How to improve your virtual presence
Virtual meetings have become the norm since the start of the pandemic. However, while they might have been born out of necessity, today we continue the practice of virtual meetings because they have a lot to offer the team environment. Virtual spaces provide a forum for ideas sharing, connecting on another level, and motivating your team. In fact, with the right foundational practices in place for virtual meetings, they can become a winning differentiator.
Key foundational best practices for virtual meetings
- Use the right platform for your virtual presence – Make sure you pick a virtual meetings tool that everyone in the team can use and where, if there is any training required, it is likely to be minimal. How confident people feel about the platform you choose will directly impact participation so this is essential. It is also best practice to find a platform that has all the features that are going to turn your virtual meetings into a constructive experience. That could be whiteboards, break-out spaces, or automatic recording. General features to look for include high-quality video and sound with no lag, interactive tools, reporting analytics and strong security.
- Give participants an agenda in advance – An agenda will help to manage the expectations of attendees and ensure that the virtual meeting is productive. There is nothing worse than a pointless meeting where attendees leave feeling like their time has been wasted. You can avoid this by creating an agenda – with a timeline – so that everyone comes prepared with what they want to stay, and there is a guide to ensure that the meeting stays on track.
- Have a trial run before the first virtual meeting – If you are not familiar with the virtual meeting platform, you’re going to use then give yourself plenty of time to get to know it in advance of the first scheduled meeting. There is nothing wrong with taking your time to get to know a platform but, for the sake of morale and efficiency in the team, it is better to do this on your own time, rather than when you have a screen full of people. It is especially vital to ensure that you have completed downloads, log-ins etc. well before the session is due to start.
- Have a plan for the meeting – Alongside the agenda, it will be important for the host to have the plan to ensure that the meeting runs in the way it is intended to. Being strict on timing is going to be essential to avoid losing focus, for example, and make sure you can mute everyone except the speaker. Use all the tools available to get people to engage during the meeting and leave yourself time to summarise what you want people to remember when they leave.
- Distribute a replay – It is always useful to record virtual meetings and then distribute the replay for any constructive feedback about how to do it better next time.
Virtual meetings can really vary in quality but you have a lot more control over the impact that you can make with one than you might initially think.
Clearwater Advisers are experts in mastering virtual presence. We specialise in showing leaders and their teams how to communicate strategically so that they can perform at their best.
If you would like to find out more about mastering virtual presence or want to enquire about our services, please contact us.