How You Can Ensure the Productivity of Your Virtual Team Meeting
Ask any professional you know which aspect of their job they dread the most, and chances are the answer will involve meetings. Regardless of the specific nature of the business or the industry, common complaints include that meetings last too long, they do not accomplish anything productive, or they are unnecessary. However, with the right leadership, meetings can be incredibly productive and valuable to your business. When your team consistently participates in such meetings, they will benefit from improved communication, informed decision-making, more creative and collaborative problem-solving, stronger relationships, and positive work culture. Ultimately, meetings can significantly impact the bottom line of your business.
Poor Communication & Unproductive Meetings
Consider the following example. A sales associate at a local car dealership, always complains about the meetings he is forced to attend because they are often inefficient, unfocused, and time-consuming. Yet when the senior management team decided to change an upcoming promotional event, he was furious that he was not included in the meeting. If meetings at his company were handled with the appropriate level of care they deserve, the sales associate would have prioritized these meetings and made sure to attend them. Additionally, the owner’s assistant could have prepared an agenda and circulated it in advance, giving the associate the chance to learn about the meeting and request to join.
Popularity of Remote Work
The example above illustrates common challenges experienced by workers, how these challenges arise, and how they could be prevented with proactive leadership. Ensuring meetings are productive, efficient, and valuable for all participants has never been easy but is now especially difficult as many business teams have switched to remote work. Since 2005, the number of Americans working from home has skyrocketed by 140%. Today, over 4 million workers currently work remotely, at least half of the time. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to keep people at home, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
Virtual Team Communication
Virtual team communication is vital for keeping all workers on the same page, managing their responsibilities, holding them accountable, and giving them a platform to ask questions or raise concerns. One of the most effective ways to improve communication in your business is to hire a virtual assistant. A qualified, experienced virtual assistant can help enhance the quality and productivity of your virtual team meetings by handling common communication challenges that impact company morale and hinder productivity. At Virtual Latinos, our virtual assistants operate in the same time zones as our US clients, meaning they are always available when you need them the most.
What to Do Before the Virtual Meeting
Step 1: Create an Agenda
If you are responsible for organizing or leading a virtual team meeting, spend a minimum of half an hour preparing for the meeting. This involves creating a precise, time-conscious agenda with a structure of key talking points and suggestions for when and how long you want to address each point. Create a list of all the remote workers who should be included in the virtual meeting and send the agenda to all participants to review it and prepare any questions or concerns.
Step 2: Research the Best Software
Numerous remote meeting tools have been developed over the past few years, so you must consider your needs to find the software with the highest chance of supporting the success of your virtual team meeting. You can utilize a combination of videoconferencing, file-sharing, and screen-sharing software to ensure your remote team can effectively communicate and collaborate.
You can find our recommended tools & software for leading virtual teams in the best possible way.
Step 3: Set a Date
Ask participants for their availability, so you can choose a timeframe that works for everyone. Remember to confirm their time zones to accommodate for any differences. After selecting the best date and time for the meeting, ask the participants to confirm that they will be attending.
Step 4: Define Expectations
Define the rules and expectations for how participants should behave during the virtual team meeting. For example, can they speak freely, or do they need to wait for their turn to contribute? Should they mute their phones when someone else is speaking to avoid distractions? Does everyone need to keep their camera on at all times or only the person talking? All participants should know exactly what to expect when they enter the meeting, be prepared for the discussion at hand, and have clear guidelines on how to communicate.
Step 5: Log on Early to Prepare
Give yourself at least 10 minutes to log on to the virtual team communication software to ensure everything is working correctly, and you are fully prepared to begin the meeting.
What to Do During the Meeting
Step 1: Start With a Greeting
Take time to share a greeting, introduce yourself, and request that all participants introduce themselves. This reduces the awkwardness of the setting, helps them become comfortable communicating with people they have never met in person, and gives them the chance to get to know each other and learn more about their areas of expertise, this is also a great opportunity for team building. A short introduction period also allows you to familiarize yourself with the team, so you can monitor how they contribute to the meeting. These few minutes of small talk where you check-in and catch up will boost engagement, establish rapport, and strengthen relationships among team members.
Step 2: Confirm Users Can Navigate the Software
Confirm all participants are in attendance and understand how to navigate their software. Answer their questions or direct them to resources if they require additional assistance.
Step 3: Outline the Key Talking Points
Explain what you will be discussing in the meeting and update the participants on the company’s most recent news, activities, or developments.
Step 4: Give Everyone a Task
Instruct each participant to contribute to the meeting in a specific way. Give them each a task that involves contributing to the discussion in real-time and interacting with other participants, such as writing down questions that arise, taking notes on key points, or managing the presentation of supporting material. Ideally, this task is straightforward enough to easily understand and requires their participation during the entire meeting, instead of a “one and done” task they can finish quickly. When everyone feels like they bring something valuable to the discussion, they are more likely to stay engaged and contribute rather than falling into passively listening.
Step 5: Encourage Participation
Encourage all participants to contribute to the meeting with their ideas and opinions. Some people are naturally more inclined to speak up in meetings than others, and sometimes they can overshadow their more introverted team members. Make sure you are maintaining a safe environment that empowers everyone to share their unique perspectives. You can structure the meeting, so it offers equal opportunities for all participants to contribute with their ideas, such as giving each person five minutes to share their experience or unique insight on the topic.
Step 6: Employ Visual Aids
Include graphics, charts, photos, and other visual aids in your meeting to present information clearly and enhance engagement.
Step 7: End With a Recap and an Action Plan
Provide a brief recap of the topics covered in the meeting and create an action plan that outlines the next steps for your team.
What to Do After the Meeting
Step 1: Review and Share Meeting Notes
Review the meeting notes, make any necessary edits, and send the final version to participants.
Step 2: Distribute an Action Plan
Send the action plan to all participants with a description of their duties and any deadlines they are expected to follow.
Step 3: Schedule the Next Meeting
If you can, set a date for the next meeting.
Hire Your Virtual Assistant Today
If you are struggling to adapt your business to remote work, contact Virtual Latinos today to learn how your business can benefit from virtual assistant services. As one of the nation’s best virtual assistant companies, we help businesses of all sizes and industries improve their virtual team communication, streamline their processes, and increase their revenue. When you hire a virtual assistant, you can delegate a wide variety of tasks in areas such as business administration, marketing, and customer service to qualified, motivated, and hardworking professionals throughout Latin America.
At Virtual Latinos, 90% of our virtual assistants hold college degrees, and all of them have demonstrated verbal and written proficiency in English and Spanish. They work throughout Latin America, including El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. In contrast with virtual assistants from Asia or India, our team operates in your time zone, meaning they are available whenever you require prompt completion of a task. Virtual Latinos can help you hire a virtual assistant that meets the needs of your business.