🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

Virtual meeting best practices.

Virtual Meeting Best Practices: Tips for Engagement

Beyond mastering logistics, exceptional virtual meetings require intention, inclusiveness, and mindfulness to foster the innovative thinking that accelerates progress.
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Join the Virtual Event Revolution!

Let our crew of creative tech wizards cast an online engagement spell to mesmerize your audiences into a virtual frenzy! 

Productive in-person gatherings take skill. But video calls can feel disconnected and clumsy in comparison. 

Without visual cues or energy in the room, it’s tough to manage conversations, align interests, and inspire attendees through a screen.

Yet seamless remote collaboration unlocks flexibility and convenience needed in today’s landscape.
This guide shares actionable tips to improve meeting effectiveness, encourage participation, streamline collaboration, and advance your team's objectives – no matter where everyone is located.Follow these virtual meeting best practices to rally even disconnected groups around a common purpose.

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How to Make the Most Out of Your Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings have become the norm for many teams and organizations.

With more employees working remotely than ever before, it’s essential to learn how to run effective virtual meetings that drive productivity and engagement.

Follow these best practices to get the most out of your online meetings.

Set Clear Objectives and Agendas

Having a clear purpose and objectives is key for any successful meeting, whether in-person or virtual.

Before scheduling a meeting, think about what needs to be accomplished and make sure a meeting is actually necessary.

If so, create a detailed agenda outlining:

  • Meeting goals
  • Key discussion topics
  • Action items and next steps

Share the agenda ahead of time so attendees can prepare. Allot time for each item to keep the discussion on track.

Choose the Right Virtual Meeting Platform

With so many web conferencing tools available, take time to evaluate and select the right virtual meeting platform for your needs. Key features to consider include:

  • Reliability – Look for a platform that offers robust connectivity and quality video/audio without freezing, pixelation or echoing.
  • Simplicity – The interface should be intuitive and easy to navigate, especially for those less tech-savvy.
  • Engagement Tools – Collaboration features like screen sharing, polls, chat and digital whiteboards drive active participation.
  • Cross-Device Functionality – Ensure attendees can join seamlessly from any laptop, phone or tablet.

Platforms like Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams are popular options to explore.

Set Up Your Technology in Advance

Nothing derails an online meeting faster than technical difficulties.

Do a test run before each virtual session to check your internet connection, video/audio settings and screen sharing capabilities.

Update software, use a wired ethernet connection, mute notifications and close unnecessary programs.

Position your webcam at eye level and adjust the light so your face is clearly visible. Use a quality headset with a microphone to maximize audio quality and limit background noise.
Having the right hardware/software in place ahead of time prevents delays and ensures everything runs smoothly.

Join 5-10 Minutes Early

Sign into the virtual platform before the published start time so you can welcome participants as they join and make sure everything is functioning properly on your end.

Use the pre-meeting time to chat casually with early attendees.

Starting the session on time shows respect for everyone’s schedule.

Latecomers can access meeting notes and recordings after the fact so the discussion isn’t unnecessarily delayed.

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Eliminate Distractions During Meetings

In a remote setting, it can be tempting to multitask and be less attentive.

Avoid checking emails, phone notifications or browsing the web during the session as it indicates disinterest to other attendees.

Likewise, schedule meetings when you can fully devote your attention without other pressing commitments.

Find a quiet, interruption-free space or utilize noise-cancelling headphones and mute notifications.

Staying engaged throughout virtual meetings takes concentration but enables more meaningful discussions.

Encourage Active Participation

Soliciting input and feedback makes online meetings more collaborative and interactive.
Utilize polls, chat and digital whiteboards so attendees can ask questions, post comments and share ideas in real-time.Periodically prompt quieter team members directly to gather their perspective.

When brainstorming options, conduct quick breakout room sessions for smaller group discussions.

Keeping participants actively engaged leads to better outcomes and decisions.

Practice Proper Meeting Etiquette

Basic etiquette guidelines help facilitate constructive virtual conversations.

  1. Mute your audio when not speaking to minimize background interference.
  2. Listen attentively when others are talking and avoid dominating the dialogue.
  3. Be aware of your body language and facial expressions on video.
  4. Sit up straight, make eye contact with the camera when speaking and avoid distractions in the background.
  5. Introduce all attendees initially so everyone knows who is present.
  6. Address people by name when responding to keep things personal and maintain momentum.

Summarize Action Items and Next Steps

At the end of each online meeting, recap key discussion highlights and decisions. Document action items with owners and deadlines so accountability and follow through is clear.

Send meeting minutes to all participants afterwards as a helpful reminder of responsibilities. Share session recordings or meeting artifacts if beneficial for reference.

Briefly preview next steps or set the agenda for upcoming meetings based on progress and priorities. Outline deadlines for prep work needed in advance.

Ask for Feedback on Effectiveness

Check in regularly with your team to assess what’s working well and where your virtual meetings could improve.

Create quick polls to gather feedback anonymously on aspects like technology, participation, pacing or action items.

Adjust discussion formats, collaboration tools or schedules based on constructive input to better meet attendee needs and preferences going forward.
Continuously refining your approach over time enhances effectiveness.Establishing best practices takes your online meetings from chaotic and dull to productive and engaging.

Following these video conferencing tips will lead to more unified, focused discussions that accelerate decisions and drive better results.

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Learn the Best Practices for Virtual Meetings

With remote work becoming ubiquitous, mastering the art of leading exceptional virtual meetings is a critical skill for managers and leaders alike.

Applying key best practices enhances collaboration, productivity and innovation regardless of location.

Set the Stage Properly

Take time before each online session to eliminate potential distractions in your surrounding environment.

Silence phone notifications, close unneeded browser tabs and programs on your computer, and hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign to minimize interruptions.

Position your webcam at eye level and adjust lighting so your facial expressions and body language are clearly visible.

Use a noise-cancelling headset and mute when not talking to maximize audio quality. Upgrade internet speed if connectivity is consistently unstable.

Testing equipment settings ahead of time prevents delays once meetings begin.

Be ready to guide others if they have trouble getting connected.

Keep Meetings Small and Focused

The ideal online meeting has between 2-4 attendees plus the facilitator.

Larger groups make it difficult for everyone to actively participate without side conversations developing. If more input is needed, conduct breakout sessions.

Carefully define the purpose upfront and stick to the agenda once you’re together live online.

Discourage tangents or hijacking the dialogue to pet projects. Facilitators should redirect off-topic questions to separate discussions.

Having a tight participant list and clear objectives keeps virtual meetings targeted and productive.

Take Breaks as Needed

Staring at a screen for hours on end can be mentally fatiguing.

For longer virtual sessions, build in stretch breaks every 45-60 minutes so attendees can stand up, walk away from devices and refresh.

Use the time to catch up on chat questions, regroup thoughts or have quick side conversations. Set an alarm to ensure you reconvene on time.

Periodic breaks help maintain energy levels and focus especially for complex or emotionally intense discussions.

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Spotlight Different Perspectives

Remote meetings lose some personal connection and nonverbal cues that come with being together physically.

Make an extra effort to connect with each person directly during the session.

Solicit opinions from quieter team members to ensure all voices are heard.

Repeat or summarize comments back to demonstrate active listening and clarify any misinterpretations.

Encourage debate and questioning of assumptions. Playing devil’s advocate exposes alternative angles. Different viewpoints lead to better decisions.

Rein in Dominant Talkers

Most meetings include one or two dominant personalities who overly influence the dialogue.

As facilitator, it’s your job to create space for others.

If someone begins monopolizing the conversation, politely interject saying you want to gather other perspectives on this topic too.
Thank them for the input and directly address another attendee to shift gears.You can also leverage chat, polls and hand raise features so responses don’t get dominated by the most vocal few.

Close with Next Steps and Action Items

Always conclude virtual meetings by recapping key discussion highlights, decisions and next steps.

  1. Document clear action items detailing what needs to happen, owners and deadlines.
  2. Send a follow up email with this information for easy reference along with meeting notes or recordings. Having clear responsibilities drives accountability to achieve results.
  3. If open issues remain, determine immediate next actions like gathering more data or researching options before reconvening.
  4. End positively emphasizing achievements made during your time together.

Consistently implementing these fundamental best practices will soon make leading world-class remote meetings instinctual.
Seamless collaboration unlocks innovation no matter the location when you have the right framework in place.


Tips and Tricks for Successful Virtual Meetings

Beyond the basics, master communicators utilize additional techniques to take their virtual meetings to the next level. Refine your video conferencing skills with these advanced tips and tricks.

Kick Off On Time

Nothing sets a disjointed tone faster than a late start because of technical difficulties or missing attendees. Begin promptly at the scheduled time regardless, even if key members haven’t arrived.

Use the initial minutes to make small talk while ensuring all presentations/documents are queued up and ready. This builds momentum and keeps the discussion moving forward. Latecomers can catch up on what they missed.

Spotlight Contributors

Actively highlight team members who contribute ideas or content during the session. Verbally thank them for their perspective and specifically relate how it impacts decisions or next steps.

The facilitator should capture relevant chat commentary in a shared document so insights aren’t lost. Follow up afterwards by email with praise and recognition.

Positive reinforcement motivates broader participation beyond the vocal few.

Poll for Consensus Checks

When aligned understanding is critical, periodically test for consensus by polling participants. Tools like Slido, SurveyMonkey and Microsoft Forms integrate directly with most virtual platforms.

For example, during a strategy discussion ask “Do we all agree that targeting buyers under 30 should be our priority for next quarter?” Attendees then indicate their stance.

If alignments unclear, the discrepancy becomes a constructive discussion point rather than mistaken assumption.

Divide Into Breakout Groups

Breaking larger teams into smaller breakout rooms adds variety and intimacy to virtual sessions. Groups of 2-3 can tackle sub-topics in greater depth then share summaries with the broader team.

Randomly reassigning breakout groups for subsequent topics produces fresh combinations and perspectives. Micromanaging isn’t needed; set a time limit then let teams self-organize around the task.

Reconvening as a large group after breakouts enables new connections and cross-pollination of ideas.

Assign Opposing Views

Prior to strategic discussions, assign participants to prepare arguments supporting specific (perhaps non-intuitive) perspectives. This avoids groupthink and status quo assumptions.

For example, have two team members outline the contrary view on a topic while others research facts defending the mainstream stance. Then debate the angles during the meeting.

Surfacing opposition, even if it isn’t genuinely held, often exposes valid holes, risks or hidden assumptions that should be addressed.

Set Video as Default

Many use the video off option as a convenient crutch to hide distractions or multi-task during meetings. As leader, establish keeping video on as standard practice to reinforce active engagement.

Start each session with participant cameras enabled as the norm. If issues arise requiring brief video off periods, explicitly state those instances are exceptions before allowing it.

Consistent video presence heightens accountability, affiliation and productivity.

FInal Thoughts: The Value of Intention and Presence

Ultimately, exceptional virtual meetings require intention, inclusiveness, and mindfulness above all else.

Leaders must be fully present, set a collaborative tone, actively spotlight contributions, and regularly collect feedback.

Likewise, participants share responsibility for staying engaged without distraction.
While mastering basic logistics enables functionality, it is mutual commitment to generative dialogue that unlocks innovation.View sessions not as obligatory, but opportunities to connect perspectives and progress thinking.

When technology gets out of the way, diverse insights manifest freely.

Approach meetings with this higher aspiration, and effectiveness naturally follows.

Unlock Your Team's Potential Through Virtual Collaboration

Imagine leading virtual meetings where participants are truly engaged, contributors feel valued, and innovative ideas flow freely. 

By optimizing your online gatherings, it’s possible to foster the collaboration, alignment, and progress your team needs to excel – no matter where they’re located. 

Don’t settle for disjointed, dull video calls that sap productivity. Schedule a 60-minute strategy session and unlock our proven framework for exceptionally effective sessions that rally your team around shared objectives. 

We’ll evaluate your current approach, gather confidential feedback, and provide tailored recommendations to transform how you lead and facilitate impactful virtual discussions. 

Now is the time to connect your team’s collective strength. 

Contact us today to book your consultation.

We & Goliath

We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

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