How to make the most out of remote meetings

Updated: May 10

Before a remote meeting

1. Confirm you have a reliable video conferencing tool

A good technical setup is important. Use a fail-safe video conferencing tool such as Microsoft Teams, or Zoom, I use Teams, which has always worked flawlessly for me.

2. Don’t over complicate your slides

If you are going to be sharing slides with your teammates, make the slides as simple as possible. Remember that attending online meetings demands even more attention than an in-person meeting. Avoid content-heavy presentation slides or your online colleagues may easily tune out.

3. Alternate the times of your meetings

If your team is located in different areas of the world, alternate the times of your meetings to accommodate people in different time zones.

4. Assign someone as meeting facilitator

Appoint a facilitator who will drive conversations among the attendees, moderate discussions, and invite people to contribute. In the case of hybrid meetings, have someone from the remote team facilitate the discussion among the people who are online.

5. Gather up questions in advance

Begin to Collect questions via Team a couple of days before the meeting starts. Gathering the questions before the meeting will allow you to crowdsource topics your teammates want to talk about, and allows you to design a more relevant agenda.

6. Collect inputs from teammates who cannot join

Collect ideas from your teammates who are unable to join the meeting so you can take their inputs into account when addressing a certain issue or raise a point on their behalf.

  • Encourage teammates to post their questions in advance via Teams Channel. This will allow you to incorporate their points into the discussion and make them feel included as they watch the recording later.

7. Join the meeting five minutes early

Regardless of whether you’re running the meeting or only attending, don’t waste valuable meeting time troubleshooting or fixing microphone or video issues.

At the start of the meeting

8. Perform a quick tech check

Make sure everybody can see and hear each of the others properly.

  • For example, I like to ask everyone with a quick thumbs up check and only then proceed to the main content.

9. Encourage people to turn on their cameras

As your colleagues join the meeting, kindly request that they turn on their cameras. Make clear that it’s optional, if someone prefers to attend without his or her video turned on, but a remote meeting is made much more personal if people can see each other on the screen.

10. Remember to ask everyone to mute/unmute themselves

Doing so will limit any background noise, advise people to keep their microphones turned off when they’re not talking. However, don’t forget to make them feel free to unmute themselves, raise there hands (an option available in Team) whenever they feel like contributing.

11. Welcome everyone and catch up

Once you’re all set, start with welcoming all your teammates as they join. When possible, say Hi individually and address them by name.

  • In smaller and medium-sized groups, it’s good to start with some quick small talk or a catch-up to lighten the mood.

12. Start with an icebreaker poll

In medium-sized or larger groups where it’s difficult to address with everybody individually, run a fun warm-up poll and encourage your teammates to participate.

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