I hate those video conferences, where people around the world meet in a virtual setting, and at the end of the meeting, the only thing that they can decide is the date for the next meeting. I am sure I am not the only one who has been through these kinds of meetings. Am I right?
In my current position, I manage a diverse team of people from 3 different locations. And I have developed few techniques to conduct effective meetings, which I would like to share with you here.
Know your audience beforehand: The first step is to clearly define the audience that will be attending this meeting. If you are conducting the meeting for the first time, and if you don’t know the background of anyone attending the meeting, then ask around. Try to contact each individual through phone or e-mail to get a better idea of their goals and expectations.
Identify the meeting need: Ideally the meeting originator need to develop an agenda. But I have seen that it doesn’t happen often. Thus, if you don’t know the agenda then your best bet is to as the meeting organizer about the problem that he/she is trying to resolve through this meeting. This will give you an opportunity to prepare yourself before the meeting. And your preparation can be helpful in prioritizing the learning objectives for the next set of meetings.
Create an action plan: Whether it’s running a government or running a company, team works better when there is a shared and visible accountability. I would always suggest you to create an action plan in the meeting, instead of creating it afterwards. By doing this, you are making sure that an action plan is in place before you leave and that action plan is visible to everyone in the team. Thus, there won’t be any situations of miscommunication of the information.
Create support materials: The next to last step of the effective meeting is to determine the materials you will need to supplement the meeting’s outcome so that the learning objectives are achieved. I would recommend following checklist for supporting materials:
- Create the facilitator notes.
- Create an action plan with task items, individual’s responsibilities, and deadlines.
- List of people attending the meeting so that you can send these documents to them.
Continuously monitor progress: The final step is to continually monitor the progress of the meeting and the business need for the meeting. One should make changes based on the successes, or weaknesses, of the meeting. I would recommend creating a shared action plan document, which is visible to the entire team. If you have this set-up, you only need to discuss the status of each individual task during the meeting. And that’s all.
I hope these tips help you in better conducting/attending a virtual team meeting. If you know any other ways to make a virtual team meeting more interesting then feel free to share it with me. I am always looking for people’s feedback to improve my knowledge. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi