Virtual Meetings: Put a Little Zip in Your Zoom

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

Virtual Meetings

Virtual Meetings Don’t Have to Suck: Learn How to Make Remote Meetings Work for You

Virtual meetings don’t have to suck. Due to COVID-19, most organizations are Zoomed out, but virtual meetings are not going away anytime soon. Learn how to get the most out your Zoom meetings while being informative and engaging.  

Have an agenda: An actual agenda for a meeting may sound basic, but there are lots of folks who have meetings without one. Always do it. 

Make it short: Don’t keep talking for the sake of it. Virtual meetings should be efficient–keep it that way. 

Set ground rules: Community agreements can help make virtual meetings more effective. 

Make sure someone is in charge: Someone must be in charge of the meeting. Whatever you call them – a moderator, host, etc. 

Make your meeting secure: Security matters in Zoom. Have a sign-up ready in advance. Don’t put your Zoom credentials on publicly available site. Ask for an organization name, disable tools you are not using, and check the list of attendees. Follow other Zoom security guidance here. Use an outside sign-up tool to minimize scheduling obligations.

Have a guest: A guest on your Zoom call can bring new insight to a topic and help engage your audience in a new way. 

Report out: Have your team share insights on what they do and how they do it. This can break the mold of a typical meeting if they do this in an engaging way. 

Use help: Having a team of three people running the call (host, moderator, tech) can make for a smoothly run Zoom call.  The host will talk through slides and provide info for the meeting. The moderator will monitor the chat and respond to audience members. The tech can monitor any technical issues that may arise during the call. 

Use all the zoom tools: Zoom has added a ton of helpful tools from breakout rooms to white boards and polls. 

Advanced virtual meeting tools: Tech tools can help make your Zoom meetings stand out. Here are some of our favorite virtual meeting tools we use to help make our meetings stand out and engage. 

  • Mentimeter: Like the poll function of Zoom but with better data visualization, Mentimeter has a free and paid version that does a great job of polling your audience while visually presenting that data in real time. 
  • Jamboard: Jamboard is a free Google tool that allows teams to collaborate on answering questions and sharing ideas – think of it as sticky notes on a white board. 
  • StreamYard: Think of this as a live video production tool that allows you to add video enhancements such as graphics and slides projected onto screens in real time. You can also have multiple presenters or a panel. 

Other Tips

Solve a problem: Divide into teams and come up with solutions to the problems your team is facing.

Have entertainment: Comedy shows cooking, virtual escape rooms, and trivia have all been entertaining events that can add some fun to virtual group meetings. 

Start with a video: An intro video with testimonials is a great way to kick off a virtual meeting. The assets can also be used for future needs. 

Don’t Zoom: Zoom has its limitations and other platforms have different functionality. You can try something other than zoom it is okay and may work better for some applications. 

Slack: For one-on-one calls on the fly, Slack works well – the messaging functionality also helps so you can continue topic conversations in a selected channel while you talk on screen.

Microsoft Teams: With a messaging-first platform, Teams is easier than Zoom when it comes to screen sharing and file sharing. Security is also strong. 

Chill out: Try a more laid-back approach to Zoom. Shorter Zooms or non-video calls can help make your team less stressed. Think through it and have a plan.

Camera free Fridays: This is a great way to back off Zoom a bit.  Every meeting does not need to be on camera… try meetings without a camera. At TCW, we will be implementing “no camera” Fridays. So, for all internal and client calls, we will do conference calls or, if we use Zoom, we will not be on camera. This is to help reduce fatigue and stress from multiple zoom calls during the week. 

Virtual Meeting Bottomline: Whatever you may call them– remote meetings, organizational meetings, virtual trainings or Zoom calls– they are here to stay. With a plan, time and tools, no matter the size, you can make virtual meeting more engaging and fun. Have questions about virtual meetings or virtual trainings? – Drop us a note