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Team VODIUMMay 29, 2023 8:00:00 PM6 min read

How To Lead Virtual Meetings: Meeting Skills for The Remote Age

Face-to-face meetings give presenters the luxury of reading body language whether it’s a raised eyebrow, a puzzled look, or an arm crossed over the chest. However, interpreting how your meeting participants are feeling can be even more of a challenge in a virtual setting!

In response to the world’s transition to remote work environments, speakers need to master the necessary skills to lead virtual meetings. In this article, let’s take a look at the best practices that market leaders can take to make their next meeting more meaningful and engaging. 

Before the meeting: Preparation

Define the meeting agenda and set clear goals

Virtual meetings can be challenging because of potential communication barriers, such as technical issues, distractions, and a lack of visual cues. Therefore, defining an agenda provides structure and direction for the meeting and ensures that everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them. 

Not only does aiming to write an agenda for your meeting help to reduce confusion and misunderstanding but it also helps to keep the meeting on track and prevent it from veering off into unrelated topics or getting derailed by tangents.

So before your next meeting, ask yourself

  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • What outcome(s) am I looking for?
  • Who are the relevant participants required to achieve this outcome? 
  • What information can I provide to achieve said goals?

Answering these questions can help presenters gain clarity, structure their thoughts, and prepare a well-defined agenda so they can lead meetings in a non-haphazard way. 

Run a quick technology check 

The microphone stops working, the internet connection gets disconnected, and the camera starts stuttering—we’ve all been there. Technical issues such as these can cause delays, reduce productivity, and decrease the overall quality of the meeting. 

Technological disruptions not only waste valuable business time, but they can also make presenters look unprofessional—and that’s something you don’t want your team or your prospects to feel about you. So how can organizers ensure that their next meeting is glitch-free?

The organizers of a meeting should test the technology in advance and ensure that it is working correctly. This includes testing the internet connection, audio and video equipment, screen-sharing capabilities, and any other relevant software or hardware. If there are any technical issues, these could be identified well ahead of time and resolved before the meeting. 

During the meeting: Staying on track

Set the stage for collaboration

One of the most important aspects of opening a meeting is to establish an environment that’s open to collaboration. If presenters constantly find their audience just passively listening to their speech with little to no reaction and minimal input, then this is a sign that they’re doing something wrong. 

An excellent way to break the ice from the get-go is by taking the first few minutes of the meeting for brief introductions. Organizers could say, “Let’s do a brief introduction. Can everyone please share their name and role?” and then pass the microphone to the next person or could say, “Hello everyone! How has this past week been?” for a more casual approach. 

A pro tip is to encourage questions and discussion. Setting up an inclusive atmosphere where everyone has an equal opportunity to voice their opinions and be heard helps ensure that everyone involved feels valued and respected. Hosts can take advantage of features in video conferencing software such as breakout rooms, chats, and polling options. Promoting active participation can lead to creative solutions, better decision-making, and improved outcomes. 

Maintain the human element

Virtual meetings can often feel impersonal, and participants can feel disconnected from each other, resulting in reduced engagement and productivity. Adding a human touch to virtual meetings can go a long way and help build trust, establish rapport, and narrow the distance between the host and the audience. 

Eye contact is one of the best ways to make a personal connection with the participants of a meeting. This non-verbal method of communication has been proven to create attraction, and with attraction, you can hold someone’s attention— which can be leveraged to build trust and rapport. 

However, remote meetings make it difficult to maintain eye contact because of the lack of physical proximity. Hosts often make the mistake of looking at the image instead of directly at the camera or constantly switching their gaze between the screen and their notes which can be off-putting for participants.

Harnessing the power of a virtual teleprompter tool like VODIUM can help hosts kiss those problems goodbye. This tool, which is compatible with macOS 10.14 and Windows 8.1 or newer, takes a pre-loaded script that sits as an overlay atop the video window of video conferencing software. Instead of going through the hassle of memorizing long speeches, speakers can divert their full attention to other important areas such as delivery, tone, and pacing. 

Speaking of pacing, presenters can also set the notes to automatically scroll as they speak. Speakers can control the scroll speed so that their notes perfectly sync with their presentation. It doesn’t stop there—the built-in transparency tool of the teleprompter application allows hosts to place the notes right below the camera. Not only will they be able to see both their notes and the audience at the same time, but they’ll also be able to have fixed eye contact—that’s the human element right there!

Stick to a structure (and refer back to orient participants) 

A clear and organized structure helps to keep the meeting focused, efficient, and productive. When a meeting lacks structure, it can be challenging to manage time effectively, leading to important topics being overlooked or insufficiently addressed.

What’s more, when meetings lack structure, participants can become disengaged or distracted, reducing the effectiveness of the meeting. It’s advisable to stick to a few. related topics which can be explored in depth during the meeting rather than cramming 20 different unconnected topics in 30 minutes.

A great way to stick to the structure is to use visual aids or presentation slides to help guide the discussion and keep participants engaged. Speakers should also ensure that topics and subtopics don’t exceed the allocated time for discussion. That being said, the meeting topics don't have to be completely set in stone. The organizer can be open to new ideas or suggestions that arise during the meeting, and adjust the agenda if necessary to ensure that all important topics are addressed. A balance between flexibility and structure is key. 

After the meeting: The follow-up 

Offer a recap and outline the next steps

A clear recap helps to reinforce key points and decisions made during the meeting, ensuring that participants are aligned on the next steps. Outlining the next steps lets participants know what is expected of them, and helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

To put this into practice, the organizer of the meeting should provide a summary of the key points discussed during the meeting and any decisions that were made. The summary should be sent to all participants as soon as possible after the meeting, while the discussion is still fresh in everyone's mind. 

The summary should be concise and highlight any action items or follow-up tasks. The organizer can also set deadlines for any action items or follow-up tasks, to ensure that they are completed promptly.

Lead virtual meetings with confidence with the teleprompter overlay from VODIUM

Virtual meetings are here to stay. Leading a face-to-face meeting is hard, but doing the same in a remote setting is a skill of its own. It’s necessary to hone these skills to make your virtual meetings efficient, engaging, and effective. 

Investing in a top-notch teleprompter app like VODIUM can help organizers lead virtual meetings with confidence. Come by our website to start your free trial of VODIUM today!