At a first glance, it might seem that meeting with remote team differs from a face-to-face appointment only in terms of location. Someone would say ”hold on, what about body language?”. Let’s assume you’re conducting a videoconference, where everybody can see each other. Here, the body language argument is out. Nevertheless, when you work with offsite team, you are in a way forced to implement new methodologies. At the end of the day, you’d like to ensure the remote meeting is as effective as an onsite one. Here, I’ve highlighted some of the most important things to consider when it comes to running a successful remote team meeting…
Create an agenda
That would be the very first point to be done. The meeting agenda should be distributed across the team ahead of time. You need to make sure everybody gets it prior to the meeting, so that they can do the research or gather data before the meeting starts. It may make the meeting more efficient when everybody knows what will be covered and what could they expect from the meeting.
Choose the right tools
Using the right tools is absolutely crucial to the success of remote appointment. You may need some software that enables videoconferencing or screen sharing. It all depends on the topic of your meeting. Keep in mind that no technology is 100% reliable, so make sure each worker has checked his equipment is working prior to the meeting.
Allow time for chit-chat
It’s very important both in a case when you are all new and want to get familiar with each other, and when you operate within the same team for years. In-office employees have the chance to talk with their coworkers in the kitchen or on their way to the meeting room. Remote workers had to be encouraged to identify themselves prior to the meeting. It ensures that there is no miscommunication during the appointment. Of course during the videoconference there will be no need to identify themselves, but still a small talk would be highly advisable.
Point out the meeting moderator
People tend to be more hesitant to speak during remote meetings than it is during face-to-face appointments. It’s all because of body language, that couldn’t be read. This arouses many doubts concerning the reception of others intentions.
On the other hand, there might be some participants that talk much more than others. You’ll need to find a way to encourage all the attendees to contribute more or less equally.
A good way would be to find a meeting moderator. His role would be to bring others to the conversation and move from one topic to another. Such an authority figure makes the meeting coherent and ensures that the objectives are met.
Encourage participants to be engaged
Remote meeting may be a good chance for some attendees to do other activities at the same time. It’s very important that all the attendees are engaged. So that actually they can be called participants rather than attendees. If people are distracted, they may miss key issues being raised or fail to input their ideas and opinions.
Summarize the meeting
Irrespective of the fact whether all the employees were engaged or not, you should sum up the meeting at the end of it. If a lot of cases were discussed, many people may have missed some of them. Thus the importance of summarizing the meeting. It will help clarifying what have been raised and what kind of decisions were made. Additionally, you should send out the meeting notes afterwards. Having everything in writing will be a great support for you, so that you will have something to refer back to.
Working with remote staff gives many benefits to the business. However, it’s very important to use the onsite team effectively and learn how to manage them. It’s crucial to make sure the remote employees belonging to the one team correspond effectively between each other. Although a remote team meeting may sound quite simple, many things can go wrong if it’s not managed appropriately.