Second, conducting virtual meetings with clients or other franchise locations helps in seeing the other parties without the expense of travel.
An online meeting is a bit different from a regular face-to-face meeting, and has its own challenges, which you can overcome by following the advice in this blog.
Set Ground Rules – Some managers prefer to send out agendas before physical meetings, and doing so is imperative for virtual ones as well. First off, you want to include an agenda for what the meeting will cover. Expect some technical difficulties with internet connections, so if any members can’t hear for a minute, they can easily catch up with a written agenda of topics. Furthermore, set up rules for how to act during the meeting; you may want to ask them to mute sound if they are not speaking to block out any background noise from each of their respective locations. Include a start time and how the participants should log on, using any numbers or access codes.
Solicit Participation – It’s often hard enough to pay attention in a meeting when you stuck in a room with the other participants, but it’s especially difficult to do so when you are alone following along on your computer. If you get a work email or a text, you will likely turn your attention there and lose track of what’s happening in the virtual meeting. Therefore, ask your staff to pay attention, and monitor that by constantly calling on individuals to provide insight or answer questions. This will keep all employees clued into the meeting, for fear of getting called on and not knowing what to say.
Keep It Short – Remember that since it’s harder to keep people’s attention when they are in different locations, and due to time differences, it is better to keep teleconferences short. While it may be afternoon for you, it can be dinnertime for someone in another country, so be mindful of the clock. Discuss the important points, and leave the minute details to email to be figured out later.
Virtual meetings provide a space to interact with your staff members in real time. However, they have certain challenges that meetings in one location do not. As long as you are mindful of them, and address them, you should have a successful meeting.