Everything you need to know about virtual meetings

Virtual Meeting Guide: Tips, Tricks and How to Host One Effectively

Say hello to effective, eco-friendly and successful virtual conversations (that your team will be excited to attend) with our virtual meeting guide.
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September 19, 2022

In recent years, virtual meetings have become much more popular and convenient for individuals, brands and organizations. The beauty about virtual meetings is being able to utilize them no matter where you are or the occasion of the meeting. Virtual meetings can be used for companies to collaborate productively and can even be held using a virtual event hosting platform. Here, our goal is for you to learn everything there is to know about virtual meetings.

What is a Virtual Meeting?

A virtual meeting is a type of interaction where people online are able to universally connect to accomplish a common goal or discussion. In the professional field, virtual meetings are typically held to allow colleagues to collaborate, reflect and speak on relevant topics. The majority of the time, people who join virtual meetings are located in different parts of the country or may be incapable of physically attending the live meeting. There are other cases where a group of people may be in the same building and someone may still choose to attend virtually due to convenience. 

When Should You Host a Virtual Meeting?

As stated before, virtual meetings are appropriate for several different reasons and/or occasions. In certain situations, it may be easier to host a virtual meeting rather than coordinating a physical meeting. As a host, it is important to learn about different types of virtual meetings and when it would be most appropriate to host the types of meetings depending on the audience and concept of focus. To get more familiar with different types of scenarios that would best benefit from a virtual meeting, check out these examples. 

  1. Meeting with Stakeholders, Clients or Potential Customers 

Sometimes making travel arrangements isn't an option which means hosting a virtual meeting with your client or stakeholders may be a more convenient and cost effective choice. Especially perfect for impromptu situations or follow-up questions, hosting a virtual meeting can be a quick communication tool amongst the host and attendees. 

  1. Hosting Remote Employers

With it being a new day and age, there are plenty of companies who are adapting to the fully remote or hybrid-style type of work week. Along with emailing or using a messenger chat platform, the most effective way for colleagues to communicate and work together is with a virtual meeting. With this method, people are able to have a “face to face” interaction in real-time and from the comfort of their own space. 

4 Types of Virtual Meetings

An advantage virtual meetings have over in-person meetings are how versatile they can be. Depending on the concept at hand, the type and size of the audience determines which type of virtual meeting you should host. As a host, you can also decide on the type of meeting style you would like to execute. For instance, would you want the presenter of the meeting to have the main focus or would you want the meeting to be engaging with the audience’s participation? 

The 4 types of virtual meetings are - 

1. Webinars

Serving as a variation of web conferences and seminars, webinars are a type of virtual meeting where panelists or a host present information and content to the virtual attendees. To help ensure the host has the attendee’s undivided attention, there are special features that can be used such as muting or hiding the audience during the presentation. 

On the other hand, webinars seem to be most appropriate for thought leadership or live demonstration sessions to help drive traffic and awareness towards a product or service you’re wanting to promote. This type of webinar can be helpful most for the attendees because they are encouraged to engage with questions or provide feedback. 

Read and Learn: How to Add Energy, Impact, and Results at Every Stage of Your Webinar

2. Web Conference 

Similar to video conferencing, web conferences are face to face interactions where the main goal is to brainstorm and utilize professional features such as whiteboarding, sharing and editing content.  

3. Video Conference 

Featuring quality video and audio software, video conferences may be the most common type of virtual meeting to host. Participating attendees are able to see and communicate with one another in real time as if they were in the same room. This is also beneficial for the host because they are able to view the virtual audience’s facial expressions or body language and easily address any concerns that may arise.  Overall, video conferencing is ideal for networking and building relationships amongst a group of people.

4. Teleconferencing

Teleconferences are different from modern day conferences due to their nature being audio-only. This type of virtual meeting is considered to be one of the easiest types to arrange and ideal for informal conversations because not as much technology is required. 

6 Benefits of Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings have a number of benefits for both attendees and the companies that host them. We’ll cover the top 6 benefits for hosting virtual meetings that many may not think of. 

1. Flexibility 

One of the most obvious advantages of hosting a virtual meeting is the flexibility of being able to host the meeting anywhere, as long as the internet connection is stable and reliable. With virtual meetings you also don’t have to worry about potential disruptions arising such as conflicting schedules or delays in travel. 

2. Encourages Productivity 

Virtual meetings also have the ability to encourage productivity amongst the team by everyone equally being able to contribute offering a variety of resources and features such as closed captioning, polling, screenshare and in-group chatting. 

3. Cost Effective

It’s no secret that hosting a virtual meeting would be more cost efficient than hosting an in person meeting. Some expenses you wouldn't have to worry about as a host would be accommodating travel, catering or securing a venue.  

4. Easily Adaptable

Hosting a virtual meeting is an option to keep in mind if unexpected challenges arise and you need to quickly switch gears. To ensure productivity and the mission of the meeting is still aligned, consider hosting a virtual meeting if any unpredictable mishaps occur.

Read and Learn: How to Add Energy, Impact, and Results at Every Stage of Your Webinar

5. Eco-Friendly

Choosing to host a virtual meeting has a positive effect not only for the individuals involved but also the planet. No carbon footprint is created, no disposable cutlery or containers are being used and the use of electricity won’t be used for a long period of time. 

6. Worldwide Networking

Convenient for connecting people who aren’t nearby each other, virtual meetings allow you to network and converse with people from all over the world. Whether you are strangers, colleagues or friends, virtual meetings are a great opportunity to collectively share common interests or discuss differences in a mindful manner. 

Virtual Meeting Features

As a host, you want to be able to cater to as many of your virtual attendees as possible. Deciding which virtual meeting platform to use and the features each platform offers plays a major role in keeping your audience engaged and overall running a successful virtual meeting. Here, we will discuss some quality features a virtual meeting platform should have to create the ultimate experience.

1. Screen Sharing 

Being able to share your desktop or any important webpages you have come across is super significant when collaborating or presenting virtually. The screenshare feature should also be interactive to allow other people within the meeting to edit or use the whiteboard in real time. 

2. High Definition Video and Audio Equipment

An effective virtual meeting should be able to stay live throughout the entire meeting without experiencing any type of technical difficulties. As a host, be sure to use high definition technology and high quality equipment so that the audience can connect, hear and see clearly.

3. Background Noise Removal

When planning a virtual meeting, consider investing in technology that is able to cancel out any unwanted noises that could potentially distract your audience. 

4. Direct and Group Messaging

Giving your audience the option to communicate through a group or direct message, allows them to speak freely among one another as the meeting proceeds. That way if any questions or observations arise, they can send it in the chat and you as the host or other attendees can respond or add on to the conversation.

5. Recordings & Transcripts 

Having the option to record a meeting as well as have it transcribed are extremely important to have as you go forward with a virtual meeting! Having a recording of your meeting saved allows those who were not there to have access to what they missed. Providing a transcription of the meeting is beneficial to those who may not have certain capabilities and find it easier to read what was covered. 

How Long Should a Virtual Meeting Last?

Quick and concise, virtual meetings should only last for about an hour or so. Making sure you present vital information in a short period of time can be achieved by breaking your virtual meeting into small segments. For example, depending on the type of content that is being shared, you could split your virtual meeting into three 20 minute segments or four 15 minute segments. Utilizing this tactic can be helpful with maintaining the audience’s focus and interest. 

Making virtual meetings fun

How to Create an Agenda for a Virtual Meeting

As with any meeting, preparing a meeting agenda helps you stay on track and ensures all the major key points have been covered. Below we will be touching on three different ideas on how to create an ideal virtual meeting agenda. 

1. Who is the Speaker for the Virtual Meeting?

A decision that must be made when planning your virtual meeting is deciding who the primary moderator or presenter will be. This should help the virtual meeting remain under control and transition smoothly. 

2. What Goals Would You Like to Accomplish?

Planning out the goals and objectives you would like to discuss during your virtual meeting gives you an idea of the order the meeting will take place, the type of audience you would like to invite to the meeting and dividing the time evenly between each concept that is included in the agenda.

3. Should the Virtual Meeting Agenda be Public or Private?

To ensure everyone involved in the virtual meeting is on the same page, be sure to send out the meeting agenda you prepared at least two weeks ahead of time. This allows the audience and anyone else the chance to review the information before the meeting actually goes live. It is advised to also send the meeting invite along with the meeting agenda so that all the meeting details can be received at once. 

How to Run a Successful Virtual Meeting

It may seem easy but there is a lot that goes into hosting a successful virtual meeting. Inviting the right number of people, selecting the appropriate virtual meeting platform and considering everyone’s schedule and the time zones they reside in all play an important factor. With our quick tips, you’ll become a virtual meeting expert!

1. Define Virtual Meeting Etiquette-

For your virtual meeting, setting some ground rules can help with implementing a smooth execution while remaining in control. Some etiquette rules you could apply towards your virtual meeting are:

  • Logging in 5-10 minutes before
  • Silencing mobile phone notifications
  • Having the audience test out their camera and microphone
  • Audience introductions before the meeting begins

2. Choose the Right Virtual Meeting Tools

There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to virtual meeting tools. Take stock of what features would best suit your meeting needs - from recording features to chat rooms and engagement features. With platforms like Hubilo, you can access all of those tools and more! When choosing a suitable meeting platform for your meeting, you’ll want to take into account the number of expected attendees, the features you’ll need during the meeting and if any collaborations will be involved. 

3. Create An Agenda 

As with most events, creating an agenda is a must. Agendas help not only attendees know what to expect during a meeting, but they also can help keep you on track during the entirety of the meeting. You can include as much or as little information on there as you’d like - just make sure you’re including all the essential elements like your talking points and subject. In addition, you’ll also want to take into consideration the time zones your guests are located in, identify the purpose of your meeting and the type of structure you’d want to pursue. 

4. Run the Meeting

Now that you have planned your virtual meeting in great detail, now it's time to actually implement your plans. Some important factors to keep in mind when launching your virtual meeting is to encourage your audience members to introduce themselves, ensure each member has a chance to speak, dedicate time to addressing any questions or concerns and lastly try to stick to the order of the agenda as best as possible. 

5. Host a Follow-Up Meeting Discussion

Once the meeting has concluded, consider sending your virtual attendees a summary of the meeting, call-to-actions that could be applied and information about any upcoming meetings or next steps. This is the perfect opportunity for you as a host to collect feedback from your audience and address any questions or concerns that may have occurred. Lastly, recording the minutes from the meeting may benefit you in the long run because if you ever have to go back to a topic that was covered, this is the best resource to refer to.  

What to do in a virtual meeting

Virtual Meeting Tips

1. Be punctual 

As a host, it is important to respect everyone’s time who may be involved with the virtual meeting; whether it be the audience members, stakeholders or clients. Try to have the same mindset as you would if you were hosting a physical meeting and begin the meeting at the designated time it is planned for. 

2. Choose an Appropriate Location 

Choosing the right location of where you’ll be while you’re hosting your virtual meeting is important because you want the location to be quiet, neutral and undistracting. It’s also important that of all participants, your internet connection, audio and video equipment are all stable since you are the host and coordinator of the meeting.

3. Remain on Track of the Discussion

Some virtual meeting styles are set up where the audience is able to contribute  feedback and potentially start an open discussion and sometimes that open discussion can veer off into a completely different topic. If this happens during your virtual meeting, it’s vital that you are able to regain everyone’s focus back on the topic at hand. If relevant enough, you can consider reviewing some of the topics that came up in conversation during the end of the virtual meeting.

4. Familiarize Participants 

As you go about your meeting, you want to make sure your participants have an idea on what the meeting is about. Not only should you familiarize them with the content, but you should also familiarize them with one another! This is especially important if your meeting includes members across all company teams, from finance to marketing. It’s common that members of different teams may not be familiar with each other, so including a fun opening ice breaker could be helpful! 

5. Engage Everyone

You want to make sure everyone is included in your meeting! Similar to our last pointer, there may be some members who rarely engage with each other on a daily basis, so finding ways to get everyone to engage is important! Include ice breaker activities, or have everyone share any exciting projects or assignments they’re working on either by talking about it or sharing it in a chat room. 

6. Manage Disruptions

Hosting a meeting virtually isn’t always easy, since you’ll most likely have people joining in from anywhere. To ensure disruptions like background noise are kept to a minimum, have everyone’s microphones muted initially until they are ready to speak. 

7. Provide A Wrap Up

Including a summary at the end of a meeting is a great way to summarize everything you covered. You can go over important decisions you came to as well as any action items or deliverables that need to be completed. 

8. Finish On Time

People are busy, and it’s more than likely that people in your company will have different meetings throughout the day that they need to attend. Because of this, be considerate of their time and try to finish on time. If people have questions that may take up extra time, suggest they message you with any questions they have or set aside another time to meet with people individually. 

Best Practices for a Virtual Meeting Engagement 

To ensure the ultimate experience and success for your virtual meeting, it is important to encourage engagement amongst your audience. Here are a couple of best practices to consider when planning the execution of a virtual meeting. 

1. Provide Experiential Elements- 

Incorporating experiential elements into your virtual meeting can certainly help with grasping your audience’s attention and engagement and establishing a relationship with your target audience. An example of an experiential factor could be supplying everyone with an e-gift card for lunch or livestreaming a virtual performance for everyone to enjoy. 

Download our free white paper and discover the Power of Experiential Webinars for Immersive Experiences

2. Gamify Your Meeting Goals-

Gamification is a concept that can be used to improve communication and make it more interactive. Typically gamification content acknowledges and awards participants based on their engagement and the accuracy of any questions that may have been answered. Examples of incorporating gamification within your virtual meeting could be creating a trivia quiz or poll questions at the end of the meeting and rewarding the person who performed the best. Gamifying your goals can create a stress free, casual environment as your audience is attending the meeting. 

It is important that you consider having the right structure and practices for your online meetings. Check out more such best practices for your virtual meeting engagement

Implementing a Virtual Meeting

Now that you have learned the fundamentals to creating and hosting a virtual meeting, it is time to actually apply everything that you’ve learned. If you need additional help when planning your virtual meeting, don’t be afraid to invest in a team that can assist you on an as-needed basis like Hubilo. As the production of virtual meetings evolve, it is important to familiarize yourself with the latest platforms and technology to ensure your virtual meeting runs as smoothly as possible. 

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