A Virtual Meeting Room is an online space where multiple participants can join a video call and participate in a real-time meeting over the internet. To ensure that your virtual meeting goes on smoothly here are 5 essential things you should keep in mind:

1. Be Prepared

For a  virtual meeting to be effective it will require a little more preparation than a regular meeting. Where in regular meetings you can be more casual with the agenda and the materials you provide, on a virtual meeting this can be disastrous. Luckily, some preparation can go a long way: 

- Send the agenda ahead of time to all participants. 

- Create visuals to reinforce your message and forward them to everyone before the meeting. 

- Select and invite the people who need to be involved. 

- Send log-in information (access codes, URLs, and call-in numbers) at least a day in advance. 

- Test for connectivity 15 minutes before starting.  

The actual room from where you are going to conduct the meeting should be ready to go. We suggest booking a conference room in advance to make sure you have a private, quiet space that will help have a better, more productive meeting. 

2. Choose the Right Technology

For a virtual meeting to take place all you need is an internet connection, audio and a webcam (and others to join in on the call). For large online meetings, you might consider keeping all cameras off to prevent the internet connection from slowing down. All of the above can be found at any one of our meeting rooms, so the only thing left to do is to make sure you choose the right software to host your meeting.

Have you ever spent the first 5 minutes of a remote meeting trying to figure out if everyone can hear everyone else or if someone disconnected? If the answer is yes, then you know how much time unreliable technology and bad connections can waste. Consider using new platforms like Skype for Business, Go to Meeting, and Zoom. 

3. Remove distractions

Virtual meetings can be held practically anywhere in the world; a meeting room, coffeehouse, airport lounge, coworking space,  home office, etc. When you pick a space, make sure you are picking the one with the least distractions and background noise.

You sHould also consider opting to mute all attendees and only take questions via the chat box, in order to reduce the background noise from all participants. 

Another great strategy is to keep the focus of the meeting on one or two topics. If there are more items to be covered make sure you give people a little break so they can stretch, go to the bathroom or get more coffee. 

Keep each segment of the meeting short - no longer than 30 minutes, 25 minutes being ideal. This ensures that everyone stays focused and distractions are kept to a minimum. 

4.  Etiquette

Remember that you are in a meeting, even if it is virtual, proper etiquette must be observed:

- Start on time. 

- Give your full attention to the participants. 

- Don’t get distracted by e-mail, texting or internet surfing. 

- Suggested reading: Etiquette to Remember During a Virtual Meeting

5. Keep Participants Engaged 

You can engage remote participants and keep a personal connection going by asking questions frequently.  Make sure your questions are specific, asking open-ended questions can lead to silence as these tend to result in “dead air” followed by multiple people talking at once. 

Another strategy you can use to keep participants engaged is to collaborate on documents in real time or use chat rooms to share important links and files. 

With the right techniques and tools a virtual meeting can often be more productive than a regular meeting!