Collaboration teamwork virtual teams

How to Host a Great Meeting: 5 Ways to Prepare Guests

By Lindsey Baine

“With great power comes great responsibility.” This Spider Man wisdom applies not only to the superheros of comic books, but also to the superheros of business. The ones who lead teams, run meetings, and want to work smart.

So when you’re in charge of a team, how can you host great meetings?

You have the power to create a productive, energizing experience for everyone involved. We spend too much time in meetings today as it is, but with the right planning, you can be sure this time is well spent while avoiding the technical issues, lost time, and awkward moments we all hate. You can keep your team focused on its goals — even happy — in the process.

Remember, you are the host of these meetings, and like the host of any gathering, you want to make guests feel welcomed and comfortable. Anticipate their needs before they realize them, and get distractions out of the way so you can focus on the conversation at hand. For business meetings, this means:

1. Choose the best format.

First, consider whether you even need a meeting, and whether that meeting should be in person or on video. Video can be a potent tool for building stronger relationships, even when team members are remote. The face-to-face communication style helps you read others’ body language and keep everyone engaged so you can build trust and cooperation.

Here’s 5 tips on how to successfully run virtual teams.

2. Set a clear purpose for the meeting.

Keep everyone on track by outlining an agenda prior to the call. Include the reason for meeting, key discussion points, and what you’d like accomplished by the end. Following an agenda can eliminate non-productive side conversations, while keeping everyone focused on the task at hand during the meeting. And when you consistently stick to the plan and lead concise meetings, your team is more likely to stay motivated and engaged.

It also activates different personality types. Some people like to prepare their thoughts in advance before contributing in a group setting, while others love thinking out loud in the moment. By sending an agenda, both types can feel confident going into a meeting and sharing their ideas. It’s a simple step for better discussions.

3. Schedule recurring meetings.

When people know what to expect, they’re often more comfortable and better prepared. Scheduling recurring meetings is a great way to do this. Choose a videoconferencing service that lets you schedule meetings straight from your calendar, gives everyone a virtual room to meet in, and allows you to join meetings with the touch of a button.

4. Enable flexibility.

Workers today are more mobile than ever before. We’re no longer tied to office cubicles, instead we are working from home, the local coffee shop, airports, hotels, and in our car. So when your team is virtual, how can you still have a great meeting?

By using a platform that supports all of these work styles. Choose a professional videoconferencing service that lets users join on their own preferred terms, whether from a traditional standard-based video unit, a web browser, Skype for Business, or a mobile app. When we can join meetings how we want, we tend to work better.

Download: Guide to working from home

5. Get technical stuff out of the way.

Consider whether participants already use video in their daily workflows, or if they’ll need to test their system first. Technical issues can be one of the most frustrating parts of a videoconference. So, having folks join a couple minutes early to test their network connection and be sure their microphones and cameras are turned on, can help everyone on the call.

Ultimately, you have a job to do, and your tools should support that mission, not detract from it. The right videoconferencing service fades into the background and makes it easy for you to bring everyone together for a productive meeting. Technology should not overshadow you, but instead, should make you the star of your show. After all, you’re the superhero here.


Download the definitive guide to work from home

by Lindsey Baine

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