Remote teams can be a great asset to any company, offering much-needed diversity and versatility to the business. Hosting remote meetings can be a pain without the right software, planning, and engagement, so we’ve put together this handy guide on how to get the most out of your remote meetings. Whether you’re on vacation and meeting from the Bahamas, or simply managing a remote team in another state, these tips will help you host more effective, efficient, and engaging meetings for maximum productivity.
Use an Agenda
This should be the very first consideration when you’re planning a meeting of any kind. An agenda is the blueprint for your meeting, helping you plan everything from the content to the duration of the meeting and even the guest list. Remote meetings must have an agenda of some kind, and it should be shared with each caller ahead of time to allow for adjustments, questions, or suggestions before the actual call takes place. Trying to change things during a call is only distracting and disruptive to productivity.
You don’t need fancy software or templates to make an effective agenda, though having an outline can help you plan better. An agenda can be as simple as a piece of paper with a hand-written list. All that matters it the agenda is well-written and plans for each talking point. You can also assign time slots to specific subjects or speakers, making for a more streamlined call overall.
Stay on Track
Nothing is more exhausting (or frustrating) than a meeting that veers off-track and goes over its time limit. If you plan a meeting for an hour, it should last no longer than an hour, or preferably under an hour. The longer your meetings are, the more likely your callers are to disengage from the subject matter or even fall asleep at their desks. Keeping your meetings on track is vital to the success of the meeting and the retention of the information that’s presented.
Use a timer for each speaker and the meeting as a whole to be certain things are going smoothly. Be sure to let speakers know when their time is almost up. Your callers will be absolutely grateful if you keep your calls as short as possible, as they likely have many other responsibilities that need tending to. Plus, a boring meeting can leave you feeling exhausted for the rest of the day, and that’s simply not good for business.
Use the Right Software
The days of landline conference calls are just about over. With the introduction of online meeting software, companies have taken their meetings and conference calls to the next level with features like video conferencing. Remote meetings are more effective than ever with these new and improved digital tools, and the services are both affordable and reliable.
With online meeting software, you can host multiple callers without having to worry about long-distance or multi-caller fees (which many landlines will still charge). Everyone joins the call toll-free by phone or by simply entering via their internet browser. This ensures effective meetings by allowing everyone to join, regardless of their geographical location.
Send a Follow-Up Email
To ensure that your meeting was effective, it’s a good idea to send a follow-up email to everyone who attended. Reinforce the call’s important points, sub-points, and the overall goal that was accomplished during the call. Be sure to encourage any who attended to freely ask any questions they may have, and also to provide feedback on the meeting itself.
This valuable feedback can help you identify where your meeting faltered and where you can improve the next time. Improvement starts with criticism, so don’t be afraid to ask your callers what you can do to improve the call experience for them.
Encourage Everyone to Contribute
We’ve all had a meeting where one or more people said almost nothing the entire time. It’s important that everyone participates in conference calls in order to make the most out of the time. If you have an attendee that isn’t saying much or participating at all, take the time to address them and encourage participation.
Remind everyone that they were invited to the call for a reason, whether it’s because they have a vested interest in the meeting’s discussion points or some expert knowledge of the subject matter. If you have an attendee that shows up but never speaks or participates in any way in the call, it might be time to analyze if they really need to attend at all.
Remote meetings can accomplish quite a bit if conducted properly. Using the right meeting software, crafting a god agenda, and interacting with your callers are great ways to keep meetings on track and ensure their effectiveness. Remember to ask for feedback so you can improve your meetings in the future.