Have you Thought about Virtual Meetings?

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Many businesses are still reliant on face to face meetings to discuss activity, goals or change. These meetings may rely on people travelling miles to get there or may not occur as frequently as they could, because of the logistics involved. Many of these businesses, have not ever considered that a virtual meeting could replace some of these routine face to face meetings, or act as a conduit for extraordinary meetings.

I was just talking to a friend today, who said one of their satellite offices was expanding because the associate working there, needed a mentor. She said the company was spending thousands on new office space and potentially another assistant. As I spoke to her about the merits of remote work and meetings, it suddenly dawned on her, how this associate could have been supported virtually, accessing the expertise of the businesses broader network, without the need for added expansion. The business is in banking, and there is limited opportunity for workers to routinely work from home, due to the layers of security required in running their in-house network. There is, however, opportunity for managers to provide mentorship and collaboration through remote discussions or meetings, from the comfort of their own respective offices. Remote meetings would make it possible for the business managers, across the state, to easily meet on regular occasions … without the need to travel … and to provide mentorship.

The remote meeting is still foreign to many businesses in the SME category. They are used to doing things face to face. Many may have started off as a single site business or have yet to adapt any remote working practices. Their meeting practices are likely to be equally outdated, occurring as large quarterly meetings, with many people involved. Many of whom, may not be party to each agenda item discussion.

Equally, an extensive workforce of road warrior sales people could benefit from remote meetings. Many organisations with these mobile workers, rely extensively on travel to bring people together, and do so infrequently. Routine teleconferences may occur, where it is easy for workers to be invisible and multitask, or simply involve the manager disseminating information to the troops, with little opportunity for feedback. The opportunity for these mobile, remote workers could include small collaborative meetings at a peer level or with managers and vendors. Adding video to the calls also supports engagement and connection, helping these workers to feel less alone.

As technology continues to forge ahead, businesses need to adapt to secure their talent, provide the support workers need and utilize the tools well to be adaptable. Virtual meetings can be quick and easy to pull together. They can result in shorter, more frequent and productive meetings and, where the only attendees are, the ones that need to be there. 

Today, everyone’s time is valuable and pressured, so meetings should never be held for no apparent purpose.

A wide variety of different platforms are available for virtual meetings. Some are free, and others have a range of tools that can help engagement, creativity and collaboration. For some, these tools may be a little daunting at first. With a little use, knowledge and practice they will become an important communication tool for both managers and workers.

Gain the skills and learn to connect well to people remotely. Understand how to conduct and run a well-planned virtual meeting and in turn you can better connect the people you already have. These tools have the potential to change the way you meet or even run your business.

About the Author: Vivien Hudson

Vivien fell into the virtual world around the time she moved from Australia to the US in 2013. She has a diverse past from working in healthcare as a pharmacist and business owner to sales, coaching and brain fitness. She has led a national remote team and now works with Virtual Gurus developing virtual mastery and presence.  

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family of 3 kids, nature where she can unplug, cooking and reading anything that relates to EQ, connection and self-leadership.

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