Far too many virtual meetings bear little resemblance to a face-to-face meeting in energy, engagement, or ideas generated.
More often than not, these online meetings veer off track in one of two ways:
- Either they become as silent as a funeral, with monologue after monologue delivered into a vacuum of mourners.
- Or they mirror a gaggle of sales associates celebrating in an airline lounge after winning a big contract—everyone chiming in to add their two cents with no direction or focus. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
To make your online meetings as lively yet as productive as their face-to-face counterparts, consider these guidelines:
1. Use a formal agenda
Having no agenda communicates to attendees that you intend to “have a chat” rather than get business done, exchange ideas, and make decisions. Formalize the agenda in writing using an agenda template and send it to attendees at least a couple of days ahead of time for their review and preparation.
Also, continue to project it from time to time as you move through your meeting. (You’ll see why as you read further.)
2. State topics in question form
Avoid this typical topic format:
- Sales for 3rd Quarter
- Tradeshow Booth at ITH Conference
- Competitor’s Marketing Campaign During August
Instead, phrase the topics as questions so that your discussion is laser-focused rather than rambling:
- What percent of your 3rd quarter quota has been met to date?
- Is exhibiting at the ITH tradeshow worth the $35K cost and 2 days’ time?
- What’s the best strategy for selling against Logard’s August marketing campaign?
3. Specify the format for each agenda topicOn the written agenda, state the format for each topic:
- For open discussion
- For report only
- Poll attendees
- For recommendation
- For decision