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8 Protocols for Running a Virtual Meeting

Leading successful online meetings is an art – Here’s my top tips based on working with virtual teams across the globe.

  1. Add your I.D. to your name: Adding your I.D. to your name on screen helps people better identify with who you are and what’s important to you. When you understand another person’s I.D., you can frame conversations to take into account what they need to engage, and what may lie behind their point of view or approach. To do this in a zoom call, enter your 4 digit I.D in the name box when you enter a meeting.
  1. Show up and be present: How do you feel today? Are you 8 out of 10 in terms of your performance and energy? If things are pulling you out of stride, what can you do to show up as the best version of you in the meeting? People will notice (even virtually) if you’re ‘absent’ and not at the top of your game, and you simply won’t get the best outcomes.
  1. Are you the best person to facilitate the virtual meeting?: Not everyone has the best energy, skill set, or desire to run a virtual meeting. Maybe you would add more value as a contributor rather than a facilitator? Or perhaps you’d better suit another role, e.g., collecting actions, or calling it out if the conversation goes down a rat-hole. Who might be a better fit and enjoy the challenge? Delegate!
  1. Have your camera on: Having your camera on exponentially ramps up the ‘human element’ to any meeting. People can ‘pick up’ more of what is others are saying and more of what people are really thinking and feeling. On the flip side, remember that people will also see if you are distracted, so use whatever strategies you need to remain present.
  1. Start and end your meetings with some human connection: Perhaps more than ever, people are missing the ‘human touch’. Make the most of the opportunity for people to connect at an emotional level. While wanting to be efficient with people’s time, don’t immediately jump into the content and task, and leave some time for a more informal wrap.
  1. Use minimal slides: As a best practice, you should only have around 4-6 slides for an hour-long meeting (though it may be more if a training event). Think about the key messages that you want to convey and make the slides visually appealing.
  1. Provoke dialogue: Ensure the meeting is interactive, and everyone has a chance to participate. Think of a few key questions beforehand – things to get everyone talking. As not everyone is wired to just jump in and chat, give advance notice of topics, and set up the conversation to make people feel safe and comfortable. Invite quieter individuals into the conversation.
  1. Come prepared with a framework: Prepare a ‘strawman’ for a topic to help guide the discussion, but also to give space to invite feedback and response. To maximize the time available in a virtual meeting, you can explain your point of view on a topic first. Then, ask the group, e.g., ‘What are your thoughts, I’m interested to know what you think – I’m not wedded to this.’

We hope that these tips help you to get the best out of leading meetings virtually.

Let us know how you go.