Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, virtual meetings and working remotely have become normalized and will likely remain a popular option for businesses of all industries for years to come. Some companies still operate 100% remotely, while others have a hybrid mix of home and office work. That’s why businesses need to understand the tools and knowledge necessary to host a productive virtual meeting every time.
What is a Virtual Meeting?
A virtual meeting is a gathering of individuals (employees, clients, or both) who use a video conferencing platform to conduct a remote meeting, presentation, or discussion. Virtual meetings can be conducted using various devices, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets, as long as the device has an internet connection and the necessary software installed. Meetings can be hosted from anywhere, allowing participants to join from different locations nationwide.
Virtual meetings have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many businesses and organizations to work from home. In fact, between 2020 and 2022, virtual meeting usage grew from 48% to 77%.
The key benefits of hosting virtual meetings:
- Increased flexibility
- Cost savings
- Save time
- No need for travel or physical meeting spaces
Virtual meetings are often conducted using a video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Connect Space. These platforms offer a variety of features, including video and audio capabilities, chat, screen sharing, and virtual backgrounds. Participants can use these features to communicate and collaborate in real time, even when they are in different locations.
One of the best things about virtual meetings is that people can join from anywhere, regardless of where they live or what time zone they are in. This makes it easier for remote teams or individuals to attend meetings and then collaborate.
Another significant advantage of virtual meetings is cost savings. As there is no need for travel or physical meeting spaces, businesses and organizations can save money on expenses associated with in-person meetings. Virtual meetings also require less time to set up and prepare, making them a more efficient use of time.
Virtual meetings can be used for various purposes, including team meetings, client presentations, and education seminars. They can also be used for one-on-one meetings, such as job interviews or performance reviews. Virtual meetings can be conducted in various formats, including webinars, video conferences, and live-streamed events.
Virtual meetings require some preparation to ensure they run smoothly. Participants must have access to the necessary software and devices, and they must test their equipment and internet connection beforehand. It is also essential to establish ground rules for the meeting, including guidelines for muting and unmuting microphones, raising hands, and using the chat feature, all available with Connect Space.
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Types of Virtual Meetings
Virtual meetings are a convenient and effective way for businesses, organizations, and individuals to communicate and collaborate in real time, regardless of their location. There are different types of virtual meetings, each with its own purpose and benefits.
Here are some of the most common types of virtual meetings:
Virtual Team Meetings
Virtual team meetings bring employees, contractors, and stakeholders together to discuss project updates, goals, and objectives. They are typically held on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly, and may include updates from different departments.
Virtual Client Meetings
Client meetings are virtual meetings that involve clients and their agency or contractor. They are essential to reviewing progress on projects, answering questions, or providing updates on products or services. Virtual client meetings are an essential part of building and maintaining a customer-client relationship.
Webinars are hosted for training, education, and marketing purposes. They are usually run by experts in a certain field and may include a Q&A session and explain how to take action. Webinars are an effective way to share knowledge and expertise with a target audience.
Virtual interviews are increasingly common, especially for hiring remote or international candidates. They offer an efficient way to interview candidates from anywhere, and they allow multiple interviewers to participate in the meeting.
Virtual Board Meetings
Board meetings are virtual meetings held by the board of directors of a company or organization. They are used to discuss strategic planning, financial performance, and other important issues. Board meetings are typically held on a regular basis, such as quarterly or annually.
Virtual Town Hall Meetings
Town hall meetings are virtual meetings that are used to share information and engage with a larger audience. They are used to discuss company updates, address concerns and answer questions from employees. Virtual town hall meetings can also be used to announce new company initiatives.
Virtual Sales Meetings
Sales teams hold virtual sales meetings to present sales strategy, new products, and provide updates. They are hosted for B2B sales and have been popular long before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual Brainstorming Sessions
Brainstorming sessions are virtual meetings used by teams to share ideas and develop new processes. They often involve collaborative tools such as virtual whiteboards and breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussions.
Helpful Virtual Meeting Tips for 2023
Virtual meetings are an essential part of how businesses and organizations communicate and collaborate in today's digital age. They offer a variety of formats and purposes, from team meetings to client meetings, webinars, board meetings, and brainstorming sessions. By using virtual meetings, individuals and organizations can improve communication, increase collaboration, and achieve their goals more efficiently.
Here are the top 10 virtual meetings to make your next one a beneficial for all attendees:
Choose the Right Platform
There are many virtual meeting platforms available, and each one has unique strengths and weaknesses based on their use case. Select a platform that meets the needs of your team and provides the functionality you require to hit your goals for the meeting. Some popular options include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Connect Space.
Send Invitations in Advance
Send a virtual meeting calendar invite in advance to give participants the time to prepare and ensure they are available to attend. Send a calendar invitation with the meeting details and any relevant documents that participants may need to review before the meeting.
Test Your Mic and Camera
Before the meeting, test your equipment, including your microphone, camera, and internet connection. Ensure your software is up-to-date and that you have the latest version of the virtual meeting platform installed on your device.
Set Ground Rules
Establish ground rules for the meeting, including guidelines for using video and muting, raising hands, and sharing links in the chat. Ground rules help the host ensure the meeting runs smoothly and finishes on time.
Share a Meeting Agenda
Create an agenda for the meeting and share it in advance with attendees in the meeting invite. This will help everyone stay on track and ensure all key talking points are covered. Stick to the agenda as closely as possible to ensure that the meeting stays on schedule.
Encourage active participation from all attendees, regardless of their role. Ask for input and feedback from attendees when possible, so all voices are heard and all are aligned on next steps. Use polling or other interactive tools to keep participants engaged.
Visuals such as PowerPoint slides, videos, and diagrams make meetings more engaging and easier to understand key initiatives. Use them sparingly, however, to avoid overwhelming participants. It’s recommended to share a meeting deck with all the attendees once the meeting has concluded.
Encourage participants to focus on the meeting and avoid working on other tasks. Attendees must pay attention so nothing is missed. Stress the importance of the meeting ahead of the date and explicitly state to attendees that they are not to check their emails or scroll social media during the meeting.
Record the Meeting
Recording the meeting can be useful for participants who are unable to attend and for those who want to review the meeting’s key points later. Ensure that participants are aware that the meeting is being recorded, and ask for their consent.
Follow Up After the Meeting
Follow up after the meeting with a summary of the discussion and any action items. Make sure that everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are, and give them any resources or help they might need.
Virtual meetings are here to stay, and it's essential to know how to host them effectively. By using these tips, you can make sure that your virtual meetings are productive and interesting.
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The Benefits of Hosting Virtual Meetings
Virtual meetings offer several benefits that make them essential for businesses, organizations, and contractors.
Here are the top benefits of hosting virtual meetings:
- Increased Flexibility
- Virtual meetings allow participants to join from anywhere in the world, as long as they have a stable internet connection. This flexibility makes it easier to schedule meetings, especially for remote teams or participants in different time zones
- Cost Savings
- Virtual meetings are typically less expensive than in-person meetings because there is no need for travel, accommodations, or other associated expenses. This can be especially beneficial for small businesses or organizations with a limited budget.
- Time Savings
- Virtual meetings are often shorter than in-person meetings because there is no need for participants to travel to a physical office. The time savings can be significant, especially for organizations that hold frequent meetings.
- Increased Productivity
- Virtual meetings can boost productivity because they eliminate disruptions that may arise in in-person meetings. Attendees are often more focused and engaged during virtual meetings, which can lead to more productive discussions and better outcomes.
- Improved Communication
- Virtual meetings can improve communication because they provide a platform for participants to share ideas and collaborate in real-time. Participants can use video, audio, and chat features to communicate, making it easier to exchange information and clarify details for stakeholders.
- Increased Accessibility
- Virtual meetings are more accessible to individuals with disabilities, as they can be attended from anywhere with an internet connection. This accessibility can help create more inclusive meetings with better participation from all team members.
Hosting virtual meetings has a number of benefits that can help you save time and money, be more productive, improve communication, and give you more freedom. As technology continues to advance, virtual meetings will likely become an increasingly popular choice for businesses, organizations, and individuals.
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What Tools Do I Need to Host a Virtual Meeting?
Virtual meetings have become an essential part of how businesses operate in 2023. That’s why it's important to have the necessary tools to host productive meetings. Here are some of the essential tools you need to host a virtual meeting.
Video Conferencing Platform
The first and most important tool you need for a virtual meeting is a video conferencing platform. Some popular video conferencing platforms include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Vidyard, and Connect Space. These platforms offer video and audio capabilities, chat, screen sharing, and other features to facilitate collaboration during the meeting.
Let attendees know if they need to be on camera. Fortunately, most laptops and desktop computers come with built-in cameras. However, if their computer doesn't have a camera or you prefer a higher-quality video, they can purchase a webcam.
An external microphone can help improve the sound quality when you speak. Some webcams come with built-in microphones, but you may want to invest in a higher-quality microphone to improve the clarity of your voice.
A headset is another useful tool for a meeting because it cuts out background noise and makes sure you can hear everyone clearly.
Reliable Internet Connection
A reliable internet connection cannot be stressed enough. Ensure the virtual meeting goes smoothly when you are presenting by checking that your WiFi connection is stable.
Screen sharing allows you to share your computer screen with other participants in the meeting. This feature is useful for presentations, demonstrations, and collaborations.
Whiteboard software can be used to sketch ideas, brainstorm, or explain complex concepts. Some video conferencing software comes with a whiteboard feature already built in, while other platforms need separate whiteboard software.
Virtual backgrounds can help add a professional touch to your virtual meeting. They can also be useful if you want to maintain privacy or avoid distractions in your background. Many video conferencing software platforms offer virtual background options.
These are essential tools you need for hosting a virtual meeting. While some tools are built into video conferencing platforms, others require separate software or hardware, such as a webcam if you have an older laptop or desktop. To ensure a smooth virtual meeting experience, make sure you have all the necessary tools before the meeting starts.
If you’re ready to start hosting more engaging virtual meetings with your team, book a demo with Connect Space today.