Communicating effectively in virtual meetings.

Effective communication in virtual meetings is definitely challenging. Zoom fatigue, multi-tasking, hesitancy to engage verbally, even sufficient bandwidth are but a few impediments facing a team lead or meeting host. While I don’t have a solution for sub-standard technical issues (sure wish I did!), this article might help with other aspects of on-line meetings.

The secret to executing an effective virtual meeting lies in preparation, execution, and follow-up. Clear, comprehensive messaging at each phase is necessitous to convey what must be done, by whom, when, and how. Strive to develop content asynchronously, working apart from the group. Reserve virtual meetings to review and approve material or to resolve issues requiring a group discussion.

Preparation consists of three steps. First, notify attendees via email and calendar invitations. In each communique, specify the meeting’s date and time; purpose; and explicit, intended outcomes. Provide the agenda; reference material; etiquette for the virtual environment; and instructions to access the hosting platform. Recommend participants join 15 minutes early, allowing time to resolve IT difficulties.

Execution. To foster a sense of camaraderie, greet participants as they join, advising you will open the meeting by calling role (name and organization), a necessity given lack of tent cards! Foster group dynamics and break that ice. Review the communication tools, then pose a fun question, asking people to respond using one or more of these options. When presenting a slide deck, pause often to allow attendees to assimilate data and ask questions. Engage them frequently. At this phase, the technographer is your best friend, enabling you to focus on substance while that individual monitors and advises you about hands raised and comments or questions attendees post.

Follow-up. Send meeting minutes promptly to retain the momentum and participation of team members. Seek feedback on what went well … and what didn’t. Adjust accordingly.