The Surprising Science Behind Successful Remote Meetings

People need to know the meeting will start on time, how the meeting will be organized and what will be talked about in what order. This will help prevent someone from hijacking the meeting or going off on some tangent that should be addressed at another time. Facilitators need to silence meeting hijackers and table whatever issue is sidetracking forward movement. Cat filters aside, it’s all too easy for those meetings to be repetitive, ineffective and, on occasion, go totally off the rails. Video conferencing tools should also include functionalities that help organize, attend and review notes from a meeting.

  • Any light-hearted way to start the meeting can help set the tone of exchange and feedback that you want.
  • Even business-grade video conferencing still has awkward lags and cross-talk.
  • This will give your team a great view of every aspect of the project, and all on one page.
  • Despite all the benefits of online meetings, one of their biggest drawbacks is technical difficulties.

Hellene Garcia, head of commercials at virtual meeting room companyNeat, said making video collaboration more equitable is key to supporting natural interactions and productivity. “When some people are in a meeting room and others are at home, it can be impossible for the remote participants to see and hear everyone in the meeting room equally,” she said. Crafting an engaging presentation during an online event is just as hard as maintaining the interest of the attendees.


Now that we have been meeting remotely for some time — and may continue for the foreseeable future — the timing may be ideal for this step. Online meeting fatigue is real, it’s happening, and we need a break from our screens. Even though Impact by Design is a champion of effective online meetings, we too get bleary-eyed from back-to-back calls. We have been How to run a successful remote meeting working on ways to manage remote work delirium and wanted to share these strategies with you. Establishing an agenda for your virtual event is successful meeting-planning 101. Instead of filling it to the brim and planning lecture sentences down to the last second, build in some free time for engaging conversation with those who matter most – your audience.

How can remote meetings be improved

Poorly run meetings have a tremendously negative impact on team success, innovation, creativity, and on individuals’ well-being and stress. In fact, experiencing a poor meeting can even result in meeting recovery syndrome, where employees lose additional time and productivity mentally recovering from a bad meeting. Focus is hard to maintain at the best of times and harder again when working remotely. If your meetings require the use of slide decks, it makes sense to avoid content-heavy presentation slides and do whatever it takes to simplify your presentation. They cannot rely on casual encounters or lunch in the cafeteria to cement new relationships.

Four Habits To Help You Survive All Those Virtual Meetings

A switched-on company leader wants to solve HR problems, not suppress them. Reduce the meetings that include a dozen attendees or more. Stop the “invite everyone just in case” mentality and invite only those willing to work on a specific task and use the meeting time to get something done.

How can remote meetings be improved

Ask what went well, what could have been improved, and what you could try next time. Having this information at your fingertips allows you to make powerful decisions about how to structure your conference in a way that best fits your audience. Your speakers can prepare and prioritize in advance, while tailoring the content to improve audience engagement. In terms of security he says most of the recent bad press about security on video calls has come from open meetings that were posted publicly and which did not use meeting passwords. “It’s a pretty easy fix and not especially germane to a business context,” he said.

Depending on the culture at your place of work, you might need to set some rules about video and what people should wear. Eliminate “admire the problem” meetings where everyone gets together to talk about the problem but not do anything productive. This looks something like a meeting where you state the problem, comment about why it’s a problem, lament the fact that it is a problem and move on to the next problem. It happens that Gartner employs over 2,000 experts, the vast majority of whom have been working from home for years. And in case you’re wondering, I don’t like to work in monastic seclusion.

Hosting online or virtual events has broadened reach, which has increased participation by people who don’t necessarily speak the same language or those who have hearing or visual impairments. Software that includes translation tools and closed-captioning can go a long way in improving the event experience for everyone. Still, despite our increasing reliance on this software, video calls don’t always go smoothly. Technical glitches, audio challenges and slow load times are just a few of the problems users encounter along the way. Given the importance of these tools to the future of work, the opportunities for improvement go well beyond just fixing situational problems and getting that Zoom meeting link to work. Probably not, but with focused development and intentionality, you can turn your meetings into efficient and engaging events.

Make Time Matter Less

The need to decide whether the company norm is going to be that people are always on video, or is audio-only acceptable? “Is it fun to see everyone in their pajamas, or is some basic attire standard in place? Those cultural norms are almost more important than the tech itself,” he said. Finally, the best way to make your team meetings better is to ask attendees how the meetings are going — the ultimate act of stewardship. Send out a quick survey where folks share what is going well or not so well, and provide ideas for improvement. Then learn, reflect, and try some new things based on the feedback.

What this means in practice is that those who show up in person for meetings in hybrid work environments end up gaining advantages in comparison to those who remain remote. Stigma against remote working continues to stubbornly prevail as management grapples with the new reality that the future of work is based on achievement rather than presence. These may become virtual drop-in sessions during which your teams can continue to engage in the work they need to do and occasionally pop in to ask for help, advice, or just for some human interaction. Remote video-based collaboration can be draining, so it makes sense to manage time effectively. While this kind of ad hoc interaction may end up revealing problems within your company, it should ideally help build team cohesion and maintain morale.

“Everyone needs to feel like they’re in the same place because a dispersed workforce relies on distributed creativity,” said Garcia. “So, innovative collaboration technology will be critical to enable the inspired meetings and brainstorming that fuel innovation.” One of the biggest concerns surrounding video conferencing tools — and most digital tools — is security. Zoombombing, for instance, became a concern for many, when hackers repeatedly hacked random Zoom sessions. Health concerns remain as some employees begin returning to the office.

Imagine if you had the top attendee complaints from the last 100 virtual conferences in one place? You could use that to influence powerful decisions that drive your business forward. The hybrid work solution that enables audience engagement through live, inclusive conversations across organizations. Whether it’s remote meetings, in-person events, or hybrid workspaces, Poll Everywhere gives your audience a voice and delivers authentic feedback at scale. Finally, he said, allow yourself to go low-tech even when the video conferencing software you are using is high-tech.

This includes video collaboration tools that allow people to move freely and stay energized and productive, as well as enable them to see and hear clearly. Both options will reduce fatigue and inspire more creative collaboration. He says that one of the most important contributing factors to successful meetings is that business leaders establish the culture for virtual meetings.

Focus on fewer, higher quality meetings – Be purposeful with your meetings so you have them only when absolutely necessary. This is important whether you are meeting online or in person. When you schedule a meeting, do it because it is the most effective way for you to have the necessary conversation.

Great Companies Need Great People That’s Where We Come In

Here are seven strategies to keep participants engaged… Collaboration works best with all team members on video because it gives the session a more personal feel and brings people together as a team. Working remotely requires a lot of screen time, but it shouldn’t be the only way we connect with people or accomplish our work. Our brains, our bodies, and our work are better when we give ourselves a break from the computer and explore all the ways we can get things done.

“Endpoint protection should include things like camera protection, screen capture, clipboard protection, microphone protection and keystroke logging,” said Waller. Join us at one of these upcoming or on-demand events to connect with the Reworked community. That Future of Time report from Adobe reveals that using too many apps can generate stress and burn out. “We can easily feel inundated by the number of channels and platforms we’re expected to interact with in a remote world,” Menlo Ventures partner Naomi Ionita told me. I’ve worked with some voluntary organizations that impose “time budgets” to achieve this goal.

Some people find more than once every two weeks is invasive and unnecessary, and others need multiple calls per week. Especially now, you might need to increase your individual meeting cadence to ensure everyone is okay and feels included. Embedding video is a key attention-grabbing element that can keep prospects and customers engaged directly on your site. It also improves the customer experience by keeping everything in one platform.

Focus On Employee Experience In Making Changes

Lastly, don’t let people ramble or go off course; kindly interrupting, if necessary, is your job as a meeting leader. The facilitator has to engage everyone in the conversation. Even during in-person meetings, it’s typical for two or three strong-willed and opinionated people to do all the talking while everyone else hangs back. That situation can become magnified in a virtual meeting where it’s much more awkward for one of the silent types to jump into the conversation. Body language and facial expressions often can tell you if someone has a differing opinion but is reluctant to share it. That’s easier to pick up on in person, so the facilitator will need to keep an eye on those screens and invite people into the conversation.

Steps To A More Engaging Online Meeting

Build excitement for your upcoming virtual conference long before the first speaker takes the stage. Encourage attendees to submit their questions, vote for which topic interests them most, or take a survey during the week leading up to the virtual meeting. Poll Everywhere allows you to collect attendee responses via a URL link, participants do not have to download any software.

Using video, along with inviting as few people as possible, helps counter that sense of anonymity. To create focus, which is often lacking in remote meetings, try organizing the agenda as a set of questions to be answered rather than a set of topics to be discussed. By framing agenda items as questions, you have a better sense of who really has to be invited to the meeting. Once the questions have been answered, you know when to end the meeting — and you can easily gauge if the meeting has been successful. Research-based insights can improve your remote meetings and keep participants engaged. Online meeting platforms – especially the ones that allow us to see each other – have been incredibly valuable for moving many people through a time when remote work has become critical.

Video conferencing is a critical piece of the collaboration puzzle but to improve collaboration capabilities, these tools need to go beyond screen sharing. Participants should have the ability to share files during a meeting and tag other participants to ensure that they see an item in the chat. Another security feature that can help improve video conferencing is the inclusion of endpoint protection to make meeting participants less susceptible to malware spying. Here are some tips to make the most of this ongoing development in digital work tools to support remote and hybrid teams.

Pay special attention to anyone who is new to the team and is suddenly working remotely. You might need to have more meetings with new workers or set up meetings between them and teammates proactively. As a leader, your goal in a team meeting is not only to inform.

Make Time For Personal

He is also a writer and researcher on virtual meetings and collaborating in the virtual world. How can we expect our remote meetings to be effective if we never talk about what makes for a good one and what we should avoid? With your attendees, periodically create mutual expectations about what makes for a good remote meeting. Surface expectations, like “let’s keep all contributions to no more than 60 seconds so everyone has a chance to speak,” and give colleagues a chance to reply. To combat meeting fatigue in longer meetings, it’s helpful to set norms about when folks can take breaks, stand up, and stretch. Consider adding a ritual or ceremony to your team meetings, like a fun way to start or end a remote meeting.

Poll Everywhere’s seamless integration with Google Slides, Keynote and PowerPoint makes increasing the interactivity of any talk, lecture, and keynote, simple. Learn how Poll Everywhere can help boost engagement at your next online meeting. In a way, this may seem counterintuitive with respect to increasing productivity. These are the main themes, which encompass a wide range of elements that business leaders need to consider too. John Arthur serves on the executive team of a growing, publicly traded firm based in the United States.

The initial surge of remote work cause by the pandemic led to massive growth for providers of video conferencing software. According to Statista, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet were installed 479 million times in Q2 2020, up from 147 million the previous quarter. While growth has tailed off since, it remains robust and the large platform providers continue to add new features and refine existing ones. Just as important as attendee feedback is internal team feedback. After the online conference ends, host a team retrospective.

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