Though personal meetings tend to be more popular, a virtual meeting can be a solution to busy schedules or long distance travel arrangements. This is why businesses are choosing to hold meetings virtually more and more.
However, the idea of having a ‘virtual meeting’ can be quite daunting, especially for those of us who aren’t technologically inclined. We hope that this article will explain a little more about what a virtual meeting actually is and how to conduct this type of meeting with as few hiccups as possible. Hopefully with these guidelines you will feel comfortable enough to conduct your own virtual meeting.
So, what is a virtual meeting?
A virtual meeting involves some sort of technology. This can be anything from a conference call using a telephone system to videoconferencing where you will actually be able to see other members in the meeting on a webcam using an online program like Skype. It is also possible to create a meeting situation using an Instant Messenger tool such as MSN where all you have to do is type.
Key things to remember:
Whatever type of virtual meeting you chose to hold, it is important to use the tools you have available and utilise them fully.
The most important thing to remember is that even though you are not in the physical presence of your peers, you must keep all the formalities of a professional meeting. Follow these 6 simple tips to guarantee great results.
- You must have a formal agenda and go through it as you would in any other professional meeting.
- If the meeting is going to be held regularly, then it is important to keep to a specific time each day/ week/ month. It is very easy to put off virtual meetings as you don’t have to set aside time and money to travel, sticking to a routine time will ensure that others will commit.
- You should always write up the minutes and circulate them promptly. A simple tool like Pailz.com can take the hard work out of doing this. Take a look and see if it can save your business time and energy.
- Stay smart. Particularly if you are using video technology. The meeting may be ‘virtual’ but you want to appear as you would if the meeting were in person. For example, if you would wear a suit to an office meeting, wear one for a videoconference.
- Like with any meeting, you must create a level playing field between you and all other meeting attendees. Make everyone involved feel like they have a role. Pick up on those people who have remained quiet and bring them into the conversation.
- If you are using a videoconferencing tool such as Skype, you are able to share screens. This means that other users can view your screen whilst you are online. So if you are working at your desk in New York and wanted show a colleague in Beijing exactly what you were doing, you would simply click on the ‘share screens’ icon and your colleague would be able to see your computer desktop. This saves a lot of time and hassle, especially for long distance action.
Psst! Skype is a great tool to use when setting up a meeting virtually, as it enables you use video messaging over the Internet. All you need is a webcam and microphone. The best bit is that basic Skype is free to download of the Internet.
If you want any more tips on how to guarantee a great meeting, then check more of the articles on The Meeting Minutes.