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The Best Practices for Virtual Meetings: How to Keep Your Team Engaged Through a Screen


With the growing popularity of the hybrid or virtual workplace, many of us are regularly finding ourselves in online meetings. The virtual workplace can be a great option that is more convenient for both managers and employees. But, without everyone in the same room during meetings, it can be hard to connect with your team. Allow us to give you some guidance to help you engage your colleagues during virtual meetings. Below we have compiled a few best practices for hosting the best online meetings for your team.  

 

1) Choose the right tool  

The platform you choose directly impacts the success of your meeting. Make sure you choose wisely - the last thing you want is a meeting platform where attendees don’t know how to join or can't access the chat to ask questions. What platform is best entirely depends on the nature of your team. For example, your team often has design sprints and would benefit from a platform that includes a whiteboard setting that is suited for brainstorming sessions.  

 

2) Create an agenda  

When you host a meeting, it needs to have clear objectives. This will help you guide the meeting to ensure that you do not run overtime. Another way to make sure you stay on track is to include a timeline in your meeting agenda. Make sure to account for some friendly chat to kick things off as well as an open discussion at the end.  

 

3) Test your tech 

You want to make sure your virtual meeting goes off without a hitch (or glitch in this sense). Fun engagement features such as a poll for attendees to fill out should be super-quick and hassle-free. If you aren’t familiar with your platform, give yourself some time to experiment and test out any features you wish to use during the meeting.  

 

4) Consider different time zones 

If you have employees in different time zones, try to account for everyone’s time. While you can’t include everyone in all of your virtual meetings, you can make an effort to ensure that everyone takes part in some of your meetings. It is important that you try your best to be flexible with everyone and their working hours to ensure that all team members feel included.  

 

Dos and Don’ts of Virtual Meetings 

 

Now that you have a general understanding of virtual meeting best practices, let’s review what you should and shouldn’t do during online meetings.  

 

Dos 

Don’ts 

Organize a carefully planned out time agenda before the meeting. 

Go into the meeting without a plan and only create general ideas of what will be discussed. 

Give all attendees a chance to speak. 

End the meeting after the information is shared without an open discussion.  

Take regular breaks. 

Run through all of the content without allowing attendees a chance to take a break. 

Host the meeting from a quiet location that does not have a distracting background. 

Host the meeting in a location where there is lots of background noise and a distracting environment.  

Share a summary or recording of the virtual meeting for both participants and those who could not attend.  

Only allow attendees access to the meeting content and exclude those who could not attend.  

  

FAQs About Virtual Meetings  


1) Why should I do a virtual meeting?  

So, what really is the point? Well, one of the many advantages of virtual meetings is that you can possibly reach a larger audience. You are able to include all of your employees in team meetings regardless of how far they are located from the office. The chat tool is also a great benefit of online meetings that allows for engagement and interaction during the meeting.   


2) How do you keep attendees engaged during a virtual meeting? 

As most of us know, it can be harder to engage your audience through a screen as opposed to in-person. A great way to help participants connect is to use apps. One of the great apps that we use at STEPS for our Microsoft Teams meetings is Slido where you can host word clouds, discussion questions and polls. By including interactive elements in your meetings, you can further engage with attendees. To learn more about some fun ideas to make meetings more engaging, stay tuned for next week’s blog post.  


3) How long should a virtual meeting be?  

According to SAE International, the ideal virtual meeting should be 30 to 90 minutes. It is also recommended that if your meeting is longer than 90 minutes, you should plan deliberate breaks for your attendees. When deciding the length of your meetings, keep in mind that a human’s maximum period of concentration is about 45 minutes.


It’s no secret that virtual meetings have become popular with the pandemic. It is important that you are up to date with how to best engage your team through online mediums. That being said, virtual meetings are still a relatively new workplace practice. Engaging with your team in-person is completely different from talking to your colleagues through a screen. If you are having a hard time hosting meetings online, there are professionals that can help you have just as great, if not better, meetings online with your team. Here at STEPS, we offer small business support services and can work with you to create engaging virtual meetings for your team. Learn more on our services page or fill out the form on our contact page. 

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