With the increasing mobility of today’s work force, E-meetings are becoming an integral part of every businesses’ operations, the recent pandemic has made many to work from home, this has increased the need for E-meetings. Smartphones and laptops mean that employees can work virtually from any location with an internet connection.
Also, the expansion of companies into different regions around the world means that virtual communication is key to continued success. E-meetings, of course, present its own unique set of challenges. Fortunately, with a few simple adjustments to typical procedures and the proper technology, it’s easy to maintain efficiency when conducting meetings online.
These 7 problems and simple changes can make a huge difference in the outcome of an E-meetings
1. The environment
Attention spans shrinks fast these days according to recent research, lengthy virtual communications can pose a challenge even to the most focused employee.
One way to combat distractions during online meetings is to transform the office environment. Constructing a more dynamic, group-oriented office environment with the proper technology can help to refocus group attention.
2. dispense relevant information
Organization can mean the difference between a successful and productive meeting and a complete waste of time (both in-person and online).
File-sharing software enables groups to share and view documents with each other simultaneously. At least 24 hours ahead of time, a pre-planned agenda can be easily shared with every participant to ensure that everyone is on the same page and focused on a unified goal. Any documents that will be relevant to the group discussion points should be collected and shared with each participant for their review before the start of the meeting.
3. Technology to support the group’s needs
Conducting an efficient discussion among team members living in different cities requires proper technology. Travel costs can be drastically reduced with the effective use of telecommunication technology. Unfortunately, too many virtual conferences are interrupted because of poor network connections or unreliable video or audio tools. Valuable time and energy can be wasted in these circumstances, hurting the bottom line.
Procuring the right equipment and knowing how to properly use it will make a huge difference. Audio tools, the speakers and microphones, should transmit clear and consistent sound without picking up excess background noise. Still, audio is not enough. Without the video component, online meetings can be difficult to follow. Problems develop as people lose track of who is speaking and to whom they are addressing. Often, questions become redundant as they are continuously repeated for clarification and the group’s focus may dwindle. Both audio and visual components of telecommunication are important for the successful transfer of ideas.
4. Too many meetings
Yes, it’s true: Almost everyone agrees they spend too much time in meetings, even when they’re virtual. This is an especially pressing problem for people working in fields that thrive on high energy, motivation, and team commitment, such as sales teams and tech start-ups. The sustained bonding and excitement these teams need is tough to generate and sustain virtually.
Take care of housekeeping matters before the virtual meeting; don’t burn group time on dull details. Create supercharged agendas, circulate them before the meeting, and stick to them. Create a visual companion to the agenda, and use document sharing so everyone can see it and follow along. Take breaks when needed, but charge through point by point with only agenda items that demand all participants.
5. No body language means less emotion for memory building
When we speak and meet people face-to-face, we get most of our information about what they’re thinking or how they’re reacting from body language and facial expressions.
Body language also helps the brain remember these interactions by attaching emotion to them. In a virtual setting, we get far less information, and we, therefore, generate a lot less emotion we can use to decode the intent of others and solidify memories. The end result is that we don’t remember as much from virtual meetings. Encourage small talk at appropriate times; research indicates that small talk creates lasting business connections and even makes us smarter.
6. Background noise from multiple participants
Too many virtual meetings are derailed by the background noise from each participant. We’ve all been the victim of someone’s crunchy lunch, inappropriate ringtone, or the telecommuter’s overly excitable dog.
Make sure everyone knows to mute their lines if there is distracting noise in the background, but to continue to participate with text and reaction icons, and to keep their video feed on.
7. Unclear expectations and points
There are four primary types of learners:
- Auditory – those who need to hear information
- Kinesthetic – hands-on learners
- Reading/writing – absorb information by reading and writing it
- Visual – those who need to see information
In a face-to-face meeting, you have a better shot at getting your point across to more learners. But in the average virtual meeting, you may end up missing the mark for everyone but auditory learners.
Use document sharing tools to make visual aids part of the meeting to capture visual learners. Create bullet point notes for reading and writing learners and share them in the same way. Help auditory learners more by asking them to comment on points so they can recite what they’re hearing. And if you have some kinesthetic learners in your midst, consider “how to” segments when they fit the bill.
Virtual meetings are essential to the bottom line and to building the most talented, creative teams. However, just because virtual meetings are now key to the way we do business doesn’t mean we should accept their problematic points. Avoid these problems with virtual meetings by implementing smart solutions so you can lead more meaningful and productive virtual meetings for your teams.