So you’re scheduling a virtual meeting—great! That means that you’re interested in keeping your line-of-communication open with your team, solving issues, and planning ahead. Kudos! But how successful is your meeting promised to be? If your goal is to have your team feeling like the meeting was productive instead of the sentiment of ‘that could have been an email’ that we all know too well—this simple guide may help you. Let’s take this step by step to explore different ideas that can improve your virtual meetings.
Decide if you should schedule a meeting.
Deciding whether your meeting is warranted or not can feel tricky—but it’s the simplest way to improve your meetings. Why? Because unnecessary meetings are difficult to improve. So instead, read through these questions, answering yes and no, to see if you should schedule a meeting:
Do you have a clear agenda?
- Without a clear agenda, the tangents your team may take are limitless and may waste valuable time. While we (Bloom) love talking about all the possibilities that can be created, unlimited tangents are not one of them.
Can all the key team members attend the meeting?
- If key team members are unable to attend, collaboration efforts may be blocked, causing the meeting to be rendered ineffective and requiring another meeting to be scheduled.
Will items on your agenda require discussion?
- If you don’t require collaboration from your team—like solving issues, discussing opportunities and obstacles, brainstorming, or company wide communications that benefit from Q&A style format—there’s a strong chance that your meeting is strictly informational and better qualified as an email.
If you answered yes to all of these questions, rest assured that you should schedule a meeting. But beware—if you answered no to any of these questions, your meeting may not be as successful as you intend for it to be.
Still not convinced? Dr. Steven G. Rogelberg, Professor of Organizational Science Management at UNC Charlotte, found that unnecessary meetings can cost businesses up to $100 million in salary costs annually. It’s okay—you can scroll back up if you need to re-read the list.
Communicate your expectations and get your team engaged.
The performance of your meetings hinge on clear expectations and your team’s engagement. First, be sure that your team is aware of any virtual meeting protocols—like joining on time, staying muted when appropriate, or always keeping their camera on. By communicating these expectations, your meetings will run smoother and fewer interruptions will occur.
Next, focus on getting the team engaged before and during the meeting—this will help improve your meeting outcomes. One way you can promote team engagement is by sharing the agenda prior to your meeting. Doing this allows your team to understand the objective and come prepared for conversations. To keep your team actively engaged, consider using visual aids and collaborative tools, like a virtual whiteboard.
Create a clear agenda.
Arguably the most important element to improve your virtual meeting experience is to set a clear agenda and stick to it. If you’re struggling to make an agenda for your meeting—don’t worry! You can follow the example below or check out this guide for a more in-depth approach.
This is an example of a weekly meeting agenda. It’s best to allocate an estimated amount of time to each agenda item to best. We’ll allocate 60 minutes to this weekly meeting.
- Check-in (5 minutes) Use Check-in to see how the rest of your team is doing. What’s new? How are they doing? If your team is quiet, you may want to use an icebreaker.
- Goals (5 minutes) These are goals that your company has set at-large, your department has set internally, and employees have set personally. Use this time to gauge if they are on-track to be completed or if assistance is needed.
- Metrics (10 minutes) Every company has a different set of KPIs and metrics. Decide which ones are relevant for your meeting and ensure that everyone comes prepared to update the team. If something is off, note the issue and discuss this later in the meeting.
- Headlines (3 minutes) Use this time to share important information that impacts your team. Is someone from your team going to be out of the office? Make sure your team has a plan to cover their colleagues in their absence. Perhaps there will be a company picnic in a few weeks. Make sure your team knows when and where it will be.
- To-dos (5 minutes) Assigning your team with to-dos helps keep everyone on track. Use this time to validate that each team member knows what they are responsible for and when their task is due.
- Issues (30 minutes) This section of your agenda should be allotted the largest amount of time. During this time, you can discuss any obstacles that your team has. If there’s a path to solving the issue, assign a to-do, then move on to the next issue. This is also a great time to discuss any opportunities your team may want to explore.
- Wrap-up (2 minutes) At the end of your meeting, be sure to review all of the assigned to-do items with your teammates. This is the time to ask clarifying questions. Once everyone agrees that they are on the same page—adjourn the meeting.
It’s best practice to assign one person as the meeting leader—that person keeps the meeting moving forward, watches the time, and takes notes to share meeting minutes with the team.
Use meeting management software for your virtual meetings.
The easiest way to consistently run a successful virtual meeting is to use meeting management software. This takes the guesswork out of your meetings and allows you to focus on the more important tasks at hand.
Running better virtual meetings ultimately helps you grow your business. That’s why Bloom’s meeting management software is specifically designed to:
- run better meetings with a timed agenda and automated meeting minutes,
- measure success with easy access to goals, KPIs, and metrics,
- optimize workflows by identifying issues and assigning to-dos, and
- promote transparency with easy access to important documents, org charts, and business plans.
With all of these tools combined on one convenient platform, your meetings can be more productive, your team can be more connected, and possibilities—for you, your team, and your business—can grow exponentially.
Since implementing our software, 73% of our clients have reported increased accountability.
Imagine what that could do for your business.