In the post-COVID-19 era, modern business employees are demanding to work remotely. This demand is because remote work allows workers to work from anywhere worldwide. In other words, no matter their location, they can connect to the organization and work productively.
Hence, with the looming pandemic crises in the coming years, it is best to jump onto the remote meetings bandwagon.
Some of you already have an idea of the meaning of remote meetings. Nonetheless, for clarity purposes, here is its meaning:
A remote meeting is a session between individuals located in different locations and using web conferencing tools to connect.
The other name for remote meetings is a virtual meeting. Virtual means there will be no face-to-face discussions, nor will the attendees be physically present.
These meetings are applicable for remote sessions and hybrid work discussions. One can use web-conferencing applications and video or audio calls to communicate with each other.
Remember, these remote meetings are also helpful with customers, business partners, or clients located worldwide.
Weekly or Daily Standup Meetings
Duration: 15-30 minutes
Daily or weekly standup meetings are essential in ensuring everyone is on board with achieving the team's objective(s). They also act as a check-in to share the progress, setbacks, or updates on the progress of the goals.
Monthly or Quarterly Remote Sessions
Duration: 45-60 minutes
These types of meetings are great for checking the progress of long-term goals.
It is therefore advisable to create one ahead of the scheduled time. Allocate 5-10 minutes to each stakeholder as they update the other team members on their progress towards the team's objective(s).
Remember also to leave a minimum of 15 minutes before the discussion ends. This time allows for questions and confirmation on the initiatives and goals during the time between the next meeting.
Virtual Brainstorming Session
Duration: 15-30 minutes
As the name suggests, these meetings help collect quick ideas from the attendees. That's why it is essential to intentionally make the meeting less than 30 minutes.
Here, encourage the participants to air all their ideas within the given period while jotting them down in an accessible view area. Later, you can eliminate any ideas that seem unviable momentarily from the list.
Duration: 30-45 minutes
Hybrid meetings are discussions attended by both remote workers and in-person participants. It aims to synchronize the overall objectives of the organization.
It is best to send the meeting agenda ahead of time to prepare the attendees on what to expect. Doing so ensures that the members fully utilize the meeting period due to prior preparations.
Hackathon/ Office Hours/ Productive Work Discussion
Duration: 1-2 hours
Hackathons provide team members with time to collaborate on a project. That's why it takes longer as teammates to offer resources or teach others how to use them.
In this type of discussion, it is best to establish the meeting agenda, keep track of work progress using spreadsheets, and encourage web-conferencing gadgets for those attending remotely.
Utilize such meetings when offering expertise and skills to the attendees, especially if they are new team members. Also, you can set them to occur weekly or bi-weekly for workers who need help or want to brainstorm ideas.
As the saying goes: "Failing to plan is planning to fail" The same applies to adequate preparation before the meeting. Here are tips that go together with this section:
Settle on a Remote Meeting Software to Use
In the post-COVID-19 era, there is a plethora of remote meeting software to use, both for free users and paying subscribers. The software is for helping remote attendees to participate effectively and efficiently despite their remote location. They also foster collaboration as people can share their opinions, comments, questions, and suggestions with their colleagues.
Before settling on a remote meeting software, it is advisable to do a test run with it. The test run allows users to adapt and understand the software's benefits and shortcomings. It also helps the implementor access its viability and effectiveness in relaying what the facilitator intends to share.
Schedule the Remote Meeting
Remember, any meeting will invariably disrupt the normal cycle of work, even if they are there to positively impact the team members' goals. They tend to cause workers to refocus every time they break the norm to attend sessions. Hence, sticking to the schedules and communicating them beforehand is best.
For example, you could schedule the remote meetings to run less than an hour at any given time: This is unless there are scheduled discussions happening once every couple of weeks. You could also declare one day a week, like Fridays, to have no meetings.
Moreover, you could end the meetings earlier than scheduled by cutting the fluff from the agendas, then dealing with issues briefly. Use other communication methods like emails to tackle issues that need in-depth coverage.
Remember also to consider the time zones of the remote attendees. Thus, choose a schedule that will not be too oppressive in their worldwide locations.
Create and share the Meeting Agenda
You could share the meeting agenda beforehand to make the session smoother while saving precious time. You might discover that some agendas don't require any form of meeting to handle; they need an individual polishing up or done in smaller groups.
Thus, write up a meeting agenda outlining what it will cover and how long each topic/point will take. Also, determine the number of speakers in the discussions.
Then, send the meeting agenda(s) to the meeting attendees. By sharing the agenda, you will cause the participants to prepare accordingly. Ultimately, you'll make them feel more comfortable as they participate in the remote meeting.
Tell the Meeting Shareholders to Send in their Queries in Advance
Once the recipients of the shared discussion agenda go through the content, they can send in their concerns, questions, or suggestions beforehand. You can also use a questionnaire for the participants to hasten the process.
Doing the above allows the leader to make necessary changes before the session commences. Such an act can save you time while aiding in conducting an effective remote meeting.
Assign a (Relevant) Remote Meeting Moderator
The role of a facilitator is quite simple: making sure the smooth running of the meeting as they allow everyone to participate.
For example, running a hybrid meeting is likely to disrupt, especially during participation time. Disruptions can be in the form of a talk-over between two or more attendees.
Hence, the moderator will keep an eye on the discussion while guiding it to fruition. They also ensure the whole remote meeting setup is working correctly.
Allocate Some Time for Team Members to Catch-up
Catching-up is quite a good practice for fostering collaboration: It helps workers stay connected and viable to their teammates in different areas.
This step also acts as an introduction time for people to acquaint themselves with each other: The result is the building of stronger connections while aiding attendees to feel comfortable as they participate in the remote meeting(s).
State the Virtual Discussion Briefly
Once the catching-up concludes, mention the meeting agenda briefly to the participants. Remind them of the time specified for each point.
Adhere to the Remote Meeting Etiquette
Having an effective remote meeting will require establishing some remote meeting etiquette like:
Logging in before or on time for the session
Advice the attendees not to multi-task during the discussion because it can draw away their attention from the agenda at hand
By sticking to such etiquettes, you can run meetings remotely and effectively.
Toggle Between Video and Screenshare Often
During a video conferencing call, better conversations happen when the attendees can see each other virtually. The enhanced communication is due to observable facial cues that increase the virtual connection while discussing any points.
Encourage all Attendees to Engage
Achieve this step efficiently by selecting invitees that will play a role in the discussions. Thus, they will not feel out of place and become attentive throughout the remote meeting.
Don't stop there. Encourage all attendees to participate in the session. The participation can be in the form of a question-answer session. Additionally, it can be in the form of the employees voicing their opinions on a matter.
Construct a Meeting Summary
Create a summary of the remote meeting once it is over. Doing so will allow for an easy follow-up of the suggestions' implementation. Furthermore, an outline provides referencing material for the shareholders of the meeting to gauge their response to the agenda.
Once you construct a summary, share it with all attendees through email or other sharing apps. Make sure to include information on what steps. Furthermore, indicate the responsibility attached to each derivable.
Send out a Recording to Everyone, including Those Unable to Attend the Meeting
We recommend leaders record the remote meeting because it:
enables those who were unable to attend the meeting to review its agenda at their own time
acts as reference material to similar issues that may arise in future
fosters collaboration as team members confirm the outcome and the action items to conduct in achieving the overall objective of the team
Have a Follow Up Plan for the Action Items
Ensure that the participants adhere to the deadlines mentioned in the remote meeting. Begin these follow-ups so that you can identify the significant issues that might hamper the completion of the discussed items on time.
Moreover, utilize short meetings between the point owners or arrange for a status check via email. In case of a bottleneck, highlight it to your higher management immediately. Then, seek support from them as the circumstances demand.
By getting excellent remote meeting software, you will be on the right path in ensuring workers utilize the sessions while still conserving time and business resources. Here are some of the software that are useful in web-conferencing:
Zoom: Web-Conferencing Platform
Zoom is a cloud-based communication software. It helps conduct chat sessions and remote and virtual conferences. Team members can set up Zoom Rooms to meet privately with a selected team and work.
It has an events management feature that is useful in tracking attendance of the invitees, hosting events, and managing event tickets
Supports mobile device usage by allowing users to move from a chat session into a mobile meeting
Allows conducting of remote meetings on the go with the meeting management solution that has a mobile app for Android and iOS mobile gadgets
Virtual background feature that allows the user to effect a presentable meeting background when working offsite and trying to maintain formality
It facilitates the integration of productivity tools like Slack, Airgram, Asana, and Zendesk, among others
Free version for general users and a paid version
Download the Zoom app/software to your device and install it. You can also access the platform in your browser by visiting the Zoom sign-in page. There, you can host a remote meeting or join one.
Set up a password to secure the meeting so that only invited participants having the password can join in virtually.
Enable waiting rooms to protect meetings further. Waiting rooms are virtual holding area that restricts individuals from joining in until they secure admission from the host.
After everyone joins the meeting, you can lock it up to prevent other people from joining.
Airgram is a Web-conferencing productivity tool that provides synchronous and asynchronous collaboration experiences for people using Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.
Offers a Live Transcription: You can record and live transcribe MS. Teams, Zoom and Google Meet with the speaker detection
Has 8 transcription languages available such as: “Spanish, Japanese, German, Portuguese, Chinese, English, French, and Russian”
It contains a Notes and Action Items section that aids in co-editing minutes and assigning action items with due dates. These notes and action items are sharable by exporting them to Google's Workspace, Notion, and Slack for everyone's collaboration.
It offers Timestamped Notes on top of HD Recording.
AI topic: skim through crucial information using an AI-based entity extraction feature.
Facilitates the creation of remote meeting highlights using the Clips feature
There are three major categories to know when it comes to learning how to use the Airgram software. They include:
Account and workspace
We shall cover each section in the following subheadings.
In the Airgram interface, there is a left sidebar that has numerous options that one can explore. For example, one can:
track scheduled task deadlines
view the meeting minutes
sync all your meetings to your calendar events
Customize your meeting agenda while being able to start a quick note
Use the app to join meetings
Utilize the global search to look for specific words or dates in all your notes
Upon familiarizing yourself with the basic navigation, try starting a meeting using Airgram. You’ll notice that this software has a notepad, recording, and live recording in one place. These features are what make it such an immersive meeting experience.
Moreover, Airgeram software has:
Extracted keywords grouped into categories
A feature to view participation rate as well as listening to specific speaker(s)
Shortcuts to add action items and comments
Video snippets that one can create and share
Workspace and Account
You can always manage your profile while being able to create a workspace for the collaboration of your team.
Manage your account and workspace through the following steps:
Connect the software with other platforms to authorize note-sharing
Record meetings by scheduling the Airgram Assistant to join the discussions automatically
Join other workspaces while being able to add members to your own workspace
Slack is a communication tool for initiating video calls and chat sessions with other teammates, fostering teamwork.
Ability to create a workspace where involved workers can privately work on projects
Allows outside collaboration of users who are not part of their organizations
Facilitates file sharing and chat messaging
Enables one to conduct a meeting with up to 15 attendees
A centralized storage system that can store and retrieve files that are vital to the ongoing project
Can integrate with other productivity tools like Google Drive, cisco, and webinars, among others
Free version that lacks a group video conferencing feature and a paid subscription
First, download the Slack app to your gadgets
Login and access your conversations from the Sidebar on the left-hand side. Once accessing it, you will see a list of your direct messages; channels you are in, options to compose a new message; and notifications for specific conversations.
Use the Channel section to bring together the right people and information into one place, thus, creating work that encompasses a common purpose.
Use the Messaging Field to aid you in connecting and communicating with the team. You can also attach files to your messages to enhance productive discussions.
Utilize the Navigation Bar to go back and forth in your history as you would in a web browser; search for specific information; view recent conversations, or get help with Slack.
For an in-depth look at how to use Slack, you can take their courses here.
Ranee is the Head of Growth of Airgram and has rich experience in the SaaS field. She developed a passion for writing as a young girl and believed the written word could unlock doors as well as the imagination.