5 easy ideas to make your virtual meetings inspiring and productive
Virtual Teams, as wonderful as they are, present you with one very special challenge to overcome. Without a face-to-face social aspect of a typical work environment, you can lose the personal and visual connections that are so powerful in keeping a team motivated and performing at its best.
Like many online entrepreneurs you may be having weekly virtual meetings to keep connected with your team. Congratulations for committing to your virtual team productivity. Do you think your team is inspired and motivated by that virtual meeting? If yes, then great – but the sad truth is, it is quite likely that at least one person on your team likely DREADS having that meeting (that person could be you)!
So what can you do to make sure your virtual team meetings continue to inspire your virtual team to achieve great things? Here are 5 ideas you can start using right away…
1. Set up the virtual meeting at an agreeable time
You might have one virtual assistant in the US, another in India and an assistant in the UK. Your meetings aren’t going to be productive if one of your key team members has to wait up until midnight just to speak with you. While they may seem happy to meet you at that hour at first, the truth is, they WILL TIRE OF IT. It won’t be long before they are dreading showing up to your meeting. They’ll have very little creative energy to offer the team and the whole experience will be a waste of time for you and your team.
So it may be fiddly to organise, but put the effort in and the long-term results will be worth it. Be sure to delegate the organising task to your virtual assistant J. If you’re having great difficulty getting an agreeable time for your entire team, then I recommend you rotate the meeting time so the same person doesn’t have to do the midnight hour every time your virtual team meets. It’s all about flexibility. This is one area where I don’t recommend doing business “on your terms” only. You need to show care and consideration to your team. In the end you’ll benefit too.
2. Allow for fun chat time at the beginning of a meeting
Just like there is that “chit-chat” time before and after team meetings in the office, you need to set up your own “water filter” where team members can chat, have a cuppa and get to know each other better. When you set up your team meetings set it for 10 mins before the official meeting begins. This allows friendly interaction between your team members. Be sure to explain this to your team so they understand the value of that interaction time. Show your team the importance of contributing to the virtual team culture. Remember to celebrate milestones and achievements together. Get creative!
3. Add a visual element to your meetings
Adding a visual conferencing element to your meeting will not only increase productivity, but it will improve the cost effectiveness of your virtual meeting. Research proves that better results are produced when a visual component in added to a virtual team meeting. So depending on the number of people participating you can use tools to improve your meeting productivity. Here are some virtual team conferencing tool options we’ve used: www.skype.com, ShowMyPC Meetings and Remote Support
4. Include space on the agenda for a practical but exciting virtual team building activity
One fun activity that will contribute to your overall team culture is for each team member to take a personality quiz. Then have your team share the results with each other. It’s a great way to have some fun with team members while learning about how individual team members can work together better. There are free and paid options out there, depending on how you plan to use the results. For instructions on how to facilitate a virtual team building personality activity click here: http://virtualteamintelligence.com/virtual-team-building/virtual-team-building-activity-for-remote-teams/
5. Know who’s doing what by when
As the leader of your virtual team, you chair the meeting. While you lead the meeting you can use your virtual assistant to make sure your virtual team meeting runs smoothly. Ask your virtual assistant to set up the meeting, make sure the agenda is set and agreed actions are followed up on. Having a system to follow-up on agreed actions is absolutely imperative to a successful team meeting. There is nothing more uninspiring than a whole lot of exciting actions being agreed upon, only to show up to the next meeting with NOTHING happening. As the leader of your virtual team you MUST SET THE EXAMPLE. If you agree to an action, then do it. Your team will be as excited about your business as YOU are.
By implementing these 5 simple steps you’ll be on your way to a motivated, excited virtual team! Happy virtual team meeting! If you’ve enjoyed this article, you’ll also love these tips on building your virtual team morale.