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Are You The Reason Your Virtual Meetings Aren’t Working?

Published On: 
May 14, 2020
Written by:
Ryan Cravotta

How to Become a Virtual Meeting Master and Get More Done

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If you find yourself wondering how a meeting can seem both endlessly long yet, also unproductive—or why you’re certain you hear Tiger King in someone’s background, it may be that your meeting invites are setting you up for failure. With so many calls and video chats, our meetings are different today than the time B.C. (Before Corona), and we need to make sure we’re set up for success.

We spoke with the Director of Internal Audit, Andrey Dovletov, at a prominent New York City Medical Center last week and he made a great point:

Put more emphasis on making the meetings that are on the calendar because it can be hard to get everyone together.

People ask themselves, “What is this meeting about?” and “Do I really need to be there?” and become less likely to join future meetings when they feel nothing pertinent is being discussed.

This got us thinking, are you and your colleagues making the most of your virtual meetings and conference calls? If not, what can be done to improve them?

We believe the root of any effective meeting lies in planning the meeting and thoughtfully communicating the purpose of this meeting.

It’s human nature to forget that our colleagues aren’t always on the same wavelength and may not know what the goal of the meeting is or why it was called. Sure, you know your role and the info you’re looking to obtain, but your team isn’t privy to these thoughts, so clear description and expectations need to be set.

So, have you been getting in your own way from running a productive virtual meeting?

Let’s find out.

Quiz: Are Your Meeting Invites Setting You Up for Failure?

Ask yourself the below questions. If your answer is“Yes” to any one of these virtual meeting offenses below just keep reading, it should help. If not, congrats and please contact us for job opportunities.

Creating a meeting invite without a goal, an itinerary, and notes is a recipe that will leave all parties with unresolved issues and wondering when you can talk again; instead of walking away with everything needed to begin.

Using a formula like the one below will ensure that you’re getting what you need to make your task or project deadlines.

An added benefit of becoming a “meeting” leader in your group or team will, surprisingly, get your colleagues to show up to more of your meetings consistently because they’ll come to know you as someone who knows the “secrets” on how to keep things moving and get more done.

10 Steps to Become a Virtual Meeting Master

  1. Create a Goal for the meeting; write it down!
  2. Use that Goal in your Subject for the Invite: i.g. “Conclude hiring decisions on Tom Harris for VP.”
  3. Create a bullet point itinerary and insert it into the body of the invite (make sure to use the K.I.S.S method).
  4. Prepare your notes prior to the meeting to make sure you cover everything. If you’re running the meeting, you’re in charge of moving things along.
  5. Send relevant attachments and references for everyone to review ahead of time, so you’re not sending during the call and asking others to scramble to find and read them.
  6. Stick to the subject. Don’t be afraid to keep things on task if the conversation gets repetitive or starts to go off course on a tangent. Once a question has been answered, move on instead of going around in circles.
  7. Keep track of the time to make sure you can cover each topic by the end of the meeting.
  8. Respect the time others have given you on their calendars and give everyone a 5-minute wrap-up warning.
  9. During your wrap up: reiterate the most crucial developments from the meeting and/or new tasks and ensure the “most important questions” get answered to hit your goal before you all need to hop off.
  10. Leave with clearly defined next steps and deliverables for each person, as well as a timeline or due date.

Once you’ve mastered this format, we hope your meetings will be better attended, more productive, and with fewer (Tiger King) distractions.

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