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Remote Meeting Engagement: Meeting Etiquette

Remote Meeting Engagement: Meeting Etiquette

Post Series: Remote Meeting Engagement

Engaging participants in meetings is tougher than ever with many businesses allowing or forced to move more employees to work remotely. In the blog “Remote Meeting Engagement: Pre-Meeting Strategies,” we discussed ineffective meetings are costing over $70 billion per year to US businesses. Likewise, we dove into pre-meeting strategies to engage meeting participants and raise the effectiveness of those meetings.

This blog will focus on remote meeting etiquette to create a more effective meeting environment that engages participants and moves productivity forward. Here are seven meeting etiquette principles to consider:

  1. Invite the right people. Only invite the people that need to be at the meeting. Many people are invited because they are in a supervising capacity, or on the team but the meeting is about aspects of the project that do not directly concern them. Do not waste people’s time if they are not an integral part of the meeting. Instead, use a calendar app that shows all the meetings that a team/project is involved in with a link to the meeting invitation or conference call number. This way managers or project team members not required to be in the meeting can know what is happening, and if they want, they can jump in and attend remotely.
  2. Start and end on time. I can’t emphasize enough how annoying it is for people who show up on time to have to wait for those who are late. This shows a basic lack of respect for the time of others. When you are running remote meetings make sure you start on time and end on time. Record the meeting. If someone misses the beginning simply tell them they can listen to the recording to hear what was discussed. This will eliminate having to repeat things everyone else already heard. Participants may have back to back meetings so if it looks like the meeting will run long set a time for a follow-up meeting to cover the agenda points that were not completed.
  3. Always come prepared for a meeting. In the blog about pre-meeting strategies, we discussed the importance of sending the agenda ahead of time to allow people to prepare for the meeting. Make sure every participant knows what they are expected to bring or present at the meeting, so the meeting remains productive.
  4. Avoid multi-tasking. It is easy to get distracted and sidetracked in remote meetings; request participants turn of cell phone ringers, close their email program, and shut down additional applications that may be distracting. If possible, have participants come on camera when it is their turn to present. This will allow people to connect with the people talking, keeping them more engaged.
  5. Never hijack or change the agenda. At the start of the meeting, make sure everyone understands that the meeting will follow the agenda. If side topics come up, they can be put in a “parking lot” for a future meeting. If an urgent issue arises, talk about it after the meeting with those who need to be involved in the conversation.
  6. Show respect for other people’s opinions and disagree agreeably. Diversity of thought helps develop the best, most creative solutions. Encourage people to give opposing opinions. Support differing opinions and solutions with evidence.
  7. Stay until the end. The participants are in the meeting because their expertise or opinions are needed. Make sure everyone attending the meeting knows they are expected to stay for the entire meeting. If a key stakeholder can’t stay for the meeting, it may be better to reschedule the meeting so you do not waste everyone else’s time.

Utilizing remote meeting etiquette sets meetings up with a more productive and engaging environment. So, apply these seven etiquette rules to your remote meetings to give your organization an increase to your bottom line.

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