Everyone is trying to ensure business continuity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. That means LOTS of virtual meetings focused on idea generation and problem solving to keep our projects and plans moving forward. But, many of you aren’t getting the best ideas to address the critical needs of your business out of your virtual meetings.
Here are three important actions to improve your virtual meeting results now.
1. Prepare your team to make decisions
A key challenge in times of crisis? Decisions get bogged down in analysis. Give your team the data and a clear goal to achieve before every meeting. Make sure everyone is ready to contribute as soon as the meeting starts. In times like these, speed to ideation and action is more important than analytical perfection.
Do this: For a virtual meeting to be successful you’ve got to prepare your team. Send the meeting purpose, relevant data, questions to consider, and desired outcome in advance...even if it’s only one day. During your meeting, direct questions to individuals to draw out their thinking. If you don’t, the best solutions may never be revealed. Annotate /Whiteboard key issues and decisions visibly in the virtual room.
2. Engage everyone and hold them accountable
You invited everyone for a reason. If some of your team members are more introverted or have language challenges, their input may be overlooked or never heard. Don’t let folks hide out in the virtual corners of the room
Do this: Use everyone’s names, particularly before you direct a question. Have a list of attendees in the meeting and make sure you get everyone’s feedback and ideas. Hold everyone accountable for contributing to business decisions and the plan of action.
3. Facilitate ruthlessly to uncover the best ideas
One of the big challenges in virtual meetings is talking over or interrupting one another. We all know the steamrollers on the team. You’ve got to put the brakes on the talkers and get them to listen. You have to make sure everyone’s ideas are respected and given airtime.
Do this: Set ground rules for behavior right up front. Stop the interrupters and make sure the speakers are allowed to finish their thought. Be aware of how culture can impact someone’s approach to contribution. Pull back discussions that veer into analytical deep dive. Put decisions on a whiteboard, slide or any other tool you have in the virtual room.