business meetings online because we’re working from home. We can’t simply sit in the meeting room once a week. Now, we have to engage online over video calls. Many of us never knew Zoom existed before we had to start working from the comfort of our homes. The key to successful video meetings lies in some ground rules that’ll make each one of them a success.
One of the attendees should be a “host”
The first rule of successful video meetings is that you should always have a host or a person in charge. This doesn’t have to be your boss or your team leader. This should be a person who knows how to act when things get heated in discussions and know how to get people on track when they start talking off-topic.
Have a time limit
This rule applies both to in-person meetings and live ones. Each point on your meeting agenda should be given a certain amount of time. If you have four things to discuss you can spend 15 minutes per each topic. You should also include 5 minutes per opening and closing speech. Or, you can also limit the entire meeting to one hour or more, no matter how many things have to be discussed. If you can’t fit into one hour, finish the meeting and arrange another one to discuss everything you didn’t have time for. This is better than having a meeting that lasts for several hours.
Instead of taking notes, record the meeting
You can take the notes while you attend the meeting. Which is advised because you’ll forget things that were important and discussed. Alternatively, you can also record the meeting which might be the better option. If you record the meeting, you’ll be able to go through it or the most important parts and polish up your notes.
Use headphones with a speaker
Audio and sound are the two most important things. You shouldn’t rely on your laptop or PC to deliver the best sound quality. For the best experience, you should use headphones with a microphone. You’ll hear everything clearly and everyone else will hear you perfectly when you’re speaking. Headphones are also useful if you’re working from a cafe or a crowded room. No one will eavesdrop and you won’t be distracted by the sounds of your environment.
Limit distractions in front of you
If you’re sitting in front of a window to achieve the best light possible, you have to be prepared to limit distractions. Either the sun glare can be problematic, or if the window is facing the street, there might be too many people walking by. Equip your window with cellular blinds, because these will limit distractions while still enabling natural light to flood the room and improve the video quality.
Take your background into account
Your background shouldn’t be too distracting, nor too bland. You should take that into account before you make yourself comfortable and ready to join a virtual meeting. You can simply run a test by turning your camera on and looking at your background. What seems distracting to anyone who will look at you, misplaced or simply not businessy? If you can fix your background, you can always use virtual backgrounds.
Have a meeting agenda
This is equally important in live meetings and virtual ones. Clear agenda makes it easier to stay on the topic of discussion, and not steer away from it with unnecessary banter. If you’re the one holding the meeting, make a list of points you plan to discuss. In case someone else is in charge, this person should make an agenda as well. Every participant should be given the outline and asked to behave and talk according to the meeting agenda.
Revise the most important things before you wrap up the meeting
All meetings are held with a purpose. Either you have to discuss a new project, delegate tasks, define roles or just brief your employees, it’s always best to revise everything before you sign off. There’ll be at least one person who won’t pay much attention throughout the meeting, so they’ll benefit from the wrap-up.
Even when you make sure all of these eight points are covered ahead of the meeting, the meeting can still run longer than expected or not have the expected results. But, these minor discrepancies are ordinary so don’t lose your nerves over it. Make sure you incorporate these eight tips into your next virtual meeting to improve their quality.