White Paper: Best Practices for Successful Virtual Meetings in 2021

This article was a Whitepaper published in 2021, click here to find our latest whitepapers.

Virtual meetings were only folktales some time ago when it was impossible to organize without it costing a fortune. Still, the difference was not enough to revolutionize the world of meetings, especially for board and employee meetings.

But the absolute change arose with the Coronavirus pandemic, which reduced physical meetings and limited social and business gatherings. It was difficult for members of organizations to meet physically due to the imposed lockdowns. This was when virtual meeting platforms came to the rescue, allowing organizations have productive meetings from the comfort of their homes. But another problem soon manifested; this was the difficulty of managing a virtual meeting.

Proper planning and execution of virtual meetings can prove very difficult for any organization. The effectiveness of the meeting can even reduce drastically compared to physical meetings. This is due to the poor handling of virtual meetings and the belief that virtual meetings will run as smoothly as physical ones using the same planning. But in reality, virtual meetings are much more challenging to coordinate than those that are physical.

The boardroom seat have changed to home seats, and best practices must be implemented for effectiveness. All these need to be in effect to ensure that the home seats are productive or even more productive and engaging than the official ones.

When is it Right to Conduct Virtual Meetings? Not all interactions or communication requires a virtual meeting, and understanding this is one of the best practices that ensure virtual meetings are not unnecessarily organized. Sometimes the only form of communication needed is calling or texting. In situations where there is a need to send an important file to a colleague, virtual meetings might not be required.

There are specific occasions that call for virtual meetings; these are usually when there is a need for interaction between a group of people or a need for the opinions of the attendees. But, generally, virtual meetings are most suitable for:

  • Board meetings
  • Investor meetings
  • Committee meetings
  • · Employee meeting
  • Executive sessions
  • Interview sessions
  • Peer-to-peer meetings

The Best Practices for Productive Virtual Meetings In 2021 Choosing Tools/Technologies

The most challenging step that determines the result of a meeting is choosing the necessary technologies that each of the meetings will be utilizing. Various platforms support video conferencing, and all are equipped with similar features. The most suitable practice that can be adopted when choosing the technology to communicate with is to leave the decision to your IT Team. This is a safer and more effective practice because the IT Teams are knowledgeable about the latest trends in the market. The team also understands the needs of the organizations, thereby providing the most suitable options for all the virtual meeting needs of your organization.

The DiliTrust Board Portal is a suitable technology that is also recommendable for virtual meetings. It allows users to share screens while also viewing the materials and documents at the same time.

It is also a crucial part of the practices to inform the meeting attendees of the platform’s necessary information. Not every employee or board member is a tech guru; therefore, it is always helpful to have a trial before the actual meetings. There has to be a satisfactory level of understanding of the processes involved in utilizing the platform. Explanations of the essential and commonly used features should follow a quick training session before the first meeting.

Designing the Meeting Structure

In physical meetings, it is easier to maintain the composure of a meeting event when there is no agenda. This does not work in a virtual meeting because the attendees are probably at different places. Distractions are quite common in this case because it is not a meeting in an enclosed space. For the best virtual meeting experience, the organizer should have a well-prepared meeting agenda. In case there is an organizational norm or procedure for every, the virtual meeting should follow this procedure. Failure for the virtual meeting to comply with these norms further distracts the attendees’ attention or reduces interests. The virtual meeting organizers should therefore ensure proper documentation. As well as prepare technical support should anything go wrong during the meeting. For this purpose, there are reliable board portals. These portals allow the organizer to organize the meeting agenda better and promptly communicate with the attendees.

Sharing Agendas

Sharing the meeting agenda before the meeting is also an excellent practice to follow. It allows the attendees to understand the primary purpose of the meeting and why it is crucial. It also helps them follow the framework of the meeting and gives the idea of how long it would take them. When sharing the meeting agenda, there might not be a method to communicate with the attendee; hence, using a reliable communication channel is also essential. This way, dispatched information gets delivered at the right time and to the right sets of people. The information shared must be crystal clear and easy for the recipients to understand. Managing these pools of resources can be overwhelming and stressful. This is why it is a recommendation that the same platform used or intended for the meeting should also be in use for this purpose. Alternatively, the IT team can also come to the rescue again to suggest the most suitable platform for this purpose.

Managing Technicalities

Unless the meeting is for a group of tech-oriented individuals, it is usually tricky to use a virtual meeting platform. There must be a backup plan for technical issues in order not to affect the meeting. The most suitable approach to manage technicalities is to assign a virtual facilitator to manage the platform. This way, there is a faster response to issues that arise during the meeting. Likewise, the virtual facilitator ensures the platform works according to the organizer’s preference.

Creating an Engaging Meeting

Virtual meetings need to be engaging, preferably more than physical ones. There should be a fostered collaboration with the attendees to ensure that they are motivated to participate actively. It is also advisable that the names of meeting participants are not individually called when requesting participation. It is better to address the whole members of the meeting and await diverse repose from the members. Else, some of the attendees might feel left out of the discussion and lose focus in the meeting. Humanizing and civilizing the meeting is also important in boosting active participation and driving engagements.

Etiquette and Environmental Management

There are etiquettes usually followed during physical meetings. And this does not mean that virtual meetings should lack this principle. It is a proven way to maintain etiquette when meeting roles is of paramount importance, and only the organizer has the right to speak freely for proper conduct. Hence, there must be tract adherence to the meeting’s usual etiquette. Virtual meetings attempt to simulate a real-life meeting environment and make it as humanistic as possible.

Environments are an essential determinant of productivity. This is why a creative environment can come in handy in effectively getting a virtual meeting completed. Some environments can be quite distracting for the attendees, especially when the organizer is in this environment. It is proper etiquette for meetings to take place in a quiet and organized environment; therefore, the environment in use by each must conform to this requirement.

Ensuring Security

Virtual meetings are delicate in terms of the vulnerability it could pose when care is not the watchword. Most of the platforms usually get secured with end-to-end encryption keys, and access to the meeting is also secured and only accessible by those with passcodes or links. However, for the best virtual meetings that are safe from cyber insecurities, some measures need to be taken. This can include the avoidance of using email or social media platforms to share meeting links. Links to virtual meetings are advisable to get treatments of sensitive information. The sharing of meeting links and updates should be done on safer platforms to keep to this principle. For example, several platforms allow users to share important messages and sensitive materials in a secured environment. This function is also present in the DiliTrust board portal.