Before 2020 virtual meetings were not the norm for the majority of corporations. However, for international corporations, virtual Skype and Zoom calls have been an effective way of communication for decades. Not only does it save travel time and reduce expenses but it can also provide more room for discussion and innovation, as virtual meetings allow the attendance of more participants. Nevertheless, hosting virtual meetings can be difficult and if done wrong can lead to frustration and more follow-up clarification emails. Here are 3 strategies used in multinational companies, so you can run effective meetings like the pros.
1) Send your deck to key presenters/decision-makers 12 hours in advance
Depending on the size and type of the audience, sending your slides in advance can lead to the success of the virtual meeting. Not only does this allow all presenters to prepare better but it can also avoid repetition and provide room for open discussion. Also, the decision-makers can give you advice on which slide you should focus on or what data needs to be added. Additionally, consider if you work with team members that live in different time zones and that the presentation language may not be the participants’ mother tongue. Giving them time to review the material can save the back and forth of emails and phone calls.
2) Use different presentation techniques
Like in a normal face-to-face meeting, you may want to utilize different presentation tools i.e. a presentation board or whiteboard. For virtual meetings remember that as a presenter you are still influencing interaction. If the internet connection is stable invite team members to turn on their webcam and greet them with their name when they enter the call. Just because you are not meeting in person, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a personal interaction before jumping into business.
Make use of the chat box and the availability of pool questions, this is especially great if you have a bigger audience or have shy team members. Remember you can still choose how and when you answer the questions, communicate how you want to deal with interruptions. Also, pay close attention to the participants’ that unmute themselves chances are high that people were not able to make their views heard because someone spoke at the same time. However, consider muting the audience if the agenda requires less interaction and there is an audience over 20 and direct them to the chat box for questions. This way you give more individuals possibilities to be heard without having to interrupt someone to proceed with the agenda.
3. Always ask for understanding
Although, a webcam can provide more face-to-face interaction than a phone call, don’t forget that you can’t see their complete body language. Also, if the internet connection is not stable or the webcam too distracting for the audience, you may want to turn off the camera. Thus, always ask the team either throughout or after the presentation whether any information is unclear. If there are several departments in the call ask the individual departments during the meeting if further explanation is necessary. Chances are high if something is unclear for one team member that it is also unclear for someone else. Go beyond asking “Is everything clear?” otherwise you will end up with one person answering “Yes.” for the whole team or you receive a silent answer “No, everything is clear.”. Lastly but most importantly, always summarize the key points of the presentation and re-confirm the next steps.