Now more than ever, virtual meetings have become the new norm. There is simply no denying this.
For many participants, those online sessions are an indispensable way to work remotely or connect with colleagues in other offices.
And virtual meetings can be much more convenient than face-to-face gatherings: You know exactly when and where your virtual meeting will take place; you don’t need to fight for a conference room; neither worry about food or who’s paying the bill.
But there is still some important etiquette involved in setting up a successful virtual meeting – from preparation through wrap-up. Here’s our best tips on how to make sure that your virtual meeting doesn’t go awry…
Choose the perfect virtual meeting software for your needs
To run a smooth virtual meeting, you will want to choose the right technology solution, one that is reliable, with high-quality video or audio, one that is accessible to participants connecting from around the world etc.
Several tools like Zoom or Skype exist for hosting a virtual meeting and they all have their pros and cons. Read this to pick the software that is best for you…
Zoom is a virtual meeting tool that’s optimized for both desktop and mobile. This software offers HD video conferencing and is compatible with more than 200 devices including Macs, PCs and mobile phones.
Zoom Meeting is free to use for attendance lower than 100 attendees and 40 minutes limit, so you don’t have to worry about its cost.
With an upgraded version, you could even go up to 1,000 participants in an online virtual meeting!
Amazon Chime virtual meeting software is designed for small businesses and enables you to connect with coworkers, share documents and screens.
You can easily integrate Amazon Chime with other tools such as Slack and Jira to enhance your virtual meetings experience.
With an upgraded version like Amazon WorkSpaces, you can even use virtual meetings to collaborate on video production, virtual meeting webinars and more.
With Join.me virtual meeting tool, you can access virtual meetings from your desktop and mobile devices making it easy for everyone involved – regardless of their location – to participate.
You’ll also have the option of adding virtual meeting recording to let participants watch virtual meeting replays.
Skype virtual meetings is one of the oldest video conferencing tools but it still remains one of the virtual meetings leaders.
Skype virtual meetings offer HD video calling, screen sharing and so much more for your virtual meetings needs! From recorded meeting replays to support for roaming, shared connections and others, many features are part of their latest version.
Microsoft Teams is a virtual meeting tool that lets you connect with coworkers and clients, share virtual meeting content, schedule virtual meetings and more.
You can integrate many tools such as Microsoft Flow, Power BI or SharePoint alongside Microsoft virtual meetings to enhance the overall virtual meetings experience.
Google Hangouts is an online meeting tool that enables you to connect with your peers via video conferencing from their desktop or mobile devices.
This virtual meeting software could be ideal if you want to have virtual meetings in a simple manner but it does not offer the same level of features as other platforms…
GoToMeeting is a video conferencing tool that provides effective and similar functions like HD video calling, screen sharing and other communication features while being quite secure.
Note that there is no free version for this one.
FaceTime allows you to connect in a free way with anyone on their iPhone, iPad and Mac via virtual meetings.
You can also share your Apple device screen as well but this technology is usually more suited for video calls with peers or close ones as this is necessary to have their phone number.
WebEx online meeting tool is a platform that offers web virtual meetings.
It is available on desktop, virtual laptops, and mobile devices so you can enjoy virtual meetings anywhere. You can also host presentations with this software and record virtual meetings to share the highlights later on!
ClickMeeting is a virtual meetings solution for small to middle size companies offering great personalization and recording functionalities.
It allows you to collaborate online from your computer and mobile devices, do online fast surveys, quizzes and so on.
It is ideal for interacting with the participants or to organize animated conferences!
Secure your video conferencing meeting
Once you decide on your ideal web meeting technology, the next step to make your virtual meeting successful is to ensure that it is secure.
If your meeting contains sensitive information, you should be opting for encrypted meeting software or simply paying attention that your settings are safe.
Add the option to require an access code to enter the virtual room and to accept any incoming attendees, so that no stranger pops their head in while you talk!
Create an online meeting agenda
If you want to run an online meeting efficiently, make sure you create an agenda.
This agenda will serve as the roadmap for your virtual meeting and can help you stay on track. Define the topics, questions and discussion points in advance to prevent the talks from getting sidetracked.
Send virtual meeting invites with anticipation
Once your agenda is ready, you can start sending your video call’s invites. Make sure to send them early enough so that your recipients have time to prepare and to research on the topic if needed.
You should make them aware of the virtual meeting length: a one-hour meeting may sound short but it will seem long if it’s online!
In your invites, also include the correct video conference link to join, the schedule and a list of the points that will be seen.
Proof read your email and re-check the participants’ list before sending!
Prepare for your virtual meeting
Typically, in any in-person or virtual meetings, it’s always worth demonstrating you know your thing and you prepared yourself.
A little planning can go a long way, so make sure you have some notes ready. And the same is true of almost everything – one gets what he puts in.
Check your micro, video and audio devices
You are the host of this meeting, so obviously, your participation will be heard and seen with wide attention – at least that’s what we are aiming for! 😉
Before the start, do a quick test of your technology. Double check that everything is fine with your audio and video devices: microphones, webcams and speakers as well as video conferencing platform you are using and your internet connection.
Join the virtual room a bit earlier
We see you frowning here, busy bee… We know you have a looot to do, but being punctual is always a good habit – and not only for online meetings!
As a host, try to join 5 minutes before the start of the meeting. That way, you will have time to prepare and to reconnect if there are any issues.
Pro tip to be on time: Schedule a meeting reminder 10 minutes before!
Be sure to use your video
It is always a great idea that the person conducting the meeting keeps its camera on.
Why? Because it gives the attendees the opportunity to see you and interact with eye contact while working long-distance.
It transparently shows that you want them there, and will help your audience to stay focused on your speech!
Start the meeting the right way
Because multiple people might not have attended web meetings before yours, starting with a short introduction will help them figure out the meeting tools used and the way it is usually handled.
Start the right way by telling your audience about who will be presenting, what are the topics of today’s conference and the time limit. Also precise details about the settings of the software you are using – cameras on or off, attendees on mute or unmute, available chat for questions etc.
Make everyone at ease and let them know that if anyone is having any problems or questions during the meeting, they can just ask for help in the chat!
Pro tip: If the attendees don’t know each other yet, take a minute to let all of the team members introduce themselves or use one of our fun virtual icebreakers we listed in a previous blog post!
You are now ready to kick things off! Let’s continue.
Engage the virtual meeting attendees
You are 10 minutes in and already feel the connected crowd’s attention going down… No worries, that’s natural. It’s just hard to remain focused on a screen!
Now that you know this might happen, you can anticipate this by stimulating the participants, keeping them engaged, and inciting them to take part in the meeting.
To do that, good practices can be to ask them regular questions, include fun icebreakers, make a few surveys, use visual and/or animated content, take a picture of the participants during the meeting, let other people take part of the presentation to have a change of rhythm etc.
Use different type of content to illustrate your point
Presenting a meeting is all about using the right tools to make your point. Apply this principle by sharing diverse content such as:
- Have a visual presentation: Prepare a visual presentation that you can share while you talk. This way, participants can be ready to learn and follow along!
- Use visual content: Use images or infographics to illustrate your idea. This will help presenting new ideas by explaining them in simple ways!
- Use bullet point: Instead of enumerating your points through long texts, make a list. It will give a better overview to the audience and be an easier read for them!
- Use Gifs: Explain your argument in a fun way by using famous gifs!
- Use video content: In content, video is king. Use nice and short videos if you can to help you conduct the meeting in an original and entertaining way!
Real-time virtual meeting management
Simply see yourself as a flight attendant. As a host, your goal is to deliver a message while making sure your connected remote team is having a good “flight”.
Here is a virtual meeting etiquette you can keep in mind to ensure a nice trip:
- Introduce the team members
- Make everyone at ease to take part in the discussion and bring something to the conversation
- Remind everyone to stay quiet while others talk or to mute their microphone. If required, mute the microphone of people who are talking too much to avoid background noise.
- For a large audience, know that you can automatically mute every participant and unmute them if needed.
- Listen attentively to any speakers in case a question comes up
- Avoid looking at your phone or your emails while other talks
- Make sure there are no distractions whatsoever
Customize your meetings with a fun twist
Customizing virtual meetings will give a more personal touch and make the employees feel like they are in actual in-person meetings with you!
Here are some tips that we have tested ourselves:
- Set an office picture as the wallpaper background
- Add some related company or business icebreakers
- Choose a specific theme to your call
- Pick a customized virtual animation such as a virtual tour or virtual game to further engage your employees
Don’t forget to send a meeting follow-up
When the calls are over… They are not! Yep, don’t hit the red cross just now, as one of the main tips is coming in.
After hosting a meeting, you should definitely thank the participants who were attending, share a simple recap and summarize the points discussed together.
Make it short and sweet and don’t forget to include useful links, video recording or attachments for future reference. This will help the employees to follow up and easily refer back to the topics discussed.
Don’t forget to send this information right away or as soon as possible after the call.
Pro tip: You could always ask for feedback from the team to see how you could improve your meeting’s setting or content.
Virtual meetings: The FAQ
What is a virtual meeting?
A virtual meeting is a digital meeting in which you use one or several types of virtual collaboration tools to connect with others and enjoy a conversation.
What are the benefits of virtual meetings?
Online meetings present many benefits you won’t be able to resist such as the fact that you can work from the comfort of your home while connecting with your team.
For international companies, you will have the opportunity to meet with employees from around the world and look at them through their webcam without having to travel!
Another benefit is the fact that you can share content, record a video call to share later on and add integrated tools to enhance collaboration.
They can easily be organized with a free tool and are then a very cost-effective way to lift up barriers and connect in real time with people from the entire world.
How does a virtual meeting work?
A virtual meeting works pretty easily. You just need to find the right tool that suits your needs and creates the best atmosphere for the call. Once it’s done, send the invites with the link to join the call.
Once you are in, follow the virtual meeting etiquette above and note that you can share content, documents or the common chat if needed.
What is the purpose of a virtual meeting?
The virtual meeting can have many purposes but the main one is to connect remotely with people from around the world.
It will allow you to discuss and share ideas in a more efficient way.
You are now all set up to organize your own successful virtual meeting with a great attention from your audience from beginning to end.
Remember that every crowd, platform, context are different. You might have to adapt those tips to your own remote team, clients or peers and to your business, but this will give you a great guide to start off on the right foot!
And if you wish to take your call to the next level, contact us to give a Parisian touch to your virtual meeting and to transform it into the event of the year!