While remote work can be a hugely popular and successful strategy to ensure your business’ goals are accomplished, remote meetings can often offer up challenges for those that aren’t used to them. For this week’s tip, we’re offering three ways that you can help make these meetings easier to manage.

1. Assign Responsibilities to Your Team Members

Conferencing technology can sometimes make the interactions that seem so normal in a conference room feel very odd and disorienting. While in-person meetings rely on visual cues to navigate the conversation, the barrier that technology can create often leads to awkward pauses and missed items on the agenda. Many people may not feel as though they have much to contribute and will therefore remain silent. One way that you can help prevent this is by actively assigning talking points to your team members ahead of time. This helps prevent wasted time and encourages people to prepare more thoroughly for the meeting, which can make it more productive as well.

Don’t stop there, either. In addition to giving each participant a talking point to discuss, make sure each person has a job, whether it is note-taking or making sure that the meeting doesn’t run later than planned. This will help those present stay even more engaged in what is being discussed.

2. Limit Meeting Size

Here’s the truth: remote conferencing simply isn’t an effective technology when a large group of people all need to actively discuss something. Not only can the limitations of the technology create lags and the multiple people talking at once that inevitably follows, background noises can easily overpower any conversation that might have taken place.

Remote meetings tend to be most effective with fewer numbers of people, simply because it is easier to regulate whose turn it is to speak next and there is a decreased chance of sound pollution. Furthermore, this fewer number of people helps to make the meeting more engaging for those involved, as they can contribute proportionally more.

3. Disable the Mute Feature

Don’t let people mute themselves while they’re in a meeting. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, it dissuades people from participating fully, which means you may be sacrificing some insights that could prove valuable. Secondly, it gives them the opportunity to not pay attention fully. Think about it—if their mic is muted, what’s stopping them from listening to music instead of your discussion? No, it is much better to keep everyone as active and involved as possible. Of course, you should allow temporary muting so background noise, coughs, and sneezes don’t get broadcasted.

How have you made your remote meetings run more smoothly? Share some of your tried-and-true methods in the comments!

August 19, 2020