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How to make meetings effective for remote and onsite staff

Online meeting cartoon
Remote or onsite, being present is the foundation of every meeting

I used to hate meetings for many different reasons.

Some meetings felt like a coworker with a big ego was putting on a show for an audience. Others took so long that I didn’t get anything done that day. 

The worst kind was when I didn’t have anything to add, which made me question why I was there in the first place.

My husband’s workplace had an interesting meeting policy. If the meeting lasted longer than an hour, the host was required to feed the attendees out of their own pockets.

After that rule was put in place, everyone started having 15-minute catch ups while standing up. Everyone was more efficient! This wasn’t a hard-and-fast rule, though, because some news, reports, and decisions still required a long discussion.

The success of your business depends on how well your team can talk to each other. This is why meetings are required. But not all of them are useful and could help move the business forward.

How can both remote and on-site employees get more out of forums? Here are some pointers:

Set the most important factor in meetings

It doesn’t make sense to call a meeting if you don’t know what you would like to talk about. Before scheduling a meeting, you need to have an agenda. This is the most important thing you should think about.

All of the things that need to be talked about must be on the agenda. 

If there are other things to include that aren’t on the list, it’s best to set up a separate conversation so that everyone can focus on what’s on the plan for the current huddle.

Choose the ideal meeting duration

Some entrepreneurs or executives spend hours at conferences. This might be fine if there are a lot of things to talk about, but it will make the people there less productive.

When a meeting goes on longer than expected, everyone will be tired from coming up with ideas, giving input, and listening to what others have to say. The answers would lose their value over time.

The length of the meeting needs to be set ahead of time so that everyone knows what to expect. Consider the attention span of the average adult.

If you have to talk for an hour, make sure everyone is involved so they don’t get bored. Most of the time, a meeting shouldn’t last more than 25-45 minutes.

Make sure everyone is listening

One of the things a host has to do is to ensure everyone is on the same page. Because each person there is important, you need to make sure that everyone is paying attention.

You can do this by getting their attention when you see them doing something else or being distracted.

For example, you could say their names and ask what they think about the subject at hand, or you could ask each person in turn if they have any questions or want to know more before moving on to the next section.

Use meeting administration tools

If you were holding a town hall meeting in person, you could use a projector. It makes it easy to show your presentation to the whole team.

You could use video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet to hold online meetings, which are becoming more common. These tools have share-screen features that can help you show everyone your numbers and data.

TIP: Don’t set up the projector or share your screen if your presentation doesn’t look good.

Even if you’re showing the same old data in this week’s presentations, you can always spice it up with design. Engage your audience with a well-designed deck to break up the monotony and give your colleagues something to look forward to.

Deer Designer can design your presentation for you, so you don’t have to break a sweat. In fact, we can give you a new themed deck every week if that’s what you want.

Presentation designs by Deer Designer

Show up and be there

Whether the meeting is in person or online, everyone needs to pay attention and contribute for it to be a success. The host and presenters are responsible, but you can help by taking part in activities or just keeping your video on.

Meeting management can be hard, but if you have a good presentation, the right starting tools, and the right knowledge, you will be an expert at making meetings work well.