Ten minutes into a remote meeting, unusual sounds began emanating from Walsh’s monitor. A participant wrote in the chat room, “Walsh, you need to mute your mike. You have some nasty things going on there!” Walsh remained unaware as the video images of other members revealed obvious attempts to refrain from laughing out loud.
Guidelines for effective remote meetings include:
Purpose. State an objective, such as: The objective of this meeting is to _____. Add an agenda of 2-4 topics and send to participants at least one day prior to the meeting.
Structure. Define the meeting date, time (account for time zones) and length (30-60 minutes.) If some team members are physically present, require all to participate as if they were remote.
Etiquette. Even with professionals, establish meeting rules such as: mute mikes when not talking, leave your video on, look into the camera, avoid distractions (noisy jewelry, folding papers, barking animals) and multitasking (texting, emailing, taking calls).
Training. Train all members on the features (file sharing, chat rooms, white boards, polling, recording) of your video conferencing software.
Engage. Begin with 3-5 minutes of informal talk among members. Ensure that every member has a responsibility—report on an action item, comment on another member’s suggestion, provide status updates, respond to periodic polls.
Follow-up. Make summary notes (Consider recording the meeting and making it available to all staff members.) and distribute them by the end of the day.