Usually, people find video meetings overwhelming because they associate them with long monologues, boring presentations, and way too much time sitting in front of the PC.
Also, they could be intimidating for those who feel unprepared because they are unaware of who the attendees would be and what would be discussed during the meeting.
It’s the responsibility of the remote team manager to provide enough information to the participants and give the meeting a clear and efficient structure
In this article, we’ll go over 8 practical techniques for leading effective team meetings but let’s focus on the essence of virtual meetings first.
Table of contents
- What are the five key elements of effective team meetings?
- What should team meetings include?
- How to host effective team meetings?
- The bottom line
What are the five key elements of effective team meetings?
It’s important to understand that meetings are not merely a way to exchange information.
In today’s digital world, they are also ‘relationship-building’ sessions and there are some virtual meeting best practices that need to be followed.
To make sure that you conduct effective team meetings that actually contribute to your business goals, follow the five C’s.
Be creative and imaginative and depict your point through a story.
If you incorporate your message into something that your attendees would relate to, there is a greater chance of everyone understanding your idea.
As an expert in your field of work, you might be tempted to jump from one topic to another, providing a detailed explanation of every aspect of it.
However, try to be as concise as possible and summarize the high points.
There’s no need to talk over everything in one go, good remote and hybrid meetings usually lead to follow-up discussions.
Get to know your meeting attendees.
You can easily connect with your audience and transmit your message by knowing where their interests lie and what previous experience they have.
Because different people would require different approaches.
Don’t turn your meeting into a monologue.
Give other participants to ask questions, provide clarifications or add to your point.
A two-way conversation is way more productive and effective.
End the meeting properly.
Either by summarizing what is expected from the attendees or by asking for support.
Otherwise, the main objective of the meeting might get overshadowed by side discussions.
What should team meetings include?
Depending on the type of meeting you host and the number of people present, there are a few variations of what team meetings should include.
Generally speaking, every team meeting should have an agenda. A good plan of how the topic in question will be approached is a must.
Any documents or pieces of information should be shared with the participants beforehand so that they can prepare.
Apart from that, if the topic requires it, the host should provide good visuals to display the issue and to better engage everyone in the conversation.
For the process of making a decision, it could be useful to incorporate polls and questionnaires so that everyone can express their opinion on the matter.
We are all too busy for badly organized meetings, aren’t we?
That’s why it’s crucial to schedule and host effective team meetings and get the most out of them.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a closer look at how to achieve that.
The most important part of every meeting is to have a clear objective – to know what you want to discuss with others and to be sure that it’s worth the participants’ time.
A clear objective is the foundation of the meeting. Once you know what the main topic would be, then you can start planning, providing additional information, deciding on who to invite, and so on.
Whether it’s a decision to be taken or a project update that you’d like to communicate to others, try your best to be impartial and determine whether the meeting needs to happen or not.
HBR says that you must know what the outcome of the meeting should look like and, if it’s worthy of your team members’ time, act on it.
One of the best tips to conduct an effective team meeting is to invite the right people.
The first issue is that there might be some colleagues that would expect to or insist on participating but it’s up to you to decide whether their presence would contribute to the meeting or not.
They might be taking the spot of someone who would actually benefit from the meeting and would have something valuable to say.
The second problem is when hosts invite people to attend a meeting who don’t need to be there for the whole thing.
As Forbes prompts, don’t waste people’s time. Just send them an email.
💡 Pro tip
Organizing and hosting remote team meetings requires strong planning skills and advanced time management. To simplify the process and save time, use a modern meeting management software designed with remote teams in mind.
As we’ve already stated, setting an agenda in advance is the next most important step in your to-do list for conducting an efficient staff meeting.
Such an agenda would be comprised of bullet points to provide a structure for the meeting and give participants an idea of what follows next.
And it should also introduce time limits for each section so that your meeting doesn’t turn into an endless exchange of arguments, ideas, and counter-arguments.
The agenda should be made available to everyone and, although it’s the manager’s primary responsibility to identify the priority topics, team members can be invited to contribute as well.
A last-minute meeting would lack the preparation and the proper mindset that it requires. Therefore, do your best to avoid such occurrences.
One of the online meeting best practices is to plan ahead of time and send an invitation to others at least a couple of working days in advance.
Usually, it would be best if staff meetings are early in the morning and at the beginning of the week.
This way people have enough time to focus and work on the new tasks that popped up, meanwhile the meeting’s discussion is still fresh in their minds.
Information sharing doesn’t require a meeting anymore. You can send all the files and reports prior to the staff meeting to save time and inform everyone about what’s going on.
This could be especially useful if you are time-boxing your meetings and you want to focus on being productive.
Use your virtual leadership and meeting management skills to encourage the process of co-creating, decision-making, commitment making, and planning.
The format of the meeting doesn’t need to be boring.
Make sure to break up the monotony at all costs and introduce some icebreakers to make the meeting more interactive and engaging especially if the attendees are not acquainted with each other.
For example, you can introduce a ‘learning roundtable’ which is the practice of having team members take a turn teaching each other something new.
Run virtual team-building sessions from time to time or engage participants in brainstorming activities. There are plenty of remote team-building apps to choose from to increase team engagement and collaboration.
Also, you could invite a guest speaker to spice up the topic a little bit and provide a different perspective.
An essential part of leading a remote team meeting is seeking co-workers’ opinions on something.
It could be related to decision-making on a project matter or it could be simple feedback.
Your attendees’ intel could help you improve not only your meeting management but your goal-setting as well.
Follow-up discussions can broaden your horizons and introduce new perspectives.
Polls can help you get a fast and easy answer to a question that concerns everyone.
Questionnaires can be a nice way to see what’s the overall opinion on something once you turn them into statistics.
Among all effective meeting guidelines, the most overlooked tip is to be an exemplary leader.
You have to hold yourself and your team to the highest standards of conduct.
Don’t criticize any member of the team in front of the others, and don’t make inappropriate jokes trying to be ‘the cool boss’. Don’t be cynical or sarcastic.
Keep a sense of humor and a smile on your face but don’t cross the line between the professional and the personal attitude.
The bottom line
Effective team meetings are a combination of a lot of things such as good organization, planning, and team collaboration.
In this article, we’ve touched upon the organizational part of conducting a staff meeting.
But if you’re interested in working on your team’s efficiency and unity, you can also check our guidelines on how to build effective team culture.
It’s your turn now. Find what works best for your remote team and adjust your meeting management style accordingly.