There is no denial for the physical meetings. However, the virtual meeting is the need of time. It is one fruit that technology offers to businesses, be it small or big. Unlike physical meetings, arranging and executing virtual meetings is a lot more different. This article covers what is a virtual meeting and the aspects involved to be taken care of.
A virtual meeting is when people, instead of being at a different physical location with a difference of time, communicate. This is enabled through technology, and people can connect through video or audio conferences, share documents, presentations, and attachments, etc. The virtual meeting offers numerous benefits, but those benefits are accompanied by certain matters for executing a successful meeting.
These meetings are not for assisting business meetups and coordination only. Today students, doctors, and counselors also take advantage of virtual meetings for taking their classes and sessions, respectively. Virtual meetings are conducted through numerous apps and software. Zoom and Google Meet are the most popular tools in recent times.
Benefits of a virtual meeting
Virtual meetings are conducted in real-time. This is an effective and productive way to communicate and address the business issue, just as you do during those one-on-one meetings. No matter what geographical differences you share, the virtual meeting allows you to instantly connect to anyone across the city or around the world. The medium used for the virtual meeting also allows screen recording, which can be used as minutes for meeting for communicating to upper management.
Virtual meetings are one convenience added to businesses. This saves money and time, enabling managers and owners to communicate effectively, make needed changes in processes, and make timely decisions. The virtual meetups are supported by multiple features and tools to offer productive and result-orientated sessions. Business managers may adopt online meeting tools as a medium to upgrade employee skills through arranging the training.
Employees and managers can attend these meetings conveniently, even on their mobile phones. Even the processes involved in arranging physical meeting includes lots of energies, and workforces can be avoided via virtual meetings.
Virtual meeting saves many numbers under the head of expenses in a company’s balance statement. When there is a need to collaborate with remote employees or the ones working in another branch across the country or globally, it includes huge costs. These costs involve traveling, accommodation, car rentals, and allowances costs. Physical meetings also include arranging the room for conferences with the extra load on electricity, office supplies, refreshments for employees, etc. On average, all money involved in arranging physical meetings eats up multiple times the money compared to the budget required by virtual ones.
Remote or dispersed employees
A virtual meeting serves as a great tool to bring up your remote and geographically dispersed employees to communicate together. Virtual meetings help students take classes and obtain anticipated skills or education from their desired professors or university. Even obtaining counseling sessions is made possible through virtual meetings.
Meeting with prospects and clients
Virtual meetings are a great option for having a word with your clients, including existing and potential ones. Many business meetings are lingered on for the availability of clients and prospects for arranging meetups. Virtual meetings are then an answer to those unavailabilities and for having a conversation with your clients within their comfort zone.
Apart from cost benefits, the virtual meeting also proves to be an eco-friendly option. Going green with online meetings saves the earth from the carbon footprint caused by traveling. You save earth from lots of food wastage and trash of disposable crockery, i.e., cups, plates, etc., which are incurred for facilitating employees when they are called at a specific physical location.
Requirements for virtual meetings
For conducting any virtual meeting, you need a very few things:
- A device, which may be your computer, laptop, tablets, or mobile phone.
- A medium means software or Application. For example, Skype, Zoom, Google meetup, etc.
- A good internet connection.
Kinds of virtual meeting
As we name our physical meetings depending on their nature like conference, group discussing, a training session, etc., there are terms one must be familiar with, for virtual meetings.
This kind of virtual meeting a hosted by one or few members. The webinar includes numerous attendees, and these meetings are arranged as orientations or training sessions with an average duration of 60 minutes. These can be conducted live, pre-recorded sessions, or on-demand presentations.
These meeting often includes active participation by all its members who are usually from upper management. Virtual conferences are arranged for sharing multi-content and networking.
These events are of two types: Internal and External. Internal hybrid events include departmental meetings, sales commencements, training, etc. Internal hybrid is used to communicate and team up its scattered employee, be it within the country or outside.
On the other hand, External hybrid events are arranged outside the organization but within the industry of your business. These events are mostly aimed at networking.
Planning and hosting
To enjoy the perks of virtual meetings their certain aspects to address that include planning and hosting. Usually, IT people are given the responsibility to organize the setup. Still, as virtual meetings are adopted as the new norm for any business, it is mandatory to educate your staff about the basics. Many of the line staff may not know what is a virtual meeting. Training the end-users is also a part of planning and hosting a virtual meeting to make the most out of it.
The understanding audience, the number of attendees, agendas to cover, duration of the meeting, feedbacks from participants are some basics as to plan for a virtual meeting. Engaging people is the most challenging task while having a virtual meeting. People tend to distract from their varying physical environments, including switching to other applications and activities during the meeting. Let’s present you with some ways for addressing those challenges:
Data to be shared
As a planner and host for a virtual meeting, one must arrange all the documents and other related work beforehand. Improper Planning with glitches will only distract the audience, and you will lose their attention. A planner must also consider a spare internet connection, just in case.
Theme and dress code
For sure virtual meetings are a convenient way to communicate for every participant. However, maintaining certain professional aspects is necessary. This means to communicate a business theme or reasonable dress code for appearing in the meeting. Going causal while working from home or remotely is normal practice. But it is always recommended to dedicate a certain workstation and dress up when you are working, despite your physical location.
Through virtual meetings, an employer can connect employees who are working in varying locations. Breaking the ice and connecting your workforce helps them work efficiently by using the expertise of each other. This connection and networking also spill results in terms of mutual interest, efficiency, and accuracy.
Switching the videos on
People tend to distract when they know they are not being seen. Making your employees turn on their cameras immensely helps in enjoying and hosting a real-time meeting. When the cameras on each employee or even student are turned on, every participant behaves consciously and participates actively. Facial expressions and body languages are crucial factors. Video communication allows you to read those 67% non-verbal signs during a meeting. Some stats reveal that 87% of people are more connected through videoconferencing.
Having and using controls
A host of virtual meetings has certain controls over its participants. The controls should be used to make the meeting more productive and address the agendas more precisely. One of that controlling tools is ‘mute.’ A host can disable its participants for having a smooth meeting. Often meetings are distracted when participants start discussion during the session.
A host may allow other members to speak when there is a need to unmute certain members to speak.
Sharing stats and reports between employees and wait until their response is received is a hassle that involves many reminders and a waste of time. Sharing those data with employees and even with upper management to be reviewed can be a great time saver. Through this practice, you ask them to review the stats during the meeting; this even serves as reporting to realize the progress and take decisions accordingly.
Call it a trend or new norm; Virtual meetings are a need of time. Be it an employer, employee, student, and any professional, one must understand basic terms and learn to use the tools for these meetings. Half of the world may not know what is a virtual meeting, but after 2020 this was the most used way to communicate around the world, be it for internal use or external.
Along with numerous benefits, the virtual meeting also includes certain challenges to address, and the most difficult one is to keep the attendees engaged during the meeting. This article has provided you with some tips as to overcome those challenges and for being a responsive host.
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