Remote meetings are a key part of all remote and hybrid organizations.
But remote meetings aren’t always the most effective. For example, according to the State of Virtual Meetings 2021 report, a whopping 94 percent of employees admit to multi-tasking during remote meetings—which isn’t exactly conducive to getting things done.
The good news? Your remote meetings can be productive and effective; you just need the right approach.
So what, exactly, does that approach look like?
Let’s take a look at 10 must-know tips and tricks for improving the efficiency of your remote meetings:
Don’t schedule unnecessary meetings
The first strategy for improving the efficiency of your remote meetings? Don’t schedule remote meetings you don’t actually need.
The goal of a meeting, remote or otherwise, can often be accomplished in a much less time-consuming way—for example, through a quick email or phone call. Turning those small, easily achievable tasks into full-blown remote meetings can cause a variety of issues, including:
- Wasted time. Planning and facilitating meetings can take a lot of time. And if a remote meeting isn’t actually necessary, all the time spent planning and facilitating it ends up being time waster.
- Decreased employee morale. Unnecessary remote meetings can also lower employee morale. (No team member wants to sit through a 30-minute meeting that could have been a 2-minute email!)
- Less efficient remote meetings overall. If you schedule redundant or unnecessary remote meetings on a regular basis, eventually, your team is going to start thinking that all remote meetings are redundant or unnecessary. They may pay less attention or be less engaged with the material, even if the remote meeting is an important one—which lowers the efficiency of your remote meetings across the board.
Bottom line? If improving the efficiency of your remote meetings is one of your top priorities, before you move forward with scheduling, ask yourself, “is this meeting really necessary?” And if the answer is, “no?” Don’t schedule the meeting.
Give employees breaks between remote meetings
One of the foundational elements of an effective remote meeting is attendees who are engaged, present, and prepared.
But many remote employees bounce from meeting to meeting all day long, with barely a break in between. (According to data outlined in an article on SmallBizTrends, up to 35 percent of remote employees report having multiple virtual meetings every week—and nearly 20 percent have remote meetings every day.)
So, if you want your employees to show up for every meeting ready to get things done—which is vital for improving the efficiency of your remote meetings? Make sure you’re scheduling meetings in a way that gives them time to rest and recover in between.
Instead of typical meeting times…
Most meetings start at one of two times: on the hour or half past the hour. And most meetings are either one hour or 30 minutes long. Which means an employee’s calendar often ends up looking like this:
9am: Meeting A (30 minutes)
9:30am: Meeting B (One hour)
10:30am: Meeting C (30 minutes)
11am: Meeting D (One hour)
12pm: Meeting E (One hour)
These kinds of schedules—where employees go from one remote meeting to another for hours at a time without any breaks in between—can be exhausting. And by the time the employee makes it to Meeting C or Meeting D, chances are, they’re going to have a hard time concentrating, focusing, and engaging.
…shorten by 10 minutes
Luckily, there’s an easy fix—and that’s making your meetings slightly shorter.
So, instead of making your meetings 30 minutes or one hour, schedule them for 20 minutes or 50 minutes. With this kind of scheduling, employees get a 10-minute buffer between every meeting.
With this slight change in meeting length, the employee’s morning schedule would now look like this:
9am: Meeting A (20 minutes)
9:20am – 9:30am: BREAK
9:30am: Meeting B (50 minutes)
10:20am – 10:30am: BREAK
10:30am: Meeting C (20 minutes)
10:50am – 11am: BREAK
11am: Meeting D (50 minutes)
11:50am – 12pm: BREAK
12pm: Meeting E (One hour)
That 10 minutes gives employees the opportunity to take a quick break between each meeting—and those breaks can help them be more efficient during each meeting.
Use optimization strategies before, during, and after the meeting
As the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” So, if improving the efficiency of your remote meetings is a priority for your team and your business, one thing you’ll definitely want to do? Plan ways to get the most out of your meetings—before, during, and after the meeting takes place.
So, what steps can you take before, during, and after your remote meeting to ensure the highest efficiency?
Before the meeting
- Schedule in advance. If you expect people to prepare anything for the meeting (for example, a presentation or a data set), you want to give them plenty of advance notice. Aim to schedule your meetings as far in advance as possible.
- Send out a detailed agenda. At least a few days before your scheduled meeting, send out a detailed agenda that outlines exactly what you’re going to cover during the meeting, who will be presenting, and any to-do items attendees will need to complete before the meeting (for example, submitting their contributions at least 24 hours before the scheduled meeting time).
During the meeting
- Start with a review of what you’re going to cover. It’s important to send out your meeting agenda before the actual meeting. But in case attendees haven’t had a chance to review it, you’ll also want to kick off the meeting with a brief review of what you’re going to cover.
- Incorporate engaging activities throughout. Remote meetings can get boring, fast—particularly if you just have one speaker talking to a group for an hour at a time. To keep attendees engaged, make sure to incorporate more engaging activities throughout the meeting—like inviting different people to speak, playing a quick game (like an icebreaker), or opening the floor for a Q+A session.
Call a break if necessary. Sometimes, despite all your best intentions, meetings can drag on too long. And in those situations, often the only way to get attendees reengaged is to take a break. If you notice you’re starting to lose your audience, allow everyone to get up and step away from the meeting for five to 10 minutes.
After the meeting
- Send a follow-up summary… After the meeting, you’ll want to send a summary that outlines everything you discussed.
- …and action items for each attendee. If there are any action items that were assigned, you’ll also want to send those specific action items to each assigned team/team member.
- Set a reminder to follow up. Set a reminder on your calendar to follow up with your team (for example, a week after the meeting) to check on their progress and see if they have any questions or need any support in completing their action items.
The point is, improving the efficiency of your remote meetings happens before, during, and after the meeting—so make sure you’re taking steps at each point to maximize your meeting’s effectiveness.
Make the most out of your meetings with the right meeting tool
The last non-negotiable for improving the efficiency of your remote meetings? The right meeting tool.
Talkspirit is an all-in-one collaborative tool that has all the features you need to maximize the effectiveness of your remote meeting—including videoconferencing, webinars, a shared agenda and a chat functionality. Talkspirit also has additional features that ensure you have everything you need to better assign, manage, and complete meeting-related action items, like checklists, a project management platform, an office suite and a shared drive.
Also read: How To Boost the Adoption of New Collaborative Tools
Ready to find out how Talkspirit can help you make the most out of your meetings? Schedule a demo or sign up for your free 15-day trial today 👇
Author : Deanna deBara