A lot of meetings are now taking place using tools like Skype or Google Hangouts. This is really great in a lot of ways and can make your life a little bit easier. The downside, though, is that it can also be a royal pain in the butt. When meeting with multiple people in one video conference, there are going to be some technical difficulties. Someone’s microphone won’t work, someone will accidentally hit the mute button and someone’s camera won’t work. You could get 20 minutes into the meeting before you even get the chance to speak about anything important, and by that time everyone is already aggravated.
Things get even more complicated when you are meeting with people in other countries. Language barriers and cultural differences can cause even more issues.
With a little bit of planning ahead of time, you can generally make these virtual meetings a little bit more productive. You just have to make sure that everyone feels accomplished, respected, and everyone feels like you are closer as a team.
1. Be Fair When Planning Meetings
Everyone runs on a different schedule. So planning around EVERYONE can be a little tough. But, you have to understand that it isn’t exactly fair to make one teammate miss something important to them at the same time every Thursday just because that is when it is the most convenient for yourself. Get with everyone, discuss a time in advance, and make sure that no one is sacrificing any more than anyone else.
2. Discuss The Meeting Ahead Of Time
When you are scheduling a meeting, make sure everyone knows exactly what is going to be discussed, and exactly what goal you are trying to achieve at the end of the discussion. It is really easy for people to get off track, especially in groups. If everyone has a clear understanding ahead of time, this shouldn’t be an issue, and staying focused should be much easier.
3. Take Culture Into Consideration
You might want to jump on the video call and jump straight to business without thinking too much, but if you are dealing with people from other countries then you should familiarize yourself with business practices in that culture. You don’t want to accidentally offend someone, or be offended by them when you shouldn’t be. That would be a downer.
4. Set The Rules
Before the meeting takes place, you should tell all team members to avoid side conversations or doing other things during the meeting. It is also good to remind them to not speak too fast, and to speak clearly. This will make everything go so much faster.
5. Pay Attention To Body Language
It is really easy for two people to run the show during a video chat. But the last thing you want to do is to make someone feel left out or unimportant. If you can tell someone has something on their mind, but they are trying to stay polite and quiet, talk to them directly and give them a chance to be a part of the group. Just a little bit of effort can go a long way.
There are lots of ways that a virtual meeting can go wrong. But there are an equal amount of ways that they can be super helpful. If you follow these 5 steps, I know you will be able to pull off a successful business meeting from the comfort of your own home or office.
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