In part 2 we draw attention to the practicalities of leading remote meetings. Many of these suggestions are applicable to standard in-person meetings and aim to mitigate the popular disillusionment’s often experienced. Part 1 of this blog covered the compassionate and empathetic considerations that leadership should take into account here.
Knowing when to have a meeting is crucial in normal circumstances and an area we previously highlighted here. While these points still hold water, there is slightly more leniency for meetings in the current situation as the value of connection should not be overlooked. Having meetings to lecture staff, in place of a possible e-mail or in place of doing research are not valid reasons to commit significant human resources. Having check-in calls, updating staff, discussion of important matters and solution finding are absolutely valid. It is often helpful to consider the need vs want trade-off for this purpose but also the value to your team and yourself. Below is a handy checklist to go through if you were unsure.
First and foremost, you will need to decide on a platform to hold the meeting over. With the isolation people are currently experiencing, we would suggest video conferencing so that people can see each other. A number of very useful tools such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams are effective for hosting team meetings depending on the size of your meeting. Zoom Video seem to be the industry best for large numbers while smaller groups can meet effectively on each platform. Once you have made a choice, familiarise yourself with it and conduct practice calls. Sand down the rough edges where you can to avoid wasting people’s time.
Ahead of your meeting, send out an agenda, set goals, expectations and rules. People should know what will be expected of them and why they are in it. When that is relayed, it drives focus into solution providing. Some potential outcomes could be:
A good start will always set a tone for a meeting. Start on time and don’t repeat things for those who join late after the first call.
Employees generally dislike sinking significant time into meetings as it disrupts their productivity. Likewise for impact purposes, it is important to keep meetings efficient and professional when discussing agenda items. To assist with this set a duration, establish rules, limit tangents, reduce the speaking time of dominant personalities, keep on topic and stick to your end time. By maintaining efficiency, you assure your staff of it’s productivity and necessity and so your team will come in focussed while also setting the precedent for future meetings.
As mentioned, it is important to stick to your end time. Having an effective ending is not limited to finishing on time but also in the right way. Neither you nor your staff would like to leave the meeting feeling as though you are no clearer on the direction to go. While finishing, it can be useful to reflect on your action items, or as we at Pinnacle term it; “what is being done, when and by who?” Highlighting the agenda items and the solution you have arrived at seems obvious but is often the missing link between having a meeting and creating results. To add to this, there are other effective suggestions from the Harvard Business Journal:
Remote meetings, like any meeting, have practical measures to enact but also some tacit expectations and sensitivities that you, as a leader should exemplify especially now. For those more sensitive matters, our first blog post here highlights the intricate needs for empathetic leadership in meetings.
If you have any comments or questions about remote meetings, please feel free to reach out and let us know. We are hoping to serve you as best we can and any feedback is greatly appreciated.