Stop Wasting Time: Plan and Host Effective Virtual Meetings

Planning your next virtual meeting? Read our guide and learn best practices you can use for your next event online.

Are you tired of wasting time in ineffective virtual meetings? If so, you're not alone. A lot of people struggle with virtual meeting productivity, but the main reason for that is lack of planning.

If you want to learn how to plan and host virtual meetings that actually get results, read on. These tips will help you make the most of your online meeting time, so you can get back to doing what you do best.

What are virtual meetings?

In short, virtual meetings are online meetings. This kind of online meetings works wonders for staying connected with team members, clients, and colleagues who are spread out geographically.

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Virtual meeting benefits

#1 Less hassle than with in person meetings

In person meetings tend to be more expensive and time-consuming than virtual ones. You have to account for travel time and costs, as well as the cost of the venue itself. Virtual meetings eliminate all of that.

Plus, with virtual meetings, you don't have to worry about things like weather or traffic affecting your meeting. We've all been in situations where an in person meeting has been canceled or rescheduled because of a snowstorm (or any other circumstances). That's not an issue with virtual meetings, as you only need a stable internet connection to make a conference call.

#2 Improved efficiency in your company

Productivity can make or break a company. And virtual meetings help boost productivity in a few ways, so you may want to start your search for a comprehensive virtual meeting solution right now.

Virtual meetings allow for better scheduling. If you have team members in different time zones, say one is in Italy and the others are in North America, it can be difficult to find a meeting time that works for everyone. But with virtual meetings, you can easily accommodate different schedules by hosting the meeting online.

They eliminate distractions. In person meetings are often interrupted by things like phone calls or people walking in and out of the room. But when you're on a conference call, those distractions disappear.

Virtual meetings also allow you to record the meeting and share it with team members who couldn't make it. That way, everyone is on the same page and no one has to waste time catching up. And that's the beauty of meetings in virtual environment.

#3 Increased inclusivity

With the right virtual meeting etiquette, you can make everyone feel like they're part of the conversation, no matter where they are.

With virtual meeting tools that allow people to share their screen or whiteboard, everyone can see what's being discussed and follow along easily. No one is left behind, everyone is actively involved, and you're proud of your successful virtual meeting, again.

#4 Flexibility to the brim

Virtual meetings seem to be the perfect solution for many companies, as they offer flexibility that had been unheard of before. Meeting attendees can connect to a team meeting via a virtual meeting platform, quickly adjust a meeting agenda, and make the most of virtual meeting capabilities. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the online meeting industry is growing by leaps and bounds.

#5 More cost-effective option

Running virtual meetings is often associated with lower costs. And that’s one of the main reasons why this type of meeting has become so popular in recent years.

There are several cost-saving advantages of virtual meetings. For example, you don’t have to worry about travel expenses or renting a meeting office space. You can also save on administrative costs, as you don’t need someone to book a meeting room or order food and drinks.

Persuaded yet? Let's see some good practices for your next virtual meeting.

Best practices for virtual meetings

#1 Get everyone on the same page

Before you start your virtual meeting, make sure that everyone is on the same wavelength. Send out a meeting agenda or list of topics to be discussed beforehand so that everyone can come prepared. Everyone should know how to use the virtual meeting platform you’re using, so you should ensure your team is instructed and comfortable with the virtual meeting tools.

#2 Set up the start and end of your meeting

It can be tempting to start your virtual meeting a few minutes late or let it run over by a few minutes, but it’s important to start and end on time. An effective virtual meeting shouldn't last more than an hour, and, in many cases, 20 minutes online meeting is more than enough.

This shows respect for everyone’s time and helps to keep the meeting focused. If possible, you should also avoid scheduling virtual meetings back-to-back so that there’s time for a break in between.

#3 Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking

One of the challenges of virtual meetings is that there can be a lot of background noise if everyone has their microphone on. To avoid this, it’s best to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking. This way, only the person who is speaking will be heard, and there won’t be any distractions from background noise. Fewer distractions mean greater productivity and a more successful virtual meeting.

If you’re the one leading the virtual meeting, you can also mute everyone’s microphone except for yours. This can be helpful if there are a lot of people in the meeting and it’s difficult to keep track of who is speaking. 

#4 Tune in with your camera

A bit on a controversial note, but attend virtual meetings with your camera on! You might be wondering why this is important. Well, for one thing, it helps to build trust and connection between meeting participants. It also makes it easier to follow who is speaking and to pick up on social cues non-verbally.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you’re not in a well-lit area or if your internet connection is poor, then it’s best to turn your camera off. But, if possible, try to have your camera on during virtual meetings. Some virtual meeting software offer virtual backgrounds as part of their offering, so you can have a nice, professional-looking background even if you're working from home. Or hire backend developers and get your own platform with unique and special features. 

#5 Keep your virtual meetings interactive

There is nothing worse than a meeting online that feels like a lecture. To keep your virtual meetings interactive, try to engage all participants as much as possible. You can do this by designing an engaging presentation, asking questions, doing polls or surveys, and using the chat function, but that's not the only method.

Virtual meetings can be more challenging than face to face meetings because it’s easy for people to tune out when they’re not physically in the same room together. To help keep people engaged, try to make your virtual meetings as interactive as possible. This could mean doing things like going around the room and having each person share their thoughts on a topic or using breakout rooms for small group discussions.

Even the most casual conversation can benefit from being interactive, so don’t be afraid to mix things up and keep people on their toes. The goal is to make sure that everyone is involved in the virtual meeting and engaged in the discussion.

#6 Don't schedule meetings in a row

Since virtual meetings can be taxing on your attention span, it’s important to take breaks throughout the meeting. This could mean taking a five-minute break every hour or setting aside time at the end of the meeting for people to step away from their computers for a few minutes.

To get your team focused on the task at hand, avoid scheduling virtual meetings back-to-back. This will give everyone a chance to take a break, grab a coffee or snack, and prepare for the next meeting.

Plus, it’ll help to ensure that people are actually paying attention during the virtual meeting instead of just trying to get through it so they can move on to the next thing.

#7 Summarize the meeting with key takeaways

Meeting virtually means that there is little to no time for small talk at the beginning or end of the meeting. So, to make the most of your virtual meeting time, end with a summary of the key takeaways.

This is the result of your online meeting – a batch of actionable insights that everyone is taking with them. It matters the most especially in a disrupted remote team that needs to rely on training sessions and remote meetings held online.

#8 Allow accessing the meeting from mobile devices

You can't assume that your meeting attendees will always be in a room, ready to attend your virtual meeting. Meeting participants will often be on the go, which means they might not have access to a laptop or desktop computer.

To make sure that everyone can attend your virtual meeting, regardless of their location, allow people to join the meeting from their mobile devices. A good way to do this is by creating a QR code that links to the meeting. This way, even if someone is out of the office or working from home, they’ll still be able to join the virtual meeting and participate in the discussion.

#9 Make sure that screen sharing works perfectly

With screen sharing, you can share your screen with other virtual meeting participants. This is a great way to give presentations, demo products, or show websites,inventory spreadsheet and documents. But, before you start sharing your screen, make sure that the screen sharing function is working properly. Many virtual meeting solutions allow you to test your screen sharing before the meeting starts, so take advantage of that feature.

#10 Use virtual meeting platforms as collaboration tools

Many companies use video meetings like mirrors – they hold virtual meetings to discuss what was done both online and offline. But, virtual meeting platforms can be used for so much more than just holding meetings. These platforms can also be used for collaboration and brainstorming.

You're only a reliable internet connection away from making the most of your online meeting – use integrations, add-ons, and virtual meeting features to make the most of your time. For example, you can use a video meeting platform to hold a virtual brainstorming session on knowledge retention or collaborate on meeting notes in real-time. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and see what you can accomplish with virtual meetings.

#11 Record your online meeting

Let's say that one team member couldn't make it, or someone wants to go back and review what was discussed during the virtual meeting. In these cases, you can record your virtual meeting. This way, everyone can access the meeting recording, regardless of whether they were able to attend the live virtual meeting.

Most virtual meeting platforms allow you to record meetings with just a few clicks. And, you can usually download the meeting recording or save it in the cloud so that it's always accessible.

#12 Take learnings for your next video conferences

Not always everything will go according to the plan, so it's important to ask for a web conferencing feedback from everyone involved in the process. Remote meetings are still a relatively new concept for many people, so you should learn from your mistakes. After each virtual meeting, take some time to reflect on what went well and what could be improved. This way, you can make sure that each meeting is more successful than the last.

How to pick the best virtual meeting software?

#1 Look at features

Do you need breakout meeting rooms for your virtual events, do you care about audio conferencing quality, or would you like to include some virtual meeting icebreakers? With the right virtual meeting platform, you can take video conferencing to a brand new level and make it more interactive, engaging and fun.

#2 Verify pricing

Your virtual meeting software doesn't have to be expensive to be good. In fact, there are many awesome virtual meeting platforms that offer great features for small businesses and for great pricing options. However, if you need more advanced features, such as screen sharing or recording, you might have to pay a monthly fee.

#3 Test the platform

You need to double check your video capabilities before you host the first virtual meeting, and to do so, it's best to use the virtual meeting software itself. This way, you can make sure that everything works properly and that there are no glitches. You might have a good internet connection, but the video conferencing software might still not deliver.

#4 Check the integrations

Nowadays, virtual meeting platforms come with a variety of integrations that can make your life easier. For example, you can integrate your virtual meeting platform with your CRM or project management software to keep all of your data in one place and avoid confusion.

#5 Verify security

When it comes to virtual meetings, security is always a top concern. After all, you're dealing with sensitive information, and you don't want any uninvited guests. So, before you choose a virtual meeting platform, make sure that it offers enterprise-grade security features.

#6 Read reviews

As mentioned earlier, virtual meetings are still a relatively new concept, which is why it's so important to read virtual meeting software reviews before you make a decision. This way, you can learn from the experience of other users and avoid making the same mistakes.

#7 Check the platform's compatibility

Before you pick a virtual meeting platform, you need to make sure that it's compatible with the devices that you and your team use. Otherwise, you might run into technical difficulties during the virtual meeting, and that's the last thing you'd want!

#8 Ensure interactivity

Even if you don't need these features right now, your online meetings might benefit from virtual meeting software that offers them. For example, if you ever need to host a virtual event, you'll be glad to have a virtual meeting platform that supports live streaming and webinars. And, if you're in need of virtual meeting icebreakers, you should get features to create them.

Picking the right software is essential for the overall success of your business.

For effective video meetings, you should choose a virtual meeting tool that checks all the boxes above. 

Picking the right software is essential for the overall success of your business.

For effective video meetings, you should choose a virtual meeting tool that checks all the boxes above. LiveWebinar is one of them.

LiveWebinar – your new virtual meeting platform

If you're looking for the right solution for web conferencing for multiple time zones, rediscover virtual meetings with LiveWebinar.

LiveWebinar is the most complete platform for virtual conferences on the market, as it offers an extensive set of features for webinars, live streaming, and virtual meetings. Your online meetings and web conferences can be easily converted into virtual events that will engage and delight your audience.

LiveWebinar features to love include:

#1 Breakout rooms

Many video conferences are dull and lack engagement. If you want to make sure that everyone is paying attention, you can use breakout rooms. With this feature, you can split your virtual meeting into smaller groups so that everyone can participate in the discussion.

#2 Integrations

Each productive meeting should be accompanied by an effective virtual meeting platform. To make sure that your data is always in sync, you should use virtual meeting software that integrates like a breeze with the tools that you and your team use on a daily basis.

LiveWebinar is compatible with thousands of applications (natively and via Zapier), so you can easily connect it to the applications that you use for remote work.

#3 Virtual backgrounds

Using the same physical room for all of your virtual meetings can be quite boring, which is why virtual backgrounds are such a great feature. Such backgrounds allow you to change the scenery for each video conferencing event, and you can even use them to brand your company. They can resemble your office space, giving this "face to face" meeting vibe!

#4 Evergreen webinars

Web conferencing can be quite repetitive, which is why evergreen webinars are so great. With this feature, you can create a virtual meeting that will play on autopilot and engage your audience even when you're not there.

For remote work, it can work like a in person-like training or workshop. Instead of meeting face to face in a quiet location for a day or two, you can create an evergreen webinar that your employees can watch on their own time. This will be helpful for new employees as well, as they will be able to access your video conferencing assets anytime they want instead of waiting for in person event that your company might have to organize.

#5 High quality recording

Your remote meetings can be recorded and stored for future use. This is especially useful if you want to share the meeting with someone who couldn't attend it. All you have to do is download the recording and send it to them, or store them in the cloud for everyone (with permission) to access it.

#6 Paid webinars

Who knows when you'd like to start using your best virtual meeting platform for more than just remote work? With LiveWebinar you can run virtual events and get paid for them. Webinars have quickly become one of the most popular ways to generate leads and close sales, so don't miss out on this opportunity! Your company can develop a nice passive income stream with audio conferencing and paid online meetings (e.g. sessions or workshops).

Is LiveWebinar the right choice, then?

If you're into virtual meetings, virtual conferences or online events – you need to use the right platform to handle these for you. And since meeting virtually is the "new normal", LiveWebinar can be a great friend in this challenge.

LiveWebinar key features

  • full customization,
  • a set of integrations,
  • breakout shared rooms,
  • digital backgrounds,
  • high quality recording and streaming.

LiveWebinar pricing

Give LiveWebinar a go for free, using a limited free version. Paid packages are extremely affordable, and Enterprise solutions are available as well.

How to start using LiveWebinar?

Navigate to our pricing page for more info.

Dive into video conferencing with online meetings

Remote team members often don't have any chance to meet in person. The next best thing is to have virtual team meetings, which can be just as productive (if not more).

Now that you know all about virtual meetings, it's time to start planning and hosting them! And remember – with LiveWebinar by your side, you're guaranteed to have productive and effective virtual meetings that will help your business. So how about getting started now?

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