The new normal: navigating virtual meetings in 2020

9 September 2020

Even if you have tons of experience with in-person business meetings, you should brush up on best practices when it comes to virtual meetings in 2020.

Kompass International

By Kompass International

9 September 2020

With thousands of teams shifting to working from home, the use of virtual meetings has skyrocketed. According to data shared by IT service staff, Microsoft Teams alone experienced a 1,781% surge in meetings.

What’s more, some sources are predicting that remote operations will be the future for B2B companies. This is thanks to the fact that remote operations promise fewer overheads, access to wider markets, heightened productivity, and more.

To ensure successful remote strategies, communications and virtual meetings with other companies need to be well managed.

Virtual meetings can increase productivity and business reach. However, it’s important that they’re done right. If not set up and run properly, virtual meetings can devolve into time-draining and ineffective sessions.

To make sure that your company can handle remote meetings with ease, it’s essential that you know how to conduct a virtual meeting that’s issue-free.

Fortunately, there is a formula for effective virtual meetings. Read on to find out what it is and start managing remote meetings like a seasoned pro.

The importance of virtual meetings

Before we jump into how to run effective virtual meeting, let’s take a look at the current importance of them.

For B2B organizations to thrive, ongoing prospecting is essential. With the current situation, some B2B businesses may be putting prospecting on hold.

However, with effective virtual meetings, it is possible to engage with client companies, no matter what physical limitations be present. B2B businesses can use virtual meetings to not only foster local relationships but also to branch out into global markets and make contact with potential clients and distributors worldwide.

Pick the right platform

The first step to running effective virtual meetings is to select the right platform for your needs.

There are a plethora of applications available, such as Zoom, Google Meet, ClickMeet, GoToMeeting, and more.

The trick is to pick one which has suitable requirements for your application.

For example, are you going to be running meetings with a few hundred participants? If so, you don’t want to use Google Meet, as the maximum amount of participants the platform supports is 100. In this case, you could have a look at Zoom, which supports up 1,000 video call participants.

On the other hand, if there are specific security criteria for your meetings, you may want to avoid Zoom. This is because Zoom has some well-publicized security issues. This makes it unsuitable for meetings where sensitive information is likely to be shared.

Prep your participants

Once you have selected and set up a suitable platform, it’s time to brief your participants.

To ensure all meeting members have adequate time to prepare, make sure that you share your conference call link at least the day before the meeting is scheduled to take place. This gives participants time to prepare and get set up.

Request that participants test their connection early

You may want to recommend that everyone gets their video conferencing equipment up and tested the day before the meeting takes place and that they join the meeting five minutes before the start time.

The reason for this is if a few people on the call are struggling with their connection, microphone, or camera—this can eat up valuable time. Before you know it, 15 out of 45 minutes may have slipped by while everyone gets connected.

Send participants a remote meeting agenda

Depending on the type of meeting you are holding it can a good idea to send out an agenda.

Sending out an agenda for online business meetings ensures that everyone has a clear idea of what will be discussed and what the objectives are.

Take time zones into account

If you are going global, there’s a chance that you might have some participants in your meeting who are in different time zones.

To ensure full participation in group meetings online, you must ensure that the meeting times are achievable for all who will be present.

If you are working with widely opposing time zones, such as Russia and the US, it can be tricky to find convenient time slots. The trick is to look for windows of time that are acceptable for all participants and schedule during these periods.

If you are having trouble finding suitable time slots for your remote meeting, you might want to use a tool such as WoldTimeBuddy, which allows you to enter you participants’ locations, and then provides a table from which you can select optimal times.

Work to ensure that everyone has equal participation opportunity

Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of virtual meetings is that some participants can easily be overridden. Getting one’s point across is hard enough when you’re dealing with slight connection delays. If equal attention is not given to all participants, a lot of input can be lost, and communication can break down.

One technique for ensuring that all participants get a chance to contribute is to ask each member a question.

Follow up on virtual meetings

Once you have successfully wrapped up your virtual meeting, there is one final task you’ll want to undertake. And that is to follow up on the results of the meeting.

Chances are, decisions were made during the meeting and outcomes established. There might also be tasks associated with these outcomes that need to be delegated to your team members.

To ensure the objectives of the meeting are carried forward, it’s important that you communicate these in writing to the meeting participants. If any tasks were assigned, these should be outlined so that everybody knows who is responsible for what.

Do you need access to better data to present at remote meetings?

Virtual meetings have become increasingly important for B2B companies. With effective virtual meetings, you can reach new clients and distributors on both a local and international level.

Now that you know how to run effective and issue-free virtual meetings, all that’s left to do is set them up.

This is something that Kompass can help with. Our Export Missions services assist B2B companies to liaise meetings with potential distributors.

If you are ready to kickstart your prospecting strategy, you can also subscribe to EasyBusiness, our global prospecting solution that has a new key feature available: the multi-contact tool that allows you to send an email to up to 50 companies and executives at one time with just a few clicks.

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