It seems like when we talk about successful virtual meetings, we talk about the role of the leader.
But what about those of us attendees? Can we just skate and accept none of the responsibility? What can we do to make sure our conference calls, web meetings and other remote team communication ROCKS?
It might feel good sometimes to complain, but better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
In fact, just because it’s not your meeting doesn’t mean you can’t add some serious value to the proceedings — here are some tips to help you become a virtual meeting MVP:
- Come prepared and be on time. (Seriously.)
- If you do come in late, slide in as quietly as possible. Don’t ask people to repeat everything that’s happened so far or make a big deal about your arrival. In fact, you can….
- Use chat to ask questions that don’t derail the meeting. If you’re unsure which page you’re on, or have some other question that the rest of the group don’t need to chime in on, try using the chat or instant message. That way you can choose who to ask without embarrassing yourself or sidetracking the conversation for everyone.
- If you hear things being repeated, or one person on the call is obviously not understanding what the other person is saying, offer to summarize in the interest of clarity (and time).
- If you’re hearing something that doesn’t adhere to the agenda, say something. You can politely ask if the topic being discussed is relevant, or could it be tabled for later discussion. (Believe me, most of the people on the call will appreciate it.)
- Volunteer to help run the technology or watch the time. The more the meeting leader can concentrate on the objective of the meeting, rather than the mechanics, the more likely it will succeed.
- Volunteer to monitor the speaker if you’re in a hybrid meeting (In fact, I did a video with even MORE tips on this: just click on the following highlighted text to see the video concerning why speaker monitors are important to your meetings.)
- If there are action items, make sure they are assigned before the call ends. I know it’s like being the kid in class who says, “You forgot to give us homework,” but in this case it will help people get their work done and meet their deadlines. (Plus, nobody will threaten to beat you up after class.)
By stepping up and assisting in your virtual meeting efficiency, you positively impact a number of things. First, you can help whoever is running the meeting look better. (If that’s your boss, that’s a very good thing.) Secondly, you’ll earn the gratitude of most of the rest of the team. (Also not a bad thing.)
Remember: the captain of the team doesn’t always get voted MVP. Sometimes it’s the role player who steps up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Co-Founder and Product Line Manager
Wayne Turmel is the co-founder and Product Line Manager for the Remote Leadership Institute. For twenty years he’s been obsessed with helping managers communicate more effectively with their teams, bosses and customers. Wayne is the author of several books that demystify communicating through technology including Meet Like You Mean It – a Leader’s Guide to Painless & Productive Virtual Meetings, 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations and 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar. His work appears frequently in Management-Issues.com.
Wayne, along with Kevin Eikenberry, has co-authored the definitive book on leading remotely, The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership. You can pre-order Kevin and Wayne’s follow-up book, The Long-Distance Teammate, now.