This article is Part 3 of our series on Remote Meetings:
- Part 1: Remote and Hybrid Team Meeting Tips
- Part 2: Set and Don’t Forget: Remote Meeting Ground Rules
- Part 4: Prepare in Advance for Your Remote Meetings to Create Higher Engagement
- Part 5: Keep Remote Meetings Simple, Short, and Fun
- Part 6: Lead Your Remote Meetings with the Virtual Platform in Mind
- Part 7: Manage Remote Meeting Logistics
- Part 8: Reduce the Number of Participants In Your Remote Meetings
Virtual meeting platforms (like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and GoTo Meeting) have software functions (or remote meeting functions) that can greatly enhance your virtual meetings. In our Executive Coaching and Leadership Coaching practice we recommend that meeting leaders familiarize themselves with these functions and utilize them in their remote meetings to create more variety and interest, and therefore more engagement from their participants.
These tools can also streamline your meetings so that you can keep them as short as possible (the best remote meeting are short and laser focused).
We’ve based this explanation of Remote Meeting Platform functions on Zoom, but most platforms will have the same functions (although they may have different names).
1. The Zoom Chat Window
• Have participants use the Chat window to vote on team decisions (you can use the Polls function for this as well).
• Encourage team members to use the Chat to add to the discussion or alert the meeting leader that they have something to say.
• Ask team members to add documents and links to the Chat so that everyone can access them while the meeting is still going on.
2. The Remote Meeting Raise-Your-Hand Feature
• Use the raise-your-hand function to manage Q&A, especially with a large group.
• It can be difficult to get a turn to speak in a remote meeting. Have your participants use the raise-your-hand function to give participants a way to get into the conversation.
3. Virtual Meeting Breakout Room Function
• Use breakout rooms to make it easier for all participants to join in the discussion and air their views. Then have a participant from each breakout room summarize the opinions of their breakout group for the whole group when you have the participants rejoin the main room.
• Use breakout rooms to give participants a chance to talk one-on-one and dig into the details on a topic.
• Use the breakout rooms for team building among participants. You can assign people to be in breakout rooms for team-building purposes.
• Visit breakout rooms to ensure the participants are clear on their assignment and to get a feel for what each group is discussing.
4. Video Conferencing Polls/Surveys
• Use Polls to vote on decisions during the meeting or to “temperature check” a decision or attitudes.
• Prepare polls ahead of time.
• Make sure your facilitator is prepared to create polls on the fly as needed.
5. Remote Meeting White Board
• Use the White Board function to capture important information the whole team needs to see.
• Use the White Board function for brainstorming so that each participant can add information to the brainstorm.
• Use the White Board function to create simple flowcharts, draw designs, mind maps, Cause and Effect diagrams, or timelines.
6. Virtual Meeting Co-hosts and Facilitators
Assign a cohost to handle the technical side of the call:
• Watching for Chat comments
• Verbally identifying Raised Hands
• Creating Polls
• Launching Polls
• Assigning Breakout Rooms
• Sharing White Boards
• Recording the meeting
• Placing essential information in The Chat
• Addressing technical problems
The functions provided by virtual meeting platforms can help the meeting leader to create effective, efficient, engaging, and interesting meetings. There is both an art and a science to creating great remote meetings, and planning is essential.
Need help planning your virtual meetings to make them more effective? A Donna Schilder Leadership Coach can help.