Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Holding remote meetings, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
Imagine for a moment that an NFL coach shows up for a playoff game with no plan, no agenda, and hasn't prepared anyone else to coach the game. What do you think the team's chances are of performing effectively? When holding a remote meeting, there are similar things to take into consideration. Is your team prepared? Are you prepared? Do you know how you're getting from start to finish? Let's explore some things that can help you run an effective meeting with your remote team.
A coach has his playbook, you have your agenda. A well planned, well constructed agenda can be an extremely useful tool for remote meetings. Here are a few suggestions to make your agenda more useful. Spend time planning your agenda and this means gathering any presentations necessary, arranging the order in an appropriate way so the meeting flows, and making sure the right people will be attending. Include details.
Aside from the typical date and time, remote teams benefit from having additional documented information, including the purpose of the meeting. all intended outcomes, names of all the participants, the time slots for each agenda item, names of the presenters and the title and purpose of their presentation, time for Q and A, the conference call number and pin or web conference link. After you have prepared a sound agenda, there are things you can do to ensure you leverage that agenda appropriately.
First, prepare everyone. Send out the agenda, the presentation materials, and anything that needs to be done in advance that could help your meeting run more efficiently. For example, if you want your team to brainstorm some best practices for managing an account, you can request they come prepared with a few ideas rather than spending time during the meeting thinking of alternatives. Second, have a backup. Prepare one of your team members to lead in your absence.
This gives other team members the experience of managing remote teams and that can actually help them be better remote team members. You might also consider creating a secondary conference line for attendees to use in case there are technical difficulties with the primary line. This could save you time and limit the risk of losing momentum if you have to switch lines mid meeting. After you've prepared a good agenda, communicated objectives thoroughly, and have implemented backup approaches, here are a few other tips to consider.
First, occasionally have everyone dial in to a team meeting, even your local team members. This can help equalize the dynamics amongst remote and local team members. Next, ensure you get input from each team member during team calls. And lastly, ask is there anything we should know about before getting started? This allows people to share anything that might cause them to participate in a different manner than normal. For example, one response I got to this very question was, "Yeah, I might have to hop off the call "to support my daughter as she's supposed "to have her baby any day now." Just like the NFL coach does with each of his games, you could use the same basic structures and techniques with each one of your remote meetings.
The key to running these meetings is to keep your team on track, spend your time in an efficient and effective manner, and keep things logistically simple. You may not win a Superbowl, but you can ensure your team performs at its best.
Discover how to build rapport, set mutual expectations, communicate, connect, overcome conflict, get work done, and grow the team. Also included is a look at the top five challenges managers face in leading remote teams and helpful solutions that will get your team on track.
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