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5 Tips for Improving Your Remote Meetings

Don’t let an out-of-office workforce halt your productivity. Use these tips for making the most of your remote meetings.

The way teams work and collaborate is changing. Consulting, remote workforces and outsourcing are all on the rise. Even if you operate a team that is technically based in the same physical office, it’s becoming more and more common that your clients prefer to communicate in a virtual manner instead of in person due to the time constraints. One of the biggest issues that have surfaced around remote workplaces is how to handle company meetings. How do you communicate effectively when the meeting is with teams that are several hundreds or thousands of miles away instead of face-to-face metting in a conference room? How do you ensure that your employees are a part of the meeting, instead of just following directions? Below are seven strategies and techniques that will make your next virtual meeting just as effective as its in-person counterpart. After incorporating these tips, you may actually find that you prefer remote meetings, too — even if the other party is accessible in person:

  1. Screenshare it. Sharing your computer screen in real-time allows your employees to effectively “look over your shoulder” as you are talking. Your employees will be able to see your screen as you see it. You can also change the presenter, so you’ll be able to see the employee’s computer. Screenshare technology is the closest you can get to a physical meeting, and in many cases is actually more productive. Examples of services that you can use include Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and

  2. Schedule a specific time. One of the issues with remote meetings is that it’s more difficult to chase down the other party if they aren’t physically present. Always have a specific time scheduled, and confirmed for all remote meetings. On that note, don’t forget to account for time zones when scheduling meetings.

  3. Engage attendees by assigning the talking points. Having at least one talking point on everyone’s agenda gives them a purpose for being at the meeting beyond hearing what everyone else is saying. It also confirms that they are a part of the team and are spending their time in a valuable way. They’ll prepare for the meeting in a much more positive way if they have to present.

  4. Assign responsibilities and follow-ups. Assign each participant at the meeting a responsibility during the meeting as well as at least one follow-up item. Don’t be afraid to assign someone to take notes and someone to track time. By doing this, your team will remain engaged and learn more during the meeting. Finally, after the meeting, there should be some place for everyone to post their follow-up items for review (a wiki-style product usually works well for this).

  5. Limit the number of participants. Having a productive remote meeting with more than around 15 participants is difficult because of distractions, sound quality and short time or no time for everyone to participate. It’s a good idea to encourage frequent meetings with fewer participants. Not only does it improve meeting quality for everyone, but meeting with fewer people is much more engaging for your employees — and creates a better culture in your organization overall.

For those of you who’ve run remote meetings (either successfully or not), what else would you add to this list?


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