Three Easy Tips for Better Virtual Meetings

by Jessica Delaney, Principal, Engagement + Strategic Communications

In March 2020, many of us moved fully into the virtual space. Microsoft Teams and Zoom became our new meeting space and with those came new opportunities and challenges to connect and meet. At Delaney we have been fortunate to be able to develop an entire course on producing virtual meetings, but if you don’t have time for the full course, here are three easy tips for better meetings.

  1. Have a speaking order: I always have an alphabetized list of participants (because people move around on the screen) so that I can go through the list for introductions and to ensure I know who exactly is in the room. Always use a speaking order and queue people for who’s up next. “We will go to Brittany and then Dan for introductions.”
  2. Use the naming function: If people don’t come in with their first name displayed, ask people to display their first name and organization. You can also use the naming function to support icebreakers, such as: “Please name yourself by your first name and your super power” (Jessica, Makes great soup)
  3. Mix it up: Break out groups, polls, Jamboard, Miro, Mural, annotate, play music, group stretch breaks – do something different every 30 minutes at a minimum. If we were meeting in-person it wouldn’t be odd for people to get up and stretch at the back of the room, or leave to go to the bathroom. Make people feel at ease in virtual meetings!

My experience has been that people tend to value efficiency over experience in a virtual meeting. And while this might be appropriate for short, internal meetings, the reality is that after nearly two years, many people are Zoomed-out. They are tired and it doesn’t need to be this way. We can have efficiency and still have time to connect human-to-human through a screen.