Today, more and more of us are ditching the office and working remotely. Having workers go remote certainly has many advantages, from reducing costs at in-house locations, to shrinking our company’s carbon footprint. But one area of remote teamwork that’s endured some growing pains are meetings. How has the traditional conference call changed? How can we ensure our next meeting goes smoothly? Here are five ideas for your next team meeting.
#1. Video chat.
A good portion of us definitely benefits from seeing our team member’s faces. It lets us measure their level of engagement, and lends more identity to the individual we’re always emailing. We can also pick up important cues and impressions when we can see facial expressions.
The only real barrier to excellent video meetings has been internet connectivity – getting everyone on board with good internet and no lag can be tricky. But we find that the ability to share our screen and show our work in real time can be worth the odd technical snafu.
#2. Conference call.
The classic conference call has become more attractive to remote teams thanks to a few upgrades. First, we have better cell reception than we did a decade or more ago, so we can take those calls where and when we need. Second, various conference call services now allow recording, so we can review what was shared.
#3. Text chat.
Regular text chat, through services like Slack or Google Hangouts, is best for more casual check-ins, where there is a small agenda. However, text chat can be great for important conversations where two to three people are involved. This way, meeting members can go back and review text easily if there are important points they need to come back to.
#4. Make good use of extra features.
No matter which platform you select, be sure to go through and see what additional features can optimize your time spent in meetings. For instance, you should assess whether or not the ability to record, share files, and screen share is key for your meeting.
#5. Always test the tech first.
If you’re leading the meeting, there’s no way you can go in without testing the software or platform first. Do a few “dry runs” with an associate first to ensure you can troubleshoot basic problems on the fly. This will also allow you to give meeting members a few tips for using the platform prior to the meeting. The last thing we want is for our authority to crash and burn with the technology the moment the meeting begins.
Remote workers often don’t have to attend as many meetings as in-house workers. This can be a good thing, as some positions find us in daily meetings that eventually seem devoid of any point. You can bring your remote team together for worthwhile discussions about your latest project via video, voice, chat, or all three, depending on your mood and needs that day. Just do your research beforehand to get the most benefit out of your tools, and learn how to solve common problems yourself.