Research shows that 67% of workers say spending too much time in meetings distracts them from doing their jobs. While meetings aren’t always necessary for all information, some meetings are important to get right, especially if you’re meeting with a client or you’re updating your team on new policies.
You’ve likely led a lot of virtual meetings since the pandemic started. There was a steep learning curve in the beginning, but you probably have the basics down. There’s always room for improvement though, especially in leading strategic meetings.
So, what does that mean exactly? While you’re probably well-versed with Zoom, the way you conduct a Zoom meeting still matters a lot. Keep reading to find our best tips for how to lead a Zoom meeting.
How to lead an effective Zoom meeting
Keep the information necessary
The longer your Zoom meetings run, the easier it will be for participants to get distracted and lose focus. Some may even do so within the first 10 minutes of the meeting. You’re also likely to spend more time than you planned covering some of the topics during the meeting. This won’t be as big of an issue if you can avoid over-filling the conversation with too many different points.
Focusing on only the necessary information will help you hold your audience’s attention for longer. It will also open up time for greater discussions on the most important material. You don’t want to discourage interaction with your information because you planned too much to cover during the meeting.
When you keep your meeting’s purpose down to brass tacks, you and your participants can be more engaged. The net result will be more time for what matters so that you can get as much value from your Zoom meetings as possible.
Plan an agenda and stick to it
It’s much easier to communicate with your team when everyone is on the same page. Going into a meeting blind as a participant is already jarring, and you definitely shouldn’t enter with the same mindset as the meeting facilitator. That’s why it’s important for your next Zoom meeting to not only come up with an agenda but also share that agenda with your participants.
Having a clear agenda will give you a map to follow so that you’re not spending too much time with one topic and rushing another. It also helps your attendees better understand the purpose of the meeting to meet your expectations. If everyone knows what you would like to accomplish during the gathering, they’ll know what’s required of them to achieve that goal.
The biggest mistake that many Zoom call leaders make is putting their meeting summary on a slide at the beginning and not showing it again. You took the time to create an agenda for yourself, so make the document available to all of your attendees well before the meeting begins. Doing so will make it much easier for you to get everyone on the same page going in.
Encourage audience participation
It’s difficult for many people to sit still and listen to one person talk for 30 minutes to an hour. If you have a long Zoom meeting to lead and you want people to stay engaged throughout its duration, encouraging audience participation will be important.
Giving others a chance to ask questions and supplement your points with their perspective brings variety to the meeting, which makes it easier for people to focus for longer. It also encourages them to engage with the information, which helps them better retain it.
Allowing for more participation will also give everyone the opportunity to have their voice heard. That way, they feel like they’re active participants in what you’re working on instead of being lectured to.
Of course, encouraging audience participation may not always be an option—especially if you need to get through your meeting as quickly as possible. It may also not go as planned, as not all participants will hop willingly into the conversation. Planning for it and facilitating it, though, is better than the opposite.
Establish Zoom etiquette upfront
Everyone runs their Zoom meetings differently. This can make it difficult for participants to understand what’s expected of them throughout the call if you’re not clear about establishing etiquette rules upfront. For example, some team leaders may allow anyone to chime in throughout the call, yet that may not be something you want. Establishing these ground rules upfront will save you a lot of hassle during the call.
This could be as simple as a gentle reminder to keep cameras on and the mic muted when others are talking. There may be a dress code for the meeting that you want to send out beforehand. If your team has a history of digressing into unimportant topics, you may remind them to be respectful of everyone’s time.
Establishing etiquette isn’t just about telling them, though. If you want to be sure there are no unnecessary interruptions, you can fiddle with the settings of the Zoom meeting, too. This could be setting mics to mute when someone joins the meeting or ensuring the meeting is private.
Have someone take notes
Not everyone that you want to attend your next Zoom call may be able to make it. There may also be other employees at the office who would benefit from knowing what was covered during a Zoom call but who don’t necessarily have to be there for it themselves.
Ensuring knowledge transfer among your employees who aren’t able to participate is why taking notes during a professional Zoom call is always a good idea. That being said, you won’t be able to do this yourself and lead the meeting effectively at the same time.
Instead, consider nominating someone before the meeting to take notes for you. They may do this on a shared document or spreadsheet. You can also elect a co-host on Zoom if technical problems come up, as they’ll be able to take care of them for you. Any way that you can reduce interruptions from your meeting is a good decision.
Create engaging visuals
Visuals are another tool that you can experiment with to take your Zoom calls to the next level. Like encouraging audience participation, this is another tactic you can use to get people to engage more with your presentation.
We’re all familiar with using a slideshow as a visual during the meeting. You can build slides that reference the main points you want to make throughout the call and bring interesting visual elements to each of them. Make sure to match the slideshow to the tone of the meeting, but don’t be scared to have some fun with them. The participants will appreciate the creativity.
You can also build graphs, charts, and infographics that help you visually illustrate more nuanced points. You want your participants to understand and engage with your data, and these graphics can be a reference point for them to make actionable decisions later.
In Zoom meetings, we’re all familiar with sharing our screens. However, more often than not, try to restrict this to one tab at a time. Continuous screen share can cause dips in the meeting performance, and you might accidentally show information you weren’t planning to.
How a teleprompter app can help you lead a Zoom meeting
Virtual teleprompter apps are another tool that you can use to lead more effective Zoom meetings. They can support you while you lead your calls in each of the following ways.
Follow the agenda to the letter
First of all, it’s extremely easy to get lost when leading a Zoom call. You have to focus on the content you’re covering, make sure no one is experiencing technical difficulties, and work on keeping all participants engaged. That’s a lot to think about.
With a virtual teleprompter app, it’s much easier to stay on topic throughout the call—regardless of how long it’s planned to last.
Your teleprompter app will tell you exactly what you need to say next every time that you look at it. This can help you significantly reduce the amount of time that gets wasted during the Zoom meeting so that every meeting you lead feels more tactical and purposeful.
Focus on eye contact and body language
Eye contact plays an essential role in communication. There’s also research suggesting as much as 93% of communication is nonverbal. This shows why it’s not just important to focus on what you say during a Zoom call. It’s also essential to think about how you’re saying it.
However, it’s very challenging to think about things like eye contact and body language when you have so many other responsibilities to juggle while leading the meeting. This is where virtual teleprompters come in.
You can place your virtual teleprompter app anywhere on your screen. That makes it possible to read from the teleprompter near your camera while still making eye contact with your participants. Also, without having to memorize all your talking points, you have a lot more freedom to pay attention to your body language as you speak.
Gauge audience reactions with transparency controls
One alternative to a teleprompter app is simply reading from a prepared document, but reading from a page of written notes is very obvious to everyone on the call. Plus, you won’t get to enjoy the benefits of reading the reactions of the audience when you’re looking down at your notes.
Transparency controls allow you to gauge how your audience is feeling about the meeting and what you’re saying constantly. They let you read from your teleprompter without appearing to do so, as well. By changing how transparent your teleprompter is, you can lead the meeting with more insight and adaptability based on how the meeting is going.
VODIUM is the tool you need for leading Zoom meetings
Leading a Zoom meeting is all about being prepared and leveraging the right tools to achieve your goals. Now that you see the value of using a virtual teleprompter for your Zoom meetings, you might be looking for one that works well for your business.
VODIUM can help with that. VODIUM is a virtual teleprompter geared for the virtual workforce. Our teleprompter is fully customizable, including text display and transparency controls. Also, it integrates seamlessly with Zoom and other videoconferencing software.
But don’t take our word for it. Try a free trial of VODIUM today to see how helpful it can be for your next Zoom meeting!