Top Tips to Ensure Your Virtual Meeting Isn’t a Waste of Time

Nothing is more discouraging than logging out of a meeting wondering what was actually accomplished—and feeling like it was a waste of valuable work time. It can be frustrating for everyone but is easily avoided. Let’s take a look at some ways to ensure your next remote meeting stays on track.

Know why you’re meeting

The purpose of meetings is to solve problems, make decisions and build trust within the workplace. Before initiating a meeting, make sure you have a clear understanding of whether or not the issue at hand actually requires a meeting. Sometimes an email is all that’s needed for these discussions. 

You should call a meeting if:

  • The entire group needs to provide information or make a decision
  • Everyone needs to weigh in to solve a problem or clear up an issue
  • You need to assign responsibilities or roles to multiple people on a project, such as budget planning or preparing proposals  

Assign roles

Delegate key roles to participants in order to help your meeting run smoothly. These include a facilitator, note taker, timekeeper (often a role filled by the facilitator in smaller groups) and summarizer (often a role filled by the note taker in smaller groups).

Make an agenda

A little bit of prep can save hours of time, ensuring everyone knows their purpose in the meeting and what needs to be accomplished. List who is responsible for each agenda item and include the block timing of each item (e.g. 15 minutes) rather than a specific start time. This will keep the meeting on track without throwing everything off if one item takes longer than expected. Make sure to email the agenda to the group in advance so expectations are set and there is adequate time to prepare ideas.

Follow up

It can be helpful to send a follow-up email summarizing key points, decisions and action items to make sure everyone is on the same page, especially after virtual meetings. It also gives you the chance to request feedback or ideas that are often discussed in the aftermath of in-person meetings.