9 Tips for Virtual Meetings That Actually Kick Butt

Jody Reynolds Expio Values, Tech Leave a Comment

During self quarantine, excellent communication and time management are important. Here are some ideas for improving your next virtual video meeting.

About the Author
Jody Reynolds

Jody Reynolds

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Client relationships, dog lover, social media strategist

Most of us are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, are we keeping up regular communications with our teammates, clients, business partners and others who play an important role for our work? ? 

It’s more important than ever to communicate at a high level and to make sure work life feels as normal as possible so teammates can stay productive and encouraged. 

For our team at Expio, we use free and reliable Google Hangouts Meet to keep in touch with each other and host meetings with our clients. We have Ring Central as well (no offense, guys!), but we prefer Google for video calls. During the COVID-19 self quarantine, several generous companies, such as Zoom, are offering their video conferencing services for free.

Leaders should find the video conferencing service that works best for their company and start using it right away to keep a sense of normalcy with their teams. Plus, the face time is oh-so important to the extroverts in the group.

Here are Expio leadership’s tips for having a great video conference call.

How to Reduce Wasted Time With a Productive Virtual Meeting

Expio’s team adheres to several guidelines designed to protect our time for each virtual meeting we host with clients. These guidelines are also helpful when we’re having more casual team meet ups.

  1. First, decide: Do you even need a meeting? “Remember to never schedule a meeting that just deals with information,” said Expio CEO Andy Roller. “Send an email instead. Meetings are for collaboration.”
  2. Create a meeting agenda, with most-important items at the top (in case you run out of time). Share the agenda with participants beforehand so they can prepare.
  3. Establish a meeting time length, based on the number of agenda items. Expio never calls a meeting that’s more than an hour, unless it’s a major brainstorming session. Most Expio meetings are 30 minutes or less. 
  4. Give everyone a calendar invite for the meeting, including the link to join, and make sure each participant knows to have:
    1. Reliable internet
    2. Camera turned on
    3. Headphones or a quiet environment
    4. Background music turned off
  5. When the video call begins, the meeting leader should thank participants for joining, make brief introductions if necessary and share a screen with the agenda.
  6. Allow a brief couple minutes for pleasantries. A quick chat about how everyone is doing is especially nice during our work-from-home self-quarantines.
  7. Stick to the agenda. If a participant starts to vary off track, real him back in and offer to table that particular discussion for another time.
  8. Respect people’s time. As you reach the end of your allotted time, give people a heads up that it’s time to wrap up. Do NOT go over time. People have other meetings and project deadlines to hit!
  9. The meeting leader should use the final few minutes of the video call to:
    1. Recap the meeting highlights
    2. Clarify next actions (who, what, by when) 
    3. List any other follow-up items
    4. Announce the date of the next meeting

Once the call is complete, the leader should send a wrap-up email or project link to capture tasks, notes and follow-ups. 

Expio Meeting Culture: Don’t Just Have a Meeting to Have a Meeting… Unless You’re Quarantined

Expio leadership insists on avoiding meaningless and nonproductive meetings. We don’t schedule meetings unless we know they’re valuable to the client and produce worthwhile action items.

We respect each other’s time and the time of our clients. Therefore, we only schedule meetings that are sure to be productive and high value to everyone involved.

That said, during these self-quarantine times, we find ourselves doing more team video meetings, almost as wellness check ups for each other. Several of us are social extroverts, and we’re finding that video chats are the next best thing to being around a conference table together. But, we still keep these team video meetings productive and brief. Everybody’s got work to do!

What tips do you have for hosting great video meetings? We’d love to hear!

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