Prepare in Advance for Your Remote Meetings to Create Higher Engagement is part 4 of our series on Remote Meetings:
• Part 1: Remote and Hybrid Team Meeting Tips
• Part 7: Manage Remote Meeting Logistics
• Part 10: Remote Meeting Decision-Making
• Part 12: 8 Tips for Managing Hybrid Meetings
Leading a remote or hybrid meeting is different from leading an on-site meeting. It’s harder to follow the discussion, it’s more difficult to stay focused, it’s more tiring to be in an online meeting, and team members working from home may have more distractions than they would in the office. For these reasons, leaders should prepare for remote meetings to increase engagement and efficiency.
Our Leadership Coaches are also seeing that, in the shift to remote work, people place a higher value on their time and may resent it when they feel their time isn’t being valued or managed well.
When you lead a meeting “by the seat of your pants,” it communicates to the participants that you don’t care about them, their time, or the company’s resources. If you do so frequently, it can undermine your credibility and it definitely costs your company money.
Instead, set an example by being prepared and expecting that participants come prepared as well.
Reinforce the behavior when participants come prepared by complementing those who are prepared and asking others to be more prepared for the next online meeting.
Best Practices to Prepare for Remote Meetings
Following these tips will help you prepare for remote meetings and increase engagement and efficiency:
- Create and follow an agenda – this is even more important in remote or hybrid meetings than it is for in-person meetings.
- Ensure that most of your agenda items have a goal (e.g., creating a flowchart, writing requirements for software, making a decision on a budget item, improving a process, planning an event).
- Send out an agenda prior to your remote meeting.
- Before the meeting, ask participants for topics to add to the agenda.
- Get attendees to commit to reading the agenda prior to the meeting.
- Let participants know what type of meeting it will be prior to the meeting, for example:
- Problem Solving
- Check In
- Big Picture
- Information Sharing
- Team Building
- Hold remote meeting participants accountable to come prepared.
- Provide participants with required pre-read documents before the meeting, especially when the documents are lengthy. (That way the meeting won’t have to be spent on informing participants and can focus on problem solving, planning, or decision-making).
How you run virtual meetings demonstrates your company and department culture and values. It also represents your personal brand and reputation.
Follow these tips and it will help you show team members that you respect them and value their time. It will also help make your meetings more productive and shorter. Making remote or hybrid meetings shorter will reduce labor costs and support your employees by giving them more time to attend to their individual responsibilities.
NOTE: To calculate the cost of a meeting, take the hourly rate of each participant and multiply it by the length of the meeting. Reducing meeting length can really add up to significant savings.
Here’s a Bonus Tip:
If you’re leading a remote meeting, start on time. If possible, end five minutes early – the extra time will be a gift to your team.
Need help creating meeting agendas, preparing for meetings, or leading meetings? Set up a Leadership Coaching Consultation with us today!