Four Tips to Ease Your Virtual Meeting Stress
Many companies are taking recent measures to either encourage, or in some cases mandate, employees to work from home to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus. Pandemic worries aside, working from home brings its own set of challenges like resisting distractions and securing a dedicated workspace. Other challenges include bringing your work online and leading virtual meetings.
As a virtual company – our team is spread across the country with no physical office – Global Learning Partners spends a lot of time planning, leading and facilitating meetings online. It takes some adjusting to lead meetings in a virtual space. We invite you to consider a few actions that we have found invaluable when planning and facilitating online meetings. These tips can facilitate your work, strengthen team connections, and serve the goals you set out to achieve.
- Learn the capabilities and limitations of your technology. No matter which platform you use – Zoom, Skype, Cisco, WebEx – take some time to learn about the features and capabilities by exploring what can and can’t be done. Find answers to questions like:
- What is the best use for this platform? For example, we find Skype better for 1:1 impromptu chats and Zoom better for groups.
- Where is the chat box?
- What are the options for screen sharing?
- What’s the best way to send invitations?
- How can the meeting be recorded?
- How is the audio quality?
- Take a little time to plan. This tip isn’t unique to virtual meetings, but it will help sharpen the focus, especially with our other distractions. Consider:
- Who should/will be there?
- What do you aim to achieve during this time?
- What is the plan to get there?
- How much time will it take?
- How you will do the work in the virtual context?
- What can attendees do in the virtual context?
- Use this as an opportunity to build team connections. A colleague once offered the following as a warm-up during a virtual meeting: Take a moment and look out your window. Jot down what you see in the chat box. An invitation like this can yield interesting comments and learnings about your teammates. Note: request that everyone keeps their webcam on.
- Partner up to help run the meeting. At GLP, we always have at least two people working together on a project. Having a partner to bounce ideas, do a gut check, and provide support is so useful. A support partner can help save time and avoid distraction and embarrassment when something might not be working smoothly. These partners can:
- manage the chat box,
- take notes,
- handle technology issues, and
- welcome latecomers.
We hope these tips ease some of your stress during this time. May they help discover opportunities in work and gathering virtually.
Global Learning Partners is here to help with you meeting, planning, and facilitation needs. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at globallearningpartners.com for more resources like this. Or, reach out to let us know some of your favorite tips for virtual meetings. We’d love to hear from you.
What tip can you offer for effective virtual meetings?
Tyler Phillips is a GLP Partner and Learning-Centered Organizations Coordinator.
Here are other GLP blog posts written on virtual gatherings you may find interesting: