My tried and tested tricks to running meetings remotely
Why your remote meetings need a lot more planning than you think!
I think it’s safe to assume that by now we are all familiar with the current working norms due to COVID-19? The work from home set up, constant zoom meetings and so on? These are clearly a necessity given the current state of the world, but it has also greatly complicated certain business aspects, such as meetings.
Meetings are a lifeline for us entrepreneurs; we need them to communicate with our investors, partners and employees. Having our meetings online has also proven greatly beneficial, by greatly cutting down on commutes, helping us cross borders and increasing the ease of cold meetings being accepted.
But I have recently realized that I am experiencing severe Zoom fatigue, and these virtual meetings have a higher chance of being unstructured….
And there is nothing I hate more than an unstructured meeting!
I understand that virtual meetings are new for most of us and that makes them difficult to navigate but it is vital that we learn, because remote meetings have really amped up the chance of your meeting being ineffective. For one, they come with several limitations, such as limitations on time and the ability to read the body language of others in the meeting
This makes it all the more important for us to have respective structures to follow when conducting specific meetings.
Don’t get me wrong I like remote meetings, but they are honestly getting to me now. Covid is still ragging on and we don’t know how long social distancing will last, so we might as well optimize our Zoom meetings.
- Introduction Meetings
- Sales Meetings
- Alignment Meetings
- Conflict Resolution Meetings
- Brainstorming meetings
These are the meetings where we meet someone for the first time, be it a business partner or a new employee. These Introduction meetings usually determine whether or not the people involved in it wish to create a relationship and work together in the future. So it is safe to say that these can be extremely important to your venture.
Prior to these meetings, it is best to list out a few questions in your head so that you know what you need from that meeting. These include questions like:
- Who do I introduce myself as?
- Who is this person?
- How do I build trust in them?
- How can I help this person?
- How can this person help me?
These meetings are mostly external and would have you focusing on convincing a client to make a purchase decision. In order to determine how qualified the lead is and whether or not it should be prioritized, I focus on reaching BANT (budget, authority, needs and timing) as soon as possible once this meeting has started.
Moreover, I opt to have a relevant Business Development Executive with me during these sales meetings, so that the information gets passed on more smoothly.
These are one-on-one, recurring meetings I have with my stakeholders to help align them towards a certain direction and have them voice their thoughts. We don’t all think the same, therefore the direction you pick has to be one both parties are willing to work towards.
Conflict Resolution Meetings
Prior to entering these meetings, it is important to understand that the other party involved is either not satisfied or is negotiating to get an upper hand. These tend to be trickier than the rest, but here’s a playbook you can follow to navigate these meetings:
- Build trust in them by showing you understand them
- Know what you are willing to hand out
- Initial negotiations should focus on only handing out as little as possible
- End the negotiation with giving a little more than what was agreed but always less than what you are willing to hand out.
These meetings should be planned according to the day, for example conducting these meetings on a Monday would ensure that the conflict resolution mindset would not spill over to other meetings.
We conduct brainstorming meetings when we are either in a problem space or a solutions space. Whichever it is, it is best to be in a problem solving mindset before getting into a meeting.
I find the best way to get into this mindset is for you and your team to use online platforms which stimulate brainstorming. Miro is one such platform, where you get an online collaborative whiteboard platform designed to bring your team together at any time or place. The platform will only take you 15 minutes to get into the needed mindset.
It is also important to come prepared for these meetings, therefore the organizer should do a memo beforehand, to make sure everyone comes prepared.
It also helps to surround yourself with the people who can empower brainstorming. In order to do this, I would suggest identifying and remembering these people prior to a brainstorming session.
Finally, all you need to do is to assign limited time slots for the brainstorming meetings, so that your focus is only on the most important topics. Ideally I find time slots of 15 minutes to be very useful in this regard.
I find that out of all these meetings, Brainstorming faces the biggest hurdles when it comes to virtual meetings. It is very hard for people to build up brainstorming juice remotely, and other factors such as audio and video lag, tend to impact the flow of the meeting.
Despite their shortcomings, virtual meetings are still a convenient and cheaper alternative to traditional meetings; so it’s safe to say that they are here to stay. It’s our job to understand the nature of our meetings and use these virtual platforms to our advantage.
If you’re a founder looking for advice from someone who has been in your shoes, follow me on my LinkedIn and get updated on more entrepreneurial hacks that will aid your business.