COVID-19 has forced more people to work from home than ever before. According to an article by Forbes, an early-April 2020 MIT survey of 25,000 American workers found that 34% of workers have begun working from home in the past four weeks and roughly 15% of workers worked from home pre-COVID-19. That means close to 50% of workers are working from home, and are adjusting to a new remote working space.
One of the consequences of working from home means that all meetings are now remote. According to Microsoft, a new daily record of 2.7 billion remote meeting minutes in one day was recorded; with a 200 percent increase from 900 million remote meeting minutes on March 16. With so many remote meetings occurring, we laid out tips and tricks to help you hold the most effective meetings possible.
We get it. Kids are home, spouses are working from home, and finding a secluded working environment is difficult. You want to minimize distractions by finding a room with great wifi, clean background, and secluded from others. While we have compassion that not everyone can hide away in a completely secluded and quiet environment, best practices for remote meetings is to keep a quiet environment during the meeting.
That pan of uncooked brownies can wait - do not do anything in a remote meeting that you would not do in an in-person meeting. This means dress appropriately, use appropriate language, and do not multi-task during the meeting.
Practice the remote meeting software beforehand
Practice, practice, practice. There is an abundance of remote meeting tools on the market right now for companies to utilize. Do not allow the first time you use an application to be during the remote meeting, especially if it’s with a client! You will need to answer some questions to choose which one is the best tool for your remote meeting:
Do I need to screen share for this meeting?
How many people do I expect to attend?
Do I need to record the meeting for others to watch later?
To answer these questions, make sure to test several remote appointment software tools before presenting. The last thing you need is 15 people sitting awkwardly during a meeting while you try to share your screen.
While testing remote software, keep in mind that safety and security during a remote meeting is a must. We suggest a fully native feature, which means neither you nor your customers need to integrate with any third-party apps. This reduces the risk of “Zoom-bombing,” or sharing of media credentials with those who don’t belong in the meeting.
Have an agenda
With so many other things happening in people’s lives and their homes, you never want to hold a remote meeting without a purpose. Be completely clear with the topic and expectations prior to the meeting. Whether meeting is with a client or colleagues, prepare for the meeting with a clear agenda and distribute it prior to the meeting if needed. A meeting with a potential client differs greatly from a meeting with colleagues, and will depend on how you prepare the agenda for the meeting. Either way, keep notes next to your computer and have your talking points laid out. If it makes sense for the meeting, utilize strong visuals, large fonts, or even GIFs to keep your attendees engaged.
Allow time for small talk
Conversations during remote meetings can sometimes be uncomfortable and do not flow well, especially if you are meeting someone for the first time or do not have a strong relationship with them. Give yourself time to chat before the meeting. If you are meeting with a customer for the first time over a remote meeting, create discussion questions or ice-breaker questions that you can discuss ahead of time. This tactic gives the conversation more of a flow.
Give your attendees the opportunity to input their suggestions
You lose a lot of non-verbal cues when everyone is muted during a remote meeting. After someone makes a point, allow others to jump in and contribute to the topic. Even when presenting, you want to hear thoughts or opinions. Recognize moments when you may need to ask for opinions or thoughts. People tend to mute themselves during meetings, and do not want to interrupt. However, interruptions are quite natural during in-person meetings. Make sure to pause a few times during your remote meeting, and utilize that information to address any pain points or issues later.
We know that remote meetings may not seem comfortable right now, and sometimes, unavoidable distractions or interruptions occur. Keep going, and give yourself grace during this time. We’ll be here to help in any way we can.
Want to create better remote meetings? Learn more about our JRNI remote meetings and our JRNI Forward product suite.
These tips and tricks are brought to you as part of our Journey Forward initiative – learn more about Journey Forward for retail companies or financial services organizations.