In today’s business climate, social distancing is becoming the norm, and this has made it more challenging to schedule and hold meetings. This is not only because the new rules of working have meant that fewer people are in the office, but lockdowns and business closures have meant that more people are working from home, and there is a genuine lack of public spaces where meetings can be held.
Just think about it, in the days before COVID, you could walk into your local Starbucks and be sure to find at least one meeting going on. However, times and changed, and these days planning and holding meeting has changed. With that in mind, here are six tips to make the most of your meeting during COVID.
Understand That Things Have Changed
Whether this is the “new normal” or not, the fact is that things have changed, and as such, you need to rethink your approach meeting management. For starters, you need to make sure that only the relevant attendees are coming to the meeting, and you need to have an agenda in place as well to record the meeting. Doing so will ensure that the meeting remains on track, and there are concrete steps that can be taken after the meeting is over.
Also, you do not try to force things as sometimes it might be better to end a meeting early rather than letting ramble. In this way, you can ensure that the time is being used productively. This is important as many people are adjusting to their new working environment.
Lastly, make sure that everyone gets a chance to be heard. This is important as many of the attendees are not in the room, and as such, they might feel that they do not need to contribute or are distracted by something outside of the meeting. As such, you will want to give everyone a chance to add the dialogue – even if it is through the meeting chat or an offline conversation.
Sometimes the best meeting is no meeting. As such, you should be selective about the meetings you take part in and who you invite to join the meetings you are coordinating. Time is precious, and if you find yourself spending your entire day bouncing between conference calls, then you are probably not giving yourself enough time to get any real work done.
Lastly, do not let the fear of missing out (FOMO) force you into joining a call when you do not need to. This is especially true when it comes to webinars and other meetings. Sure, you might learn something from these sessions, but the only real reason to join them is if you need to attend for professional development. If not, then you are probably wasting time listening to someone else’s sales pitch. Again, there are better things to do.
Content Is King
If you do plan to attend a meeting but only want to be involved for one part of the agenda, which is pertinent to what you are doing, then make it a point to only join for that section of the call. The beauty of online meetings is that you easily enter or leave the meeting without disrupting the call for everyone else. Use this to your advantage, and you will find that you get the content you were looking for without the distraction.
Keep Things Moving Forward
It does not matter if the meeting is online or offline; things can easily get sidetracked if a plan is not in place. As such, you want to make sure you send you an agenda to everyone before the start of the meeting and that it is followed. While it might be necessary to change around the agenda items during the meeting or even to table some items for a later time, but having an agenda in place will help you to make sure that things are moving forward.
Know When to Say No
Every meeting should have a purpose, and your attendance should help to fulfill that purpose. If you come across a proposed meeting that does not meet this simple test, then say no. Doing so might force the organizer to think about why they called the meeting in the first place.
Blend the Physical with the Virtual
The odds are that not everyone will be able to join the meeting in person. As such, you will want to make sure that the site can support the needs of those attending in person with those who will be attending online.
As such, you will want to check the internet connection, cameras, microphones, and other items needed to facilitate a blended meeting before the start time. Doing so will ensure that you do not have to pause for technical difficulties or that those not attending in person feel left out.