Host a Meeting

We spend our days attending lots of meetings, yet the well-managed meeting stands out as a rare gem. It’s not easy to run a good meeting, and in our increasingly virtual world it’s even harder to run an effective virtual meeting. But it’s a skill worth practicing, and your teammates will thank you for it.

How to Manage a Virtual Meeting

1. Before the Meeting

  • Send an agenda in advance. If it’s a lengthy meeting with many people attending, your agenda should also list the timing and outcomes (or objectives) for each agenda item. If you don’t know why you are holding this meeting — don’t hold it. It’s your job to make sure people don’t waste their time. Your advanced preparation shows respect to the participants and to the organization.
  • Appoint a backup facilitator and review the agenda with them. Make sure they know the host code to your conference call or virtual meeting software, so they can run the meeting if you are absent.
  • Practice with the technology. Most companies have a favored software for webinars, online demonstrations, and web-based meetings. Make sure you can navigate confidently and use the features you need for your meeting. And prepare some contingency plans, because invariably the technology will fail you at a key moment. Best advice: talk to an experienced web presenter in your office and learn their technique.

2. At the Beginning

  • Be there early (in the room, on the phone, and online) so you can boot up and test — there’s nothing worse than watching and listening as someone fumbles with the technology; you can feel the energy dissipate before the meeting even starts.
  • Greet each arrival as they “beep in” to a phone meeting by asking, “Hi, who just joined the call?”
  • When everyone is assembled, introduce the attendees and their roles. Make sure everyone knows why they are at this meeting.

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