One of the key tasks of any leader working with an international team is to ensure that meetings are viewed as effective, clear and ‘must attend’ sessions.
However, many virtual team meetings can all too often be seen as unproductive, confusing and a waste of time.
There is a need to focus on each of the core elements of the meeting and plan each element with care and attention:
- Pre-meeting planning
- Use of agendas
- The role of the chairperson
- Ensuring total team involvement
- Agreeing action
- Following-up after the meeting
The easiest way to plan effectively for any virtual meeting is to ask yourself the following five very simple questions:
Who should be invited?
- Why am I calling the meeting?
- You need to be clear in your own mind why the meeting is going to take place. If you are not clear of the purpose of the meeting, then it is unlikely that anybody else will be convinced of the need for it either.
- Is a meeting the best way to achieve the goal you have set yourself?
- Might the goal be achieved through a different method?
- Put yourself in the shoes of the other attendees. Will they see a point to the meeting?
- Think about this issue well in advance of the meeting not 30 minutes before the meeting is due to start
Meetings can only be truly effective when you have the necessary attendees present. Think hard about who exactly needs to be invited. Do not fail to achieve your aims because you realize during the meeting that a vital participant is missing.
- Is it obvious who needs to be invited?
- Think laterally – don’t let the meeting collapse by failing to think slightly outside the core team
- If the meeting is a decision-making meeting, ensure that all the key people are invited well in advance to ensure they do not have other diary commitments
- Be very careful about playing ‘politics’ by deciding not to invite somebody you feel is a difficult character – this can often lead to problems in the future