The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
What is one way you ensure that remote meetings are effective and engaging?
1. Hold High Expectations
As a completely virtual company with 20 employees all across the country, we expect anyone on a video or phone call to show up and impress everyone around the table. Those expectations and that level of engagement has permeated our culture.
– Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
2. Set a Specific End Time
We’ve all been stuck in never-ending meetings when we could have been focusing on our key priorities. Make it clear that you will cover a specific agenda and end at a given time. This will focus the discussion and let people know when they can get back to their other projects.
– John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation
3. Specify a Purpose
All of our meetings have a purpose and a stated agenda. As a company with no central location, we’ve worked hard to create a company culture. We communicate through regular meetings so that, even as we grow, every employee knows what’s going on within the company and strives toward our common goal. We don’t believe in meeting just for the sake of meeting.
– David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
4. Add a Personal Touch
We are a wireless, decentralized team of seven. When we have meetings, we always start by sharing one personal and one professional win. Next, we jump into the core discussion and stick to a tight agenda. To end each meeting, we do a one-word close that usually puts a smile on everyone’s face. This format has worked well for us, and it keeps the team positive and engaged.
– Mark Krassner, Knee Walker Central
5. Reduce Distractions
We will often set ground rules prior to the meeting. One very important rule is to put away the smartphone (unless it’s required for the meeting) and focus on the task at hand. Also, have a clear agenda and share your team’s notes with everyone via virtual whiteboards or other software.
– Michael Quinn, Yellow Bridge Interactive
6. Make a Specific Agenda
Lay out an agenda, even if it’s loose, beforehand. While it’s good to let things flow, you want to make sure key things are being discussed. Also, consider each minute a token. If you are blabber on about needless things, you are spending that token of time. Save your tokens — they’re worth more than money.
– Jonathan Swerdlin, Fdbk
7. Stick to Your Agenda
Meetings are difficult in a remote setting, so you should set a firm agenda and stick to it. At my company, we make sure to send out a lot of written material beforehand. Set aside five minutes at the beginning of the meeting for everyone to quietly read it, and then start the meeting.
– Wade Foster, Zapier
8. Do a Screen Share
Doing a screen share is a great way to keep people engaged during a remote meeting because it’s visually stimulating. Our team usesGoogle Hangouts and join.me. We can show each other exactly what we’re discussing, and no one gets lost or confused during the meeting. It keeps everyone on the same page and makes the meeting more effective.
– Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
9. Simplify the Process
In general, meetings can be detrimental to productivity, but remote meetings can squelch productivity even more so. Simplify the entire process by only hosting meetings when they’re absolutely necessary, only pull in the people you need to and use video services where possible to keep people engaged. Voice-only meetings allow people to multi-task, and you lose that personal connection.
– Erin Blaskie, Next Dev Media
10. Take Breaks
People need time to refresh — especially if you’ve just presented a large amount of data or information. Plus, it’s harder for attendees to keep up in a virtual meeting. Speak slowly, and take a break once every 30 minutes.
– Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
11. Use Video Calls
Remote or not, agendas are a must in every meeting. A major challenge for remote meetings is that you can’t experience the social cues of your counterparts. Video calls are a good way to work around that.
– Stephen Ufford, Trulioo