What do you do before your virtual team meetings?
Preparing for any meeting is important, especially for virtual meetings via teleconference or netmeetings. It is difficult working in virtual teams as you don’t see your other team members face-to-face very often. So, try not to put yourself at a further disadvantage by forgetting to do a few small things before your meetings. Here are five easy things you can do before your virtual team meetings to help make them more productive.
5 Pre-Meeting To Do’s for Virtual Teams
1. Identify Team Members
List the decision makers, subject experts and opinion leaders before the meeting and identify their possible input and interests in the outcome of the meeting.
- Knowing who to address when
- Knowing who can answer specific technical questions
- Focus information on decision maker’s interests
2. Establish Ground Rules
The team decides on acceptable meeting behavior before the meeting begins and holds each other accountable to the rules; for example no interrupting, poll opinions, always have an agenda, etc…
- Promoting behaviors that will improve group interaction
- No single “enforcer” necessary
- Accountability through reminding
3. Publish an Agenda and Goals
Publishing an agenda should be a “must do” but it doesn’t always happen or it doesn’t happen in time for the participants to prepare. Another important feature of an agenda is a purpose statement or goal. What do you want to achieve with the meeting? What does a good meeting look like? Answering these questions will help you and your participants feel like you’ve accomplished something when the meeting is over.
- Clear direction for the meeting
- Improve preparation of participants
- Way to keep participants focused and on topic
- Feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s over
4. Build Relationships
Take time before the meeting to get to know team members personally. It’s really important to build rapport and commitment to the Virtual Team.
- Learning what others are interested in beyond the work of the meeting
- More information to assist understanding
- Help design metaphors and stories to illustrate key points
- Increase commitment to virtual team
5. Master the technology you will use in the meeting
Understanding your technological tools, what can go wrong and knowing how to fix it in advance of the meeting is crucial. Know what tools are available to your participants and be prepared to trouble shoot with participants. Always have a back-up plan.
- Head off technical problems before they happen
- Save time addressing technical problems during the meeting
- Have input options for participants
You can ensure your virtual team meetings run more smoothly by taking a few minutes and doing the five things above. What else have you done that has worked well? Let us know in the comments area below. Also, if you want to improve your overall participation in virtual teams, you can download our eBook of checklists and check out our seminar on Working Effectively in Virtual Teams by clicking here.