Just like us at Flight Centre Business Travel, we know many of our clients are doing their part to keep their teams safe by running business meetings remotely. So, we thought we’d share some of our favourite practical tips to help you get the most out of your long-distance meetings.
1. Send Meeting Notes Beforehand
This goes for in-person meetings, too, but it’s an especially important best practice these days. Your coworkers with little ones in the house will appreciate keeping meetings focused.
Your meeting invitation should always include an agenda and clearly marked meeting notes for easy reference. Even better, you should include a note about what each meeting participant is expected to contribute.
2. Start on Time
Whether your business has been using remote meetings for years or your team is new to the work-from-home dynamic, one thing’s for sure: starting right on time is easier said than done.
Clearly set the expectation that meetings will start on time, without exceptions. Ask your coworkers to join the meeting a few minutes beforehand to get set up and ensure microphones, audio, and internet connections are all working properly.
3. Respect Everyone’s Schedules
It’s ok to be selective. When scheduling a meeting, make sure that you’re only including team members who need to be a part of the live discussion. This allows for more productivity time for coworkers who only need to be filled in with meeting notes afterwards.
4. Have a Plan B
Life happens! When you’re setting up your meeting, make sure you’re including a dial-in option. As a meeting participant, it’s helpful to have a hotspot handy in case of glitchy internet connection.
5. To See or Not to See?
Avoid awkward situations by letting your team know in advance whether or not they’re expected to dial in with video. Team members who prefer to maintain the privacy of their home office might have the option of using a virtual background.
In general, video chats are the best option to help facilitate non-verbal communication. Even presentation-style meetings can benefit from having participants both see and be seen.
(Then again, we get it. Most of us haven’t been to the barber or salon in a few weeks.)
6. Practice Good Audio Etiquette
Mute yourself when you’re not speaking to minimize background noise.
7. Who’s Who
Try starting your meeting with a roll call, even if all of your participants have already been introduced to each other. It helps to let everyone know who’s in the meeting, and it gives every team member a chance to warm up and be ready to contribute.
8. Assign a Note Taker
Whether you’re meeting with two people or thirty-two, it’s important to designate an official meeting note-taker. Their role should include documenting any decisions that were made, next steps, and which team member is responsible for actioning them.
9. Ask for Feedback
We’re all trying to find a new normal that works for us. Make a point of asking your coworkers for feedback about how your remote meetings are going and be prepared to adapt accordingly.
What works for one team may not work for another, so stay positive and work together to find the right balance.
10. Know When to Wait
The usual rules of what’s appropriate for video meetings are all but suspended. Performance reviews, job interviews, and even team socials are, by necessity, moving to the virtual space. But some conversations still deserve waiting until a face-to-face meeting is possible.
Talk to your Travel Manager about how you can effectively reschedule your business trips and conferences. We can help you navigate the shifting policies for cancellations, changes, and credits, saving you time and money when you need it most.