The Ultimate Guide to Hosting A Virtual Meeting
If you are part of the workforce in 2021, chances are you have attended several virtual meetings.
More and more businesses embrace the power of virtual meetings because they can unite participants from all over the world with nothing more than a wi-fi connection and a mobile device with a webcam.
But attending a virtual meeting and hosting one are two different sets of skills.
While both require similar components to be successful, like an agenda and a facilitator, online meetings require a little finesse when eliciting participation and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Virtual video conference meetings carry many benefits and challenges. You may find yourself wondering how to effectively host a virtual forum for your company or team. How can you engage your meeting participants when a wealth of distractions surrounds them?
To host a successful virtual meeting, you’ll need to take a few steps to ensure everything goes smoothly in the virtual meeting room.
Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of hosting a virtual meeting and how to ensure the meeting you host is successful and well-received.
What Is A Virtual Meeting?
Much like a face-to-face meeting, a virtual meeting allows meeting attendees from different locations to connect simultaneously using technology. Online meetings are simple to plan and don’t require as much planning as a virtual event.
These real-time interactions use video conferencing platforms with the option for someone to call in as they would on a conference call.
Online meetings typically have smaller numbers of attendees than a webinar and are more focused on problem-solving, collaboration, and connection. They offer many benefits, such as:
Connect Team Members Quickly
Provide A Global Connection
Record Meetings For Those Unable To Attend
Now that you know the benefits of hosting a virtual meeting, look at when a virtual meeting is suitable for your professional online discussion.
Why Host A Virtual Meeting?
There are several instances where hosting a virtual meeting is beneficial to both the host and the attendees.
You Want To Save Time And Money: With companies scattered across the globe, it doesn’t always make sense to fly teammates and clients in for quick meetings. Virtual meetings offer the option of an instant collaborative environment that can save your company money and reduce travel expenses.
They Offer The Possibility Of Last-Minute Customer or Client Meetings: If you need to schedule a sudden meeting with a client who lives a great distance away, a virtual meeting is a cost-effective and time-efficient way to bridge that gap.
You Can Easily Include Remote Team Members: More and more employees are choosing to work remotely for various reasons. If you have no virtual meeting option, these employees may be excluded from meaningful conversations. Virtual meetings help everyone to be in the room where it happens.
Sometimes There Are No Other Meeting Options: There will inevitably be times where virtual meetings are the only choice you have as a meeting host.
Ensuring your team is comfortable with the technology used to hold meetings virtually, you will be prepared for situations that prevent live meetings. Your business will be able to continue operating regardless of what's going on in the world.
Organizing A Virtual Meeting Agenda
Much like a face-to-face meeting, you need to create a detailed agenda and a plan to follow that schedule as closely as possible.
Ask yourself the following questions as you develop your virtual meeting agenda.
What Should This Meeting Accomplish?
Are There Any Announcements That Need To Be Made?
Are We Solving A Problem Or Delivering Information?
Who Is Leading the Conversation?
What Is The Meeting Timeline?
Once you have crafted the perfect virtual meeting plan, send it to your audience in advance along with the meeting invitation.
Agendas give insight to meeting participants as to what topics you will cover. This will allow them to prepare themselves with the knowledge to help reach meeting objectives, saving time during the overall online meeting.
4 Tips On How To Run A Successful Virtual Meeting
Once you have your agenda and meeting time confirmed, it’s time to begin your hosting duties.
You already know to eliminate background noise and ensure you have a strong internet connection before your meeting. But what can you do during your online meeting to ensure it is successful and well-received?
Take a look at these five tips for running an engaging online meeting that is interactive and effective.
1. Keep Your Meeting Attendees Engaged During Video Conferencing
It’s challenging to sit at a computer for an extended period and maintain the same level of excitement you had at the start of your day. Engaging your attendees during the video calls will ensure that your meeting is proactive.
Moderate the meeting by doing a random check-in on participants to ask for their input. Keep an eye out for distracted attendees and provide a prompt to include them in the discussion. Maintain professional body language and look at your camera rather than your screen to provide eye contact that will draw your participants in.
Investigate exciting features offered by your virtual meeting software. Like interactive whiteboards and screen sharing, collaboration tools will add a layer of interactivity that will engage your meeting attendees.
2. Keep Virtual Meeting Attendees On Topic And On Task
As you probably already know, it’s not hard to get off-topic during a meeting of any type. Participants may ask questions that lead to other questions, and before you know it, you are discussing a topic that isn’t on the agenda.
Your meeting agenda will be useless if your attendees do not stick to it. Decide if you will hold questions for the end of the meeting. Communicate this information at the start of the meeting and invite participants to jot down questions for the Q&A session.
Designate an attendee as the note-taker. You can share the notes post-meeting as a summary for your meeting participants and use those ideas to guide your next meeting agenda.
3. Don’t Forget To Infuse Some Fun
Virtual meetings don’t have to be all business. Consider including a virtual team-building activity to make the meeting a bit more creative.
You can deem the meeting “Bring Your Pet To Work Day” and have remote employees share their furry bundles of joy during the first few minutes of the meeting as a fun icebreaker.
Challenge participants to craft a creative background or bring their favorite beverage to the meeting. You can also use your virtual meeting platform to host a virtual happy hour or trivia contest before or after your online meeting.
If meeting participants know you care about their engagement, they will be more engaged and less likely to dread your meetings.
4. Always Follow-Up After Your Online Meeting
The follow-up after your virtual meeting is almost as necessary as the meeting itself. Offer a clear summary of what was discussed and accomplished. Make a list of what needs to be done and an actionable plan on how to meet these goals.
Include meeting notes or recordings for participants in different time zones who were unable to attend. Post these to your virtual meeting platform for easy access.
Be sure to send the follow-up email through the same email chain as the original meeting invitation to ensure that all meeting attendees will receive the follow-up.
If there are specific meeting participants who have tasks to accomplish, include their name in bold print with particular instructions on what they need to do. Communicating expectations is a surefire way to ensure expectations are met.
Host Effective Virtual Meetings Today With BeaconLive
The more virtual meetings you host, the more confident you will feel. The most effective way to make your virtual meetings engaging and successful is to be motivated, enthusiastic, and model meeting best practices.
Virtual meetings aren’t going away any time soon. They are an essential component of any meeting program and are virtual to the success of many businesses. Focus on the positives of virtual meetings and use them as a springboard to make your next virtual meeting successful.
Partner with BeaconLive to ensure your virtual meetings, webinars, and content catalogs are free of technical difficulties. They contain essential virtual meeting tools to increase the success and engagement of your next virtual meeting.