Keeping remote teams on point during project meetings


Effective communication is paramount in whatever kind of organization you run when conducting project meetings. However, with remote work and working from home becoming increasingly popular in many industries, keeping everyone engaged from start to finish can be a challenge.

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Unlike in an office environment where employees will be focused from start to finish, operating from home comes with distractions, which can hinder the success of the project meeting. To keep everyone focused throughout the meeting, here are some tips that can help.

Focus on Collaboration

If there is one essential you need to remember when holding a project meeting, it’s collaboration. Use a whiteboard collaboration tool to invite users to take notes, brainstorm, and track projects. As you won’t be communicating in person, you can rely on technology and collaboration tools to keep remote teams engaged throughout the meeting.

Be Fully Prepared

Before the project meeting takes place, it’s vital you have done your homework first. This includes clearing the agenda points to discuss and establishing objectives and goals. Whatever conferencing tools you use to conduct the meeting, you need to ensure it’s working correctly in advance, both for yourself and remote teams. This is so there are no disturbances during the meeting, as this can make employees lose interest. When the project meeting begins, make sure you outline the objectives at the start so employees know what is going to take place.

Use Engaging Visuals

Research indicates that individuals are far more likely to remember imagery over words. This means you need to use interesting videos, photos, or charts throughout the project meeting if possible. No one wants to see large blocks of text on the screen, as this can hinder your employee’s focus and cause them to switch off. Something as simple as using engaging visuals can boost productivity and ensure your team is engaged throughout proceedings.

Watch the Clock

Before the project meeting begins, you should let remote teams know how long it will last. Remember, your employee’s time is just as important as your own, so you need to have a timeframe in mind so remote teams can plan accordingly. Should you run over schedule, employees may fall behind on their workload, which won’t do your business any favors. To stop the risk of the meeting overrunning, it’s wise to do a trial run, so you can be confident you’ll address every necessary detail within the meeting.

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Schedule Breaks

If your project meeting is going to last for over an hour, it’s wise to schedule breaks in between sections. This is because even if your remote team is fully engaged and interested at the start, should the meeting last for hours on end without any respite, monotony can soon seep in, which is the number one enemy of engagement. Encourage your team to have a five-minute break away from the computer every half an hour or so. This can serve as a chance to grab a snack, have a stretch, and recharge before continuing with the meeting.

Ask For and listen to Feedback

When managing a project, you and your team will face all kinds of challenges and problems. This means that the meeting should serve as the perfect opportunity to ask for and listen to feedback. You need to keep communication lines open with your team and be welcome to feedback. If your employees are afraid to speak up, this could hinder the project’s success. As a business owner, you need to become a pro at handling constructive criticism. Therefore, asking for feedback will show that you value your employees, which can help them feel more engaged and happier with their work.

Remember to Follow Up

Like you would with an in-person meeting, it’s essential you send a follow-up once the project meeting has finished. This will ensure that any plans you’ve laid out have been understood correctly, and employees know what is expected of them. You will need to establish how much information your remote teams have taken in, as there could be specific topics that remote teams need more clarification on. You can either do this on a one-to-one basis or hold another team meeting the following day to recap.

Make Time for Small Talk

While the number one objective of the project meeting will be to discuss all things business and how everything is coming together, that’s not to say you shouldn’t have some small talk along the way. Whether you do this at the beginning of the conference or before everyone departs, having some time to let off steam or make a joke can relax everyone involved and show that you’re human! This can help attendees feel happier in their roles, which will boost productivity and efficiency during the project.

Use Meeting Icebreakers

When holding a project meeting with remote teams, you may find that not everyone has had the chance to meet everyone, primarily because of COVID-19. This means for everyone to feel relaxed and ready to participate in the conversation, you should try using a meeting icebreaker. To stop any awkward elements that come with not being in the same room together, meeting icebreakers will break any tension. Some popular meeting icebreakers include The Candy Game, Two Truths, and One Lie, and A Scavenger Hunt. Also, make sure everyone has the opportunity to introduce themselves and what sector of the business they operate in. This will allow all participants to know what everyone’s roles are and how they need to work together on the project to keep it running smoothly.

When holding a project meeting, it’s essential that everyone on the screen stays engaged from beginning to end. In order to do this, there are lots of strategies you can put in place before the meeting commences, helping to achieve the goals you set out and ensuring everyone leaves the meeting knowing where they stand and what is expected of them.

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