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Effective Remote (Zoom) Meetings

Zoom Meeting

People don't often use technology to communicate with each other verbally. People text each other and send email but with thousands of robo-callers flooding the airways verbally speaking on the telephone is almost a lost art. For a virtual meeting, it's important to get everyone comfortable with communicating with each other.

What's a great way to get this going? Build a "virtual tavern"—a communal place online where group members can get to know each other and connect outside of structured meetings. Giving distributed teams a shared space to connect online helps them:

  • Get comfortable (and, let's face it, feel less awkward) communicating across digital channels (Especially using unfamiliar technology
  • Get to know other members of the group and their expertise
  • Feel like they are an equal and integral part of the LCRW
  • Identify any potential issues when it comes to communication styles or differing points of view ahead of meetings

A virtual "tavern" can become a shared tradition (like video check-ins or a weekly virtual happy hour). As long as it connects the group and familiarizes them with one another before meetings happen, it will help lay the foundation for successful online meetings.

  • Set an agenda and agree on remote meeting guidelines
  • If you want your scheduled remote meeting to be efficient and successful, you need to plan your agenda.
  • For every virtual meeting, it's important to create a clear meeting agenda that includes:
  • Key talking points
  • Meeting structure (for example, when and for how long you plan to discuss each talking point)
  • Members that will be in attendance
  • What each member is responsible for bringing to the meeting
  • Any relevant documents, files, or critiques

The group may want to consider forming small groups (four or five members) and setting up samll virtual "Taverns" to discuss writing or just share how we are doing. One each week for the duration.

Just as important as the meeting agenda are the meeting guidelines: the rules and expectations of how the team is expected to contribute to the virtual meeting.

So, for example, can everyone speak freely, or will the team leader call on someone when it's that person's turn to contribute? Does always everyone need to have their camera on or just the presenter? Should people mute their phones while others are speaking?

Setting a clear meeting agenda and guidelines (and sending them to the team at least 24 hours in advance) will help ensure that everyone is on the same page before the virtual meeting takes place.

Etiquette for online meetings

There are some basic etiquette practices you could consider creating a smooth online meeting experience.

  • Don't interrupt other people when they're speaking (or attempt to speak over them)
  • Test all technology (including camera/video, Wi-Fi, and screen sharing) before the meeting. Use the "Buddy System." Zoom is free. Set up a meeting with one other person in LCRW in advance. That way you can both test out how well your device works before the group meeting starts.
  • Don't work on other tasks (like checking email) during the virtual meeting
  • Turn off all notifications and make sure your cell phone is on silent
  • Make sure you are in a quiet area free from unnecessary distractions
  • When in doubt, just practice common courtesy. People want to be heard, seen, and respected during an online meeting—just like they do everywhere else.

Here are a couple of good meeting articles and tips on Zoom:

 

 

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