Meeting With Remote Teams? Set Them Up For Success!

Posted by / August 25, 2016

Video_Conference_Meeting.jpgOne of the greatest benefits of today’s communications technology is that employees don’t have to be tied down to one physical location. But there is also a danger that comes with that increase in remote workers: a lack of face-to-face meetings.

Regular face-time is an important part of every business relationship, and it’s especially important to meet with remote employees regularly. While an in-person meeting is ideal, a well-run video conference meeting is a close second place. With the right tech and planning, a remote meeting can be just as effective as a meeting held on site.

As when meeting with on-site employees, you should set remote workers up for success when planning and running video conference-enabled meetings. We talked about mastering the video conference last week, and this week we’ll look into some more ways that your team can enhance the meeting experience for remote workers. So without further ado, let’s look at how you can set up your remote teams for success.

Use imagery effectively.

How many times have you sat through a presentation where someone simply read aloud a bunch of text they dumped onto a Powerpoint? No matter how many times, the answer is, “Too many!” If you want to keep the attention of attendees—and especially remote attendees—you should keep this adage in mind: “Show, don’t tell”.

To keep meetings productive, don’t pack slides with paragraphs of small text. Use engaging visuals—diagrams, graphs, photos, or videos—to make your point easier to remember. You can also use imagery to keep the meeting enjoyable. A funny GIF in the appropriate place not only lightens the mood, it keeps your audience engaged.

Visual aids may help with learning outcomes because they’re processed faster than text. But the main reason you should use images is the same reason you don’t fill your dinner plate with only red meat. Good images are a vital part of a well-balanced presentation!

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Use technology that enables participation.

Video conferencing has come a long way since being first demonstrated in 1968. Today’s technology allows for clear audio and video transmission, and now you can see and talk with people across the globe almost as clearly as if they were in the same room. There’s little excuse not to set up remote team members for success by using a secure and easy-to-use video conferencing system that works with all devices.

It’s important to enable remote workers to collaborate as if they were there with you, and there are many strategies and technology tools, both free and paid, that your team can use to do that. Enterprise video conferencing technology such as Starleaf and Webex will make meetings run more smoothly, but you can also look at freemium project management tools like Slack, Trello, and Asana to cut down on the time you spend scheduling meetings. That way, you can focus more on the meeting itself.

Actively encourage engagement.

It can be hard to keep remote employees engaged during a conference call, so it’s important to actively encourage engagement. Meeting leaders should focus on encouraging participation and proper meeting etiquette from remote attendees. Ask them directly for input when participation seems to slow.

It’s also important to encourage both remote and in-person participants to follow best practices for video conferencing meetings. Make sure remote participants can be seen and heard by everyone in attendance and demonstrate that their input is vital to the success of your team.

Get feedback—lots of it!

The best way to set your remote teams up for success is to ask them for feedback after the meeting. Services like Poll Everywhere and SurveyMonkey make it easy for leaders to get anonymized feedback from attendees, either live or after the meeting is over.

When you seek feedback and follow through on that feedback, you will discover ways to make meetings more valuable for everyone. And when you specifically reach out to remote workers, they will be more likely to engage more in meetings to come. Technical problems or other issues peculiar to remote attendance should be addressed quickly so that your team can work together as effectively as possible.

Does your team have remote employees? We want to hear from you! Let us know what you think of these tips, and let us know if you put them in action.

Do you have more ideas for ways to set remote team members up from success? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list. Thanks for reading!



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