1. Use video.
Being able to see everyone will help all participants feel like they’re at the same meeting. Use video conferencing technology – such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or GoToMeeting – rather than traditional conference dial-ins to personalize the conversation and keep participants engaged. That said, always provide an audio dial-in option, just in case, because video relies on a strong internet connection that may not always be available.
2. Test technology prior to the scheduled meeting time.
Nothing kills momentum at the beginning of a meeting more than multiple participants having issues with their video, microphone, or audio. Prior to a virtual meeting, all participants should test the technology, make sure they have completed all necessary downloads, and that they are comfortable with the major features.
3. Set expectations and an agenda.
It’s important to manage participants’ expectations about meeting goals, discussion topics, and various roles and responsibilities. It’s best to set these expectations clearly in your calendar invite, as well as the agenda. Structure your meeting into appropriate topic categories, build in opportunities for participation from team members, and include time for questions at the end.
4. Assign the facilitator and team roles.
Assign responsibilities to your team members during the virtual meeting, including a meeting leader to guide the conversation and a note taker. This way, everyone becomes more engaged because they know they need to perform specific tasks.
5. Use PowerPoint slides or screen share.
If you’re reviewing content that could benefit from everyone viewing the same work at the same time, utilize screen sharing. This allows everyone to see the exact same thing and guarantee there aren’t miscommunications.
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