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Tips for holding effective virtual meetings

For virtual meetings to be impactful, one has to take note of their surrounding environment.

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For virtual meetings to be impactful, one has to take note of their surrounding environment.

Photo credit: Polina Zimmerman

Virtual meetings around the world include but are not limited to video conferencing only. It also encompasses other forms such as the exchange of audio tapes and text messaging on an online platform. Virtual meetings have been necessitated by not just unexpected changes but is also a technological practice that is slowly gaining popularity in the business world due to the convenience it offers. It allows for remote working and the exchange of information between individuals worlds apart.

In order to have an effective virtual meeting, it's important to take note of the following:

1. Immediate environment

For virtual meetings to be impactful, one has to take note of their surrounding environment. Is it conducive? Does it have potential distraction? Is it comfortable? Does it affect my psychological state whatsoever? It is therefore essential to ensure that the environment is set up in a way that allows for the smooth uninterrupted flow of the meeting at hand. The only present material should be what is needed for the job in terms of stationery and electronics, not to forget your presence.

2. Requisite material

Effective virtual meetings call for personal discipline in terms of getting the required material in place before the meeting itself. Communication should be effected in the event of lack of vital material or information. Ensure that you have the required software installed and running in addition to a strong Internet connection in the case of video conferences.

3. Individual presentation

Trivial details in the way an individual presents themselves in a virtual meeting tend to be poignant. How one is dressed, their posture, body movement and facial expression all contribute to the final interpretation of the message conveyed. Therefore it's crucial to ensure that one takes note of how they relay themselves:

●    Dress as though you're headed for a boardroom meeting.

●    Maintain an upright calm posture, this communicates attention. Refrain from slouching, leaning or reclining for they communicate laxity and boredom.

●    Listen and possibly take notes. Be courteous when interrupting. Wait your turn to voice opinions or to table results, observations and findings. Be concise when discussing your points to ensure your point is not lost in translation. If possible note them down prior to avoid going off-topic.

4. Personal discipline

It's crucial that you exercise personal discipline when it comes to holding virtual meetings. Put away anything that distracts; phones, games, outside interference, unnecessary material. Concentrate fully. Set reasonable breaks in between the meetings. For example, you can have a twenty minutes break after a one-hour long meeting. Use the breaks to recharge or attend to pressing matters but ensure that you get back in time. Productivity is a factor of discipline and by virtue of your employer trusting you to work from wherever you are, it's only fitting for you as an employee to deliver from your end.

Written by

Kelvin Mokaya

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