Tips and tricks to run efficient Virtual Meetings

In SoftwareDevTools we know that Virtual meetings have become one of the most important “tools” for teams that work remotely. The existence of this kind of meeting has been increasing over five-times in the last months.

Virtual meetings are far from being like in-person meetings, which makes it more difficult to achieve the productivity and efficiency performance of our teams. That’s whys is very important that we take care of the way we make our meetings in our team. When work conferencing practices are inadequate, this can result in USD 34 billion loss revenue annually due to a lack of productivity.

We have been working remotely for a while, and we want to share with you some tips and tricks that can help you to adapt better virtual meetings to your team, increase your transparency and improve your team performance.

All meetings need to have a purpose:

We talked about why is important to have a purpose on your team. It is the same if we talk about meetings.

I read this incredible article for DZone and makes me think in all the problems that can provoke have meetings without purpose.

One easy way to find out if your meetings are necessary is taking into consideration that having it will provide value to your members. If you see that your meeting doesn't provide: results-oriented, make decisions, solve problems, brainstorming, etc. Maybe the meeting lacks purpose.

Let your members decide if they need to be there: Meetings without purpose not just are invaluable for the team these are costing money for the company. Takes almost 23 minutes to focus in an activity, if you make your team a meeting for 1 hour and then they only have 30 min until they chance to a new meeting, they not just will skip those 30 minutes, because there is no chance to focus and star an important task. You will take away at least 2.5 hours until they can start their activities.

Make your meeting with purpose, and be sure that all the members need to be there. If some members just need to be a little part of the meeting, make them know that they can go before the meeting ends.

I found these incredible tips on Snacknation about what your members need to know about the meetings, have this kind of information can make more valuable results, and focus better the meeting.

All attendees should know:

  • The meeting purpose
  • What topics you’ll cover
  • How long the meeting will take

Schedule:

Like the last points said, it is important to know when the meeting is going to be. All this for the productivity of your team. This is one of the most important points because here you show respect for your team’s member time.

You need to have in consideration the different time-zone of the members and be aware if they have enough time to have the meeting. This will help you to increase productivity because you can perceive if the schedule that you are selecting is working for everybody and if the time that you define is enough to keep the work in progress. Which takes us to the next step.

Timeboxing:

As well as you define the meeting beginning, it is important to determine the end. Remember that all your members have activities, and they organize their time based on the meetings that they have. If you have a meeting, respect the begging and the end, in this way you will avoid delays for waiting for your teammates and you avoid taking time for their free or next meeting time.

One of the most efficient ways to save time in meetings is to have a timebox and follow rightly. If you are taking more time than the time that you define at the beginning, don't extend the meeting, instead, plan another meeting or finish to solve the problem with asynchronous communication. The next time you have a similar meeting try to put more accurate time, it is all about to try and fail. Take more time than you defined just will provoke more waste of time and you can delay other meetings indirectly.

If you finish the conversation before, well not let the meeting till the time over, finish the meeting when it requires it. It is better to have some minutes to continue the day than force the meeting and waste valuable time.

Make more efficient meetings with well-structured info:

Another good tip to save time in meetings and make it more efficient is having all the info prepared and that all members have the possibility of check what is the principal topic in the meetings. This not just will focus the meeting but there will avoid a change in topics and distractions at the meeting. If it is possible make an agenda where you prepare all the topics that you want to share and you won’t waste time trying to remember the topics.

This also can help you to allow your teammates to skip the meeting if they don’t think that is necessary (be clear with this kind of behavior, allow the opportunity to skip meetings can be a good idea but can incur the loss of information in your team).

Another way to share good information and make the most of your meetings are being understandable. Be clear with your words, and always remember the people that you are talking about. If you are talking with developers try to make the most understandable to give the correct messages. Adequate massages fo adequate people.

Another incredible way to make your meetings more efficient is with:

No interruption.

Interrupt thinking what the other person is going to say will take more time than you think. The person will need to repeat their commentary and you have to give the correct answers. Don’t hurry up to answer and hear actively your people.

Meeting free time:

This is one of the most important times, and unfortunately one of the less taking into consideration. Your members need free time for work. All the members have their activities, and while some members finished their work with the help of meetings some others need free time for their work. So don’t overschedule meetings If you see that some members have free time in their calendar that doesn’t mean that they have time for another meeting, which means that they are saving that time for work.

All-time is important, even more, the free time for your activities and rest, which actually can increase your team’s productivity.

Meetings for status or updates:

Some agile teams used to have stand-ups meetings to talk about progress and the next activities for every member. But nowadays this kind of meeting wastes a lot of time. There is no relevance to these ceremonies due to you know-how is the team going.

Talk about the importance of status an how to do it without a meeting is possible with the right tool. In Softwaredevtools we use an incredible tool called Standbot that can be linked to Jira. It is very efficient to keep a record of your standups and make it when is the right time for every member. Also, you can check easily the blockers on your team.

Feedback:

talk about the meetings with your members, all members have valuable opinions, and listen to them can help you to notices if the meeting is working or how other members perceive them. Always there is good info and good opinions on your team.

Plus: share screen if you want to explain something with more detail, it is a very useful tool that can help to avoid misunderstanding and a quick way to share relevant info.

Virtual meetings are very important for remote teams, it hasn't to be difficult. In Softwaredevtools we know that all remote teams need good practices to increase efficiency and transparency, even more in their virtual meeting. Check some other incredible tools for became more agile your remote team.