The world as we know it has completely evolved over the last few years, shifting from in-person meeting management to virtual meeting management. And with any change comes a learning curve. So, how exactly do you get past this “learning curve” with remote meeting management to have effective meetings in a virtual world? 

The key to effective meeting management is learning how to prepare and follow up in a virtual world. Using a meeting management software like Fellow will provide you with the management tools needed to prepare, host, and conclude productive virtual meetings.  

Follow the steps outlined in this guide to turn your unproductive, time-consuming meetings into productive, time-efficient work sessions!

The importance of effective meeting management in a virtual world

In today’s world, everything is virtual. Therefore, it is more important now than ever to learn how to have effective meeting management. Let’s learn how… 

For starters, you must ensure that you are organized for your meetings. With remote work, companies now have the freedom to hire employees all over the world. Therefore, scheduling your team meetings at a time that works with everyone’s time zones and cadence is important. 

Secondly, learning to use online meeting platforms like Google Meet or Zoom will ensure that your meetings run smoothly from start to finish.

Once you know how to use the meeting platform, you must also learn remote meeting etiquette

This includes things like:

  • Be on time (as you would for an in-person meeting)
  • Have your camera and microphone on to encourage participation 
  • Dress appropriately (as you would in an office setting)
  • Come prepared

It is also important to organize your meetings in a way that will keep people engaged. 

Janet Mesh, CEO and Co-founder of Aimtal, shares her tips on how to keep people engaged in a meeting:

 “It’s really important to set the stage for a virtual meeting. On our Friday call, I typically start them with a stretch or meditation via Wellness Coach. It’s a really nice way to minimize distractions and start the meeting with focused intention.”

Preparing for online meetings

The biggest and most important tip to having an effective virtual meeting is to be prepared! 

Using a meeting management software like Fellow will allow you to create an online meeting agenda before the meeting, which will ensure you and your team members are prepared in advance. 

Your meeting agenda should include all the key points that will be discussed, the allotted time each discussion point will take, and who is responsible for what point. It is also important to share the meeting agenda and relevant documents at least 24-hours prior to the meeting. This will ensure that your team members have time to prepare and add their thoughts. 

Pro tip

Use a meeting management tool like Fellow to create a collaborative meeting agenda with your team so everyone can show up prepared!

Michael Lopp, author and experienced Vice President of Engineering, shared how he prepares for each week:

 “I like to establish what everyone’s going to do for the present week and envision the week as a unit of work. We use the staff meeting to set the stage for what’s happening throughout the week and determine what matters.”

What happens during the meeting

Meetings that get off-topic and come to no resolution are truthfully a waste of everyone’s time. Therefore, as the meeting progresses, it is also important to keep on task and follow your meeting agenda until the end. 

During the meeting, it is important to ensure that the timeframe for each topic in the agenda is being followed. This will make sure that your meeting runs at a good pace, wasting no time. 

Finishing a meeting and still not knowing what your next steps are is frustrating and unproductive. Therefore, it is key to assign team members with clear next steps during the meeting. This should also be outlined in the meeting minutes

Taking meeting minutes during the meeting will provide team members with something to reference after the meeting. It is important to collaborate on this task, sharing the role of note-taker and sharing the notes immediately after the meeting. Again, doing this will ensure that everyone can look back at the decisions made and their next action items. 

What to do after the online meeting

After the meeting ends, it is important to send a meeting recap to your remote team. This is a summary of all decisions made, tasks assigned, and points discussed. This will keep everyone in the loop, especially those who were unable to attend the meeting. 

Having stakeholders present in the meetings can be unnecessary and creates a crowded meeting. However, sharing the meeting notes with stakeholders is important because they are a big part of the company, and they deserve to be updated on decisions. 

Online Meeting Management Software Examples

1 Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an online meeting tool that allows users to create events on an online calendar. Google Calendar can be accessed through the web or downloaded as an application on all IOS and Android devices. 

Google Calendar helps with online meeting management and project management by syncing different management tools to your calendar. For example, through Fellow, you can sync your meeting times and project deadlines with your Google Calendar to see all of your events in one spot. This is a really helpful management tool because it allows users to have events from a variety of places all shown together… the key to organization

2 Zoom

Zoom is an online video conferencing tool that allows you to host virtual meetings. Hosts create a meeting time and then share the meeting invitation with the remote team. 

Through syncing a meeting management software like Fellow to a video conferencing tool like Zoom, you can access the Zoom link/invite straight through Fellow (this can be seen in the meetings icon on Fellow). 

You can also access your meeting agenda right on Zoom. Having a split-screen (meeting agenda on one side and Zoom on the other) will show you both your team members and your agenda at the same time. This is a helpful online meeting management tool because it allows you to access everything from one place… again, the key to organization!

3 Fellow

Fellow is a meeting management software that allows you to create templates, build meeting agendas, record meeting notes, assign action items, organize ideas, and exchange feedback. 

Through syncing Fellow with video conferencing platforms such as GoogleMeet, Zoom, or MS Teams, Fellow provides you with the tools needed to have a productive meeting. 

This helps with meeting management because it enables you to follow your meeting agenda. This will ensure that you are staying on topic, addressing the necessary topics, staying within an appropriate amount of time, and recording decisions made and tasks assigned during the meeting. 

“It’s a fantastic tool for us for just rapid documentation in one place around meetings, forwarding or having common agenda items that are continuing to roll forward for meetings, etc.”

— Mark Bergen, Head of Revenue at Shopify Plus.

4 Calendly

Calendly is a meeting management software tool that uses free time in your day to schedule meetings for you. You tell Calendly when you have free time, and then Calendly notifies people who want to book a meeting with you. Calendly then books the meetings for you within that allotted time, making it super simple and stress-free for you. 

This helps with online meeting management because sometimes trying to find the time to schedule meetings is stressful and time-consuming work. Therefore, by letting Calendly book meetings for you in your allotted free time, you do not need to worry about anything but showing up!

Final Tips for Online Meeting Management

1 Leverage technology to stay organized 

Choosing the correct meeting tool for your remote team meetings will help your meetings run as smoothly as possible. Using Fellow to create your meeting agenda and syncing it with Zoom or GoogleMeet will allow you to get the most out of your meetings.

2 Build the habit of meeting preparation

Laying a foundation for each meeting ensures that your virtual meetings are productive. This includes creating your meeting agenda, following your meeting agenda the whole meeting, and sharing the completed meeting agenda after the meeting. Following this same pattern will help you create a routine, ensuring a successful virtual meeting each time. 

3 Create (and follow) specific guidelines 

Agreeing on remote meeting guidelines will ensure productive meetings. Adriana Girdler recommends making it a guideline for team members to have their cameras on during the meeting so that online meetings can utilize the power of body language.

4 Encourage collaboration

Keeping remote team members engaged during online meetings can be difficult, but it is an important step to having a productive meeting. This can be done by ensuring each team member has a talking point, ensuring the meeting is relevant to everyone in the meeting, and ensuring the meeting does not drag on for longer than needed. Adriana Girdler also recommends using icebreakers to minimize the distance that remote meetings present. 

Parting Words

Hosting a productive meeting can be difficult, but by using a meeting management software like Fellow, you can have seamless, stress-free meetings at the click of a button! Fellow will ensure that you are prepared and organized for every meeting in your future, overcoming the biggest challenge in meeting management.