The biggest challenge you may be facing right now is maintaining motivation in your team at a distance.
How you run a meeting could make all the difference between maintaining motivation, morale and the respect of your team.
I have seen good managers lose the respect of their team because they have struggled to lead meetings effectively. Online meetings are much more complex than in-person, so running effective meetings has just become much more challenging for many managers.
I’ve spent over 20 years training and coaching managers to manage and lead their teams and there are specific strategies that ensure a successful meeting.
Here are three strategies that will help you navigate this new virtual meeting space:
1. Learn your technology
If you aren’t comfortable with the online technology you are using, you could be flustered and on the back foot from the start. You need to be entirely at ease with your technology in order to concentrate on your team members, otherwise you could look incompetent and lose the respect of the people in front of you.
2. Set meeting guidelines
Online meetings are new for many people. They may know how to conduct themselves in a real room but a virtual room can feel quite different: people are at home and are likely to feel more relaxed and switched off. You need to set the tone and clear guidelines for the running of the meeting, otherwise you could have a very unfocused meeting and struggle to get people to engage and contribute.
Ensure everyone is introduced so they feel comfortable and able to contribute. Consider some sort of icebreaker or brief social chat first to get everyone relaxed.
3. Set an agenda
The key to any effective meeting is a clear agenda. Without this, your meeting could descend into chaos very quickly. Holding people’s attention in a virtual room is more difficult than in a physical room, so a clear agenda, with precise timings is essential. Your team will feel that you are in control and confident in what you are doing and that is vital to maintain leadership and respect.
When you list your agenda items, prioritise the most important ones. Allocating a time for each item lets people know how long each subject will be discussed for and keeps the meeting moving.
Appoint a timekeeper (not the chairperson or the minute taker) to ensure that items are discussed to time. If they look like they will overrun, it is up to the chairperson to decide whether discussion should continue there and then, be deferred to the next meeting or be continued by specific people outside of the meeting then reported back on.