For the last decade, the number of virtual meetings has significantly increased. From an occasional videocall with a client to an event with numerous representatives from a company with offices in different locations, one thing is clear: remote encounters are the order of the day.
This increment has been fostered for various reasons, and each of these have a weight upon the company that cannot be overlooked. The most important are:
Great mobility and telework
The way of carrying out professional tasks has drastically changed for decades, but the top of the iceberg of this change just became noticeable. Offices are not physical spaces shut between four walls anymore: working from home, or from any other place with internet connection, is a rising trend. And, without a doubt, teleworkers are defining the present of virtual meetings.
Market globalization and outsourcing are two other factors that impact the growth of remote events. Each day, more and more companies decide to rely on delegations located in different countries, and the managers’ time is money, so: no more long trips to attend a meeting. What would had previously required hours or even days, now can be resolved in a few minutes.
We live in a situation marked by the necessity of reducing costs. Companies look for a way to stretch its budget and reduce costs in every corporative area, and event planification is not an exception.
A conference room is enough to carry out a meeting or an online conference. Virtual platforms eliminate travel and lodging expenses, as well as the necessity of space rental, catering and other services.
The power of immediacy
The success of most of today’s businesses is determined by the “here and now”. The answers are needed in the moment, and the decisions should be taken in a few minutes.
In this sense, virtual meetings optimize the use of our time. As there is not a need for displacement, it is easier to find a common ground and delimit schedules, so the hours spent are as efficient as possible.
5 best practices for virtual meetings
The aforementioned aspects are essential when going for remote meetings, and they are already plenty known by a huge number of organizations. However, we should not forget that, as most daily corporative activities, they need some preparation.
In fact, there are still a lot of professionals that consider that a meeting of these characteristics is not as effective as a presential ones. This is clearly reflected on the results of a series of surveys carried out by several organizations. These surveys also showcased that the different reasons why virtual events don’t produce the good results they are expected to are the following:
- People are easily distracted by other matters, such as, email, instant messaging or social media.
- The beginning of the meeting is often delayed.
- There is a low participation and interaction between members.
- Sometimes it cannot be known who is in the meeting or who is talking in certain moment.
- The length of online meetings can be too extended, thus affecting the level of concentration of the assistants.
For that, it is key to follow these 5 tips to achieve a successful online meeting for the attendants to exploit its great potential:
1. Send reminders
To avoid delays and make sure that all the participants log in on time, it is advisable to send notifications to announce the meeting and inform of the time schedule in advance. Sending a reminder one hour before the meeting is also a good idea.
2. Share the content of the presentation in advance
It does not make much sense for the assistant of an online videocall, a webinar or an online conference to spend their time watching long presentations, as this prevents the participants from intervening and increments the risk of losing the interest on the event.
It is a good idea to share the presentation in advance, giving the participants the chance of knowing the content and preparing questions. This way, the interchange of information would be smoother, the attendees would intervene to ask their doubts, and the virtual meeting would be shorter and more efficient.
3. Maintain the attendees’ attention
To make the most out of a virtual meeting, it should become an innovative and immersive experience.
The objective is to prevent the attendee from getting distracted, and for that, it is advisable to count with technological platforms that offer innovative alternatives that assure the attention of the participants during the whole session.
4. Real-time interaction
Virtual technology allows a close interaction between participants of an online meeting. This can be achieved thanks to VoIP technology, and video and chat applications, which make it possible for the assistants to present their doubts and have them solved in real time.
Furthermore, there exist some interesting alternatives, such as the one offered by Virtway, that offer the possibility of using interactive 3D avatars that mimic each of the participants of the event. These unusual participants can maintain very natural conversations in these online videoconferences thanks to the use of voice over IP.
5. Online meetings require preparation
In order to know who is in the meeting and which assistant is talking at any given time, it is essential to plan the act. It is common sense: if we want something to turn out well, we have to put all our attention on it before, during and after its realization.
In this sense, we should prepare an agenda -strictly timed, if necessary- that we will share in advance and in which we would detailly present certain fundamental aspects, such as the roles of the assistants, their personal data or the way they will interact with each other. It can also include some basic rules such as the fact that each interlocutor should indicate their name before intervening, for example.
With an adequate planning strategy, virtual meetings become the best way of promoting teamworking and the collaboration between people, even if they are separated by long distances.
To make the most out of this kind of events, just keep these 5 aspects in mind and understand that an event can -and must- go beyond everything we knew until now. There are no limits, but the ones we put ourselves.