Virtual teams target training

Virtual Meeting Dos and Donts

Ensure your virtual meetings are productive

Virtual meetings can be tricky at times. Are they more like a telephone call or a face-to-face meeting? Well, they are a combination of both and should be treated differently. Here are some quick and easy “Dos” and “Donts” for virtual meetings.

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Virtual Meeting “Dos”

  • Ensure all stakeholders essential to achieving the meeting’s goals can attend—Otherwise, reschedule it
  • Consider rotating the meeting time to accommodate those participants in different time zones
  • Prepare an agenda that outlines the meeting goals
  • Ensure meeting items/priorities/times align with meeting goals
  • Cancel a regularly scheduled meeting if you feel time could be better spent elsewhere
  • Send a meeting reminder with the agenda, needed materials, and information on the technology to be used at least three days before the meeting
  • Ask team members who are not speaking to put their phones on mute
  • Ensure everyone participates
  • Eliminate distractions—Ask people to turn off all smartphones, and to avoid email and instant messaging during the meeting
  • Side bar and report to make necessary side conversations part of the official function of the meeting
  • Document decisions and next steps


Virtual Meeting “Donts”

  • Hold a meeting if you can’t clearly answer the question “What is the purpose and expected outcome?”
  • Let meetings become “habit”
  • Attempt to cover more than five specific items per meeting
  • Allow side issues, “experts”, or native speakers to dominate the meeting
  • Hold a meeting even if any stakeholders essential to the meeting objectives cannot participate
  • Assume team members are clear about their roles and the meeting objectives
  • Continuously hold “marathon” meetings without any small-group brainstorming or breaks
  • Tackle critical topics at the start of the meeting
  • Let the meeting get off track by discussing the details of an action item that aren’t relevant to the meetings goals
  • Start late

More tips on virtual teams?

These dos and donts are only a small sample of the tips in our latest Ebook: The ultimate book of Virtual Teams checklists. Make sure you download a copy if you’re interested in maximizing your virtual team’s impact. Enjoy the read and… let us know what works for your virtual team!

3 replies
  1. Scott
    Scott says:

    Hi Gerhard,

    From my own experience in leading meetings virtually (and in shadowing others leading meetings virtually), I think a major pain point is keeping peoples attention and preventing people”multi-tasking” . This can be hard in a face-to-face meeting but when you start working virtually the temptation grows. The longer the meeting lasts, the harder it gets … and people, with the best will in the world, start replying to other mails, preparing other documents etc. In a face to face meeting you notice this quickly and can deal with it assertively – in a virtual meeting it can go unnoticed too long.

    With this in mind, planning the agenda around the team’s concentration span is sensible – but perhaps the time frame is limited rather than the number of points on the agenda (some points, after all, can be huge discussions, others easily ticked off). Maybe the team itself decides the max length – and then the number of points on the agenda is flexible depending on their size. Larger meetings could then be split up over the course of a day (or days).

    How do you currently manage this problem in your team?

    • Gerhard
      Gerhard says:

      Hi Matt,
      thanks for your response.
      I mainly take part in information-conferences and there the team itself decides the length of presentation of each item, so that the combined length exactly meets the length of the conference. That can’t be surely said about every conference,especially when the main goal is to discuss given points.

  2. Gerhard
    Gerhard says:

    I read through this with interest.
    What I think is quite hard to do, is to restrict the items of a meeting to five items. In a regular meeting you have to cover all the necessary items, because you can’t postpone some of them to the next meeting.
    BTW: If you enter a text here and type in a wrong number (human-test), your text is lost and you have to begin from the scratch again.

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