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16 virtual meeting best practices for hosts and organizers

Many have realized over the past couple of years that hosting a remote meeting is a little tougher than we might like. There are a few obstacles that you need to overcome to run a remote meeting without a hitch. While you may have all the skills to host a great meeting in person, there’s no guarantee that those skills will transfer.

Some may think that because they know how they should act and what they should do during a virtual meeting, they know how to run one too. Unfortunately, that’s not quite true. That’s why we’re going to run through some top tips to help you run your virtual meetings like the hero you already are.

Table of contents

For great remote meetings, follow these 16 virtual meeting best practices

Before your virtual meeting

Set a purpose and agenda for the meeting

As with any other meeting, you should clearly define the purpose of the meeting and set a plan to ensure everything that you have enough time to discuss everything.

Make sure to send the agenda out to everyone involved in the meeting before the meeting is due to start.

Choose and test what technology you’ll use

Technology has a nasty habit of malfunctioning right when you need it. To avoid this, make sure your set-up is working properly. That includes your webcam, microphone, internet connection, and video conferencing software.

Keep time zones in mind when scheduling

There’s always a chance that someone working remotely is in a different time zone to you. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some remote workers may operate on a different schedule than you.

To avoid any confusion, use scheduling software such as Outlook or Google Calendar — these programs will automatically display the meeting time in the correct time zone for whoever is looking at it.

Lock with secrete

Security

It’s unlikely that you will have someone crash your remote meeting, but by now, I’m sure we’ve seen the viral videos that show how wrong things can go if you’re not careful.

Make sure to password protect your meeting and use a secure link to ensure only the people you want on the call can enter the meeting room.

Location

Make sure you’re in a quiet, well-lit area that is free from distractions. This is something all involved in the meeting should be doing to ensure the meeting runs smoothly.

Assign roles (if needed)

Sometimes it can help to assign roles to meeting attendees to help the meeting stay on track. This can include a timekeeper, voice of the customer, note taker, and facilitator. If you’re an agile team, avoiding roles may be more beneficial to ensure that everyone is focused on the task at hand and gets an equal say.

During your virtual meeting

Lay out ground rules first

Even if you’re hosting a meeting with a team that has done 100 virtual meetings, it’s always good to lay out the ground rules before you get started. Clearly state when people should be muted, if everyone is required to be on camera, etc.

Stick to your agenda

Time is a valuable thing. You can’t afford to have the meeting go on a tangent, especially when working to deadlines. If something comes up that’s not on the agenda, make a note, table it, and come back to that point in a future meeting. If the team would like a brief catch-up, schedule it into your agenda as one of the first points of order.

Keep meetings short and to the point

Meetings can sometimes get boring in person, so the physical disconnect of virtual meetings can make things more tedious if your meetings start to drag on. Keep virtual meetings short and to the point to avoid your team switching off halfway through.

Record the meeting

We’re living in the 21st century — stop tasking someone with taking notes and let them fully take part in the meeting. Simply record the meeting through your video conferencing software to ensure everything discussed is kept on record verbatim.

Writing notes to the paper

Take your own notes

While you will come away from your meeting with a full recording, it’s still worth taking your own notes. This can include key points you would like to remember and areas where you could improve how the meeting is performed.

Remember to jot down timestamps to help you find the moment again.

Make sure you’re letting everyone speak up and participate

It can be difficult for people to speak up in a virtual meeting as you never quite know the right moment to interject. One way of ensuring everyone gets to put in their two cents is to ask everyone to stay muted and use the video conferencing software to digitally “raise their hand” when they have something to say. This allows everyone to say their piece without risking interrupting someone else.

Wrap up with any action items that people need to take

It’s always best to wrap up with a call to action. This way, the most pressing tasks fresh in everyone’s minds, and they know what to do once the meeting is over.

After your virtual meeting

Share

Make sure to share any notes and recordings among the participants so they can also look back on key points raised during the meeting.

Reflect

It’s tough to host the “perfect” virtual meeting. It’s something that comes with time and experience. Take time to reflect on your meetings and assess if there’s anything you could do to improve the experience and add more value to your virtual meetings.

Follow up

We hold meetings for a reason. Every action discussed during the meeting will be crucial to productivity and contribute toward the project’s end goal. So, of course, you need to ensure your team is performing their tasks. Make sure to follow up on the action items finalized in your meeting, either the next day or the following week, depending on your timeframes.

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