How to run the best remote meetings

Whether it’s a normal or remote meeting, sometimes meetings just get away from us and run into uncharted territory! Remote meetings especially can be difficult when you can’t read the room or experience people’s energy and body language.

So, to make sure you have effective, easy-going remote meetings, we have put together the following tips.

Make it a video call

Seeing people’s faces can really help a meeting feel personable and it will also encourage people to focus on the current meeting without being distracted by other work. Not only will you be able to see partial body language which can guide discussion but you will also be able to feel connected on a human level.

Open with general chit-chat

Start off the meeting with seeing if anything is new or what people have been up to in their breaks. It’s important not to rush into work so that you can just get comfortable talking with each other online.

Set an agenda or organise a project list

Whoever is leading the meeting would be the best person to create an agenda. They can then sense when there is a break in conversation and suggest kicking off the meeting by diving into what’s on the agenda. Alternatively, if this is a team meeting, you may have project or task updates you need to discuss, in this case, you can start by sharing the project list and going through it together. Sometimes when talking about projects, it can lead into a tangent about other things – this is okay as long as something useful is coming out of the conversation. When you realise this happening, make a note of what was previously being discussed so you can follow on from where you left off.

Speak in order

When discussing projects, assign one person to share information about their individual tasks and then move on to the next person down the list. Alternatively, the person running the meeting can nominate who they’d like to hear from next. It can be good to periodically ask, ‘Hey Amy, what do you think about this?’ or ‘Hey Cameron, is there anything to add from your perspective?’. This way you can give people an opportunity to speak if they might otherwise feel too timid to respond.

Make sure everyone is on the same page

At the end of the meeting, make sure to check that everyone has the same understanding. If there are any actionable items, list them and make sure the right people know what they need to do.  It’s important for meetings to have ‘conclusions’. A bad meeting is one where the participants walk away thinking, ‘wow I just wasted an hour of my life’. Instead, we want them to have a sense of clarity, feel connected and perhaps add something to their to-do list.