Remote Work

The Complete Guide to Remote Team Meetings

09.06.20211 min read

Meetings are important for team collaboration. After all, they are the places where we brainstorm, strategize, and come up with innovative ideas together. And yet, remote team meetings are often seen as a waste of energy and time. Without any strategy in place, remote team meetings can quickly become too impersonal, pointless, and at times drag on with no end in sight.

When conducting virtual meetings, you can’t just replicate what seemed to work in the office. Conducting effective remote team meetings requires you to pivot the way you usually communicate and collaborate as a team.

Here’s how you can make remote team meetings more effective:

Lay the foundation for successful remote team meetings

Remote team meetings are important for getting all the team members in the loop with what’s happening within the team. While asynchronous communication gives remote employees the space to respond to messages in their own time, real-time conversations allow remote team members to clarify things more quickly, build empathy with their team, bond closely, and resolve issues at a faster pace — all of which is important for a team’s success.

How do you lead a remote team meeting?

Every remote team meeting should have a leader, who is responsible for initiating the meeting, determine the meeting agenda beforehand, share meeting details, call on the other people in the meeting to speak, present the information at hand, and ensure the entire agenda for the meeting is met before it ends.

Here are the steps you should take to lead successful remote team meetings:

  • Finding the most convenient time for the remote meeting that fits everyone’s schedule
  • Set clear remote meeting guidelines
  • Determine the meeting agenda
  • Give team members a chance to speak by one to keep everyone engaged
  • Take down meeting minutes
  • Assign clear actionable tasks to each team member before the meeting
  • Follow up with everyone after the meeting

How do you make remote team meetings fun?

Remote team meetings can oftentimes get boring because of the missing human connection. Sitting through virtual meetings, especially for new hires who have never met their colleagues face to face can be quite overwhelming and confusing. All of this together can eventually hinder collaboration and decision-making within the team.

Here are a few ways you can make remote meetings more fun and productive:

  • If your meeting includes employees who might not know each other that well, start with an icebreaker activity to get everyone acquainted and involved
  • If your meeting includes employees who might not know each other that well, start with an icebreaker activity to get everyone acquainted and involved
  • Incorporate simple games with close-ended questions at the start of the meeting to kickstart things
  • Play word association games with your team members
  • Don’t always organize work-related meetings. Instead, take some time out to organize weekly virtual happy hours where remote employees can get to know each other better

5 ways to make remote team meetings more efficient

1. Determine whether a remote meeting is even needed

Before diving into the organizing phase, you need to ask yourself the main purpose of the remote meeting. Unlike face-to-face meetings, the pressure for remote meetings to be productive is very high. When you are specifically asking all the remote employees to halt their daily work and come online at a particular time to have a discussion — they are expecting the meeting to be about an important topic that cannot be discussed asynchronously.

Before organizing a virtual meeting, here are some questions you should consider:

  • Can this problem be solved without a meeting through emails or instant messaging?
  • Can this problem be solved during an already scheduled upcoming meeting?
  • Can you eventually create a process that can completely eliminate these kinds of meetings in the future?
  • Can this problem be solved with the help of a particular team member instead of the entire team?

2. Prepare for your remote meeting beforehand

Share the agenda for the meeting with the team before it starts to ensure everyone understands the main purpose of the meeting and prepares their thoughts accordingly. It’s important to remember that while some people feel comfortable with an unstructured meeting, others need some time to think and process the information they are given. Even though creating an agenda can take some time, it’s still worth it to make remote meetings more effective and productive.

3. Invite only the necessary people

It can be rather challenging to conduct a remote meeting with a considerably large number of participants due to the limited meeting times and the inability of everyone to contribute to the conversation.

Moreover, inviting employees to unrelated meetings can not only waste their time and affect productivity, but it can also eventually decrease their engagement and participation in important meetings.

As a result, make sure to only invite a limited number of people to the meetings who are absolutely relevant to the discussion at hand and are required to share their opinion about the same. To keep everyone else in the loop about what happened in the meeting, you can share meeting notes or a recording of the meeting with other employees.

4. Set and share etiquette for online meetings

Even though different remote meetings can have different rules, there are some basic meeting etiquettes that everyone should follow to have effective meetings.

List out the main online meeting etiquettes and share it with your team so that everyone is on the same page. Here are some meeting etiquettes you can start with:

  • Don’t stare at your phone while other people are presenting
  • Always introduce yourself and also give others a chance to contribute
  • Test your video, audio, and internet connectivity before starting the call
  • Go through the meeting agenda beforehand
  • Make sure your phone is on silent and there isn’t any background noise at your end

5. Send follow-ups after the meeting

Email the main meeting minutes to the participants as well as other team members that need to stay in the loop. You should also share the main action every participant needs to take after the meeting to increase the effectiveness of the meeting and in turn reinforce the importance of remote meetings. Make it a habit for your team so the team members are always waiting for the email right after the meeting.

Run remote meetings like a pro

Managing remote teams and organizing successful remote team meetings hinges on the technological tools that you use. The right remote work tools can make the entire process seamless, whereas the wrong tools can create big problems in your remote team, despite your team meeting strategy. Instead of using disjointed tools for team communication and video meetings, you can use a centralized digital workplace platform for team collaboration and communication. A digital workplace like Kissflow streamlines projects, processes, tasks, communication, and collaboration. Since the entire team uses the same unified platform to manage all of their work, it makes scheduling and organizing meetings incredibly easy.