We’re spending a lot of time in video meetings these days, and all those hours interacting with people through a computer screen can be exhausting—especially if meetings don’t feel like they have a purpose. Here are eight tips for making your video calls more productive and effective and run better virtual meetings.
Ask yourself, ‘Do I need this meeting?’
Consider this question before setting up any video calls. If you can quickly resolve something through chat or email, go that route. We’re all busy, and unnecessary meetings waste everyone’s time.
Consider everyone’s schedule
Plan meetings as far in advance as possible, and try to avoid last-minute changes. This helps people manage their time. If your workers are spread out across the country—or world—make sure you factor in time-zone differences so your calls fall inside normal business hours (or as close as possible) for everyone.
Limit attendees to virtual meetings
Only invite those who need to be on your call is a key to running better virtual meetings. Discussions can become difficult if too many people are trying to talk at once—especially in virtual meetings. If your call does include a lot of participants, mute everyone but the speaker to prevent background noise.
Have an agenda
Put together a plan of what your meeting will cover, and share it with everyone in advance. Also, be sure to notify presenters what they’ll discuss and how much time they’ll have. Setting clear expectations will help people show up better prepared to contribute.
Use visual support
We all sometimes zone out during video calls. But using visual tools like spreadsheets, slideshows, or videos can help keep attendees engaged. One tip: If you’re sharing your screen, have all your files ready so you can move through your presentation seamlessly.
Don’t get distracted
It’s easy to lose focus when you’re working from home. But you can limit disruptions by sitting in a quiet area with no one else around. Also, try to maintain eye contact while you’re talking to connect with your audience.
Give everyone time to speak
Competing for attention on a video call can be difficult. Give people a chance to share their opinions by using the “raise hand” feature in your video conferencing program or by calling on them for their turn to speak.
Come away with clear objectives
As you wrap up your meeting, be sure that all those working on a project know what the next steps are. What are the tasks? Who’s responsible for them? When is the deadline? Answering these questions will keep your team on track.