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SBL31 – 9 Ways to make virtual meetings more productive

Welcome to SBL31 (Sycamore Business Lab): our periodic blog post where we address issues affecting you and your business.

Due to the on-going pandemic, many businesses are being forced to work remotely, regardless of whether it is a culture in the organisation. Even though the lockdown in Nigeria was eased from Monday, 4th May 2020, as we stated in our prior post, it is likely that many companies will continue to work from home for the foreseeable. Some predicted that the pandemic may be on for about 2 years. That’s a long time! Even though we hope it does not last that long, there’s no doubt that virtual meetings will become the new normal.

 

So how can we make these virtual meetings more productive? Here are our top tips:

1. Send out only necessary invitations

To make the meeting effective, invite-only those who would contribute to the meeting. There is no need to invite people who will only attend for the sake of it.

2. Be prepared:

Before the meeting, check your system, try out the application you will be using, the setting of your surrounding and notes if you need any. Just like a physical meeting, you also need to get ready for a virtual meeting too

3. Have an agenda:

A big part of the preparation is having an agenda, especially if you are the one hosting the meeting. Any meeting — virtual or physical — tends to become unfocused or derailed if not guided by a strict agenda.

4. Mute when not speaking

If you are not the one speaking, it’s better to keep your microphone on mute. Most microphones are sensitive and can easily pick up sounds on the background. It can be very distracting for the other attendees of the meeting.

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5. Avoid typing on your keyboard

If for any reason your microphone has not been muted, it is better to avoid using your keyboard. The sound might seem incredibly low to you, but it only serves to distract others at the meeting

6. Dress properly

This relates mostly to video calls. Notwithstanding, however, it is hard to tell which way the meeting might go or if you might accidentally turn on your camera. The dressing does not have to be formal: just decent enough to showcase if there is any reason to switch on your camera.

7. No food, please

This sorts of speaks for itself. Eating during a virtual meeting is just as bad as eating in a virtual one.

8. Stay stationary, minimise movement and pay attention

It’s best to stay in one position unless you absolutely must move. This allows you to pay attention and reduces how much distraction you can pose to the rest of the meeting attendees.

9. Speak up

It’s easy to mistake a virtual meeting for a regular telephone call and talk like you would in a one on one conversation. However, these meetings are more like presentations where you are required to speak loudly and clearly so that everyone hears.

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