Scheduling and preparing team meetings are one of the many tasks that every remote team leader is expected to handle. As a team leader, it is your role to make sure that every meeting that you set is done accordingly and goes smoothly. A lot of planning and preparation will be involved. But by maximising the effectiveness of your meetings, you’ll save time, energy and resources.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to create a structure that serves your team and the business well. Here are three considerations to better prepare and plan for your next remote team meeting:
1. Your Remote Team Meeting Structure
When it comes to handling meetings, it’s crucial to create a list of all the topics that you and your remote team will need to tackle. Before the meeting, it is a good idea to present the agenda to your team members in advance. You can send an email invitation containing the details of the meeting. Apart from sharing the schedule with your team, you should, of course, include the time, the people involved in the meeting, and the meeting method.
During the meeting, you should start by reading the agenda you sent to everyone, including any last-minute topic inclusions, if any. You should also make use of this session to present the following items regularly:
- Your company and team’s accomplishments
- Updates your team should be aware
- Team or individual victories
- Group and personal goals
- New or current challenges
- New tools, resources or processes
By discussing these, you get to give your team a sense of involvement and make them feel that they are a vital part of the company, no matter where they are located. You can also take this opportunity to motivate your remote team and challenge them to perform, or better yet, to excel.
2. Choosing Your Remote Meeting Tools
In remote environments, we need to identify the more accessible, yet most connected method to meet your team members as often as you can. So the question here is, what methods and tools will you and your team members use to accomplish your meeting correctly.
With a remote team, the preference is always to get as close to an in-person meeting as possible. It’s essential to set the expectation that video calls should be turned on to communicate more effectively through body language and eye contact.
Another expectation for remote teams is to ensure that when the meeting is taking place, other technologies and projects are shut down to be completely present in the meeting. Yes, that means no more Slack replies during meetings- you want everyone to be as present as possible. 🙂
Some tools that you will need to look into may include apps that can help with team collaboration, video conferencing, presentation creation, notes taking, recording and the like. Many remote meeting tools such as Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Join.me, and similar usually incorporate multiple meeting tools, so it’s just a matter of choosing which tool you think will be more convenient to use.
3. Identifying Your Meeting Frequency
Now that you have identified the structure and tools for your meeting, you should also determine how often your remote team meeting will be. An excellent way to identify this is by surveying with the whole team. In this survey, let your team members define the days and times when they will be available for meetings. Once everyone has responded, you can check the responses to identify what is the most suitable.
When working across multiple time zones, it’s often required that team members have to attend meetings outside of their usual working hours. To do so effectively, meetings should be rotated so that the inconvenience of really early or late meetings is distributed evenly and fairly.
Meetings should be recorded in remote environments, to allow members who cannot attend to rewatch the video. To ensure the video is watched, setting the expectation of feedback and comments on the recording can be a great way to ensure everyone is still engaged asynchronously.
Ideally, remote teams should meet at least once a week. This way, you get to provide regular updates to your team and be able to check on their shared concerns all at once. A team sync will also be a way for your whole team to bond, even if it’s just remote. Apart from the frequency, you should also set the length of your regular meetings. For weekly meetings, you can schedule a short session that can last from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on your agenda.
Meetings are essential when it comes to fostering communication and collaboration in your team. Always make it a point to think about your meeting structure, tools and frequency to make sure that your meeting runs successfully.