How to Run a SUPER ‘Bad Virtual Meeting’ 

| By Steven Pritchard

TMA World Virtual Meetings

Running virtual meetings can be a real nuisance. They disrupt the smooth flow of more important work taking place face to face in the office.  Here are my top tips and hints to help you run really bad ones.

  1. Audio – Always use the speaker phone, particularly in a noisy office so that attendees will sense that you are important, as they hear you working in a busy and vibrant environment.  
  2. Punctuality - Turn up absolutely on time.  Not a minute before or after.   Although you might need to load slides into your virtual meeting room for a couple of minutes whilst everyone waits around; it helps people relax. Relationships are important so you can use this time to bond with your colleagues by talking about last nights’ football score.  Everyone loves football don’t they?
  3. Agenda – The great thing about virtual meetings is that participants can’t actually see how unprepared you are.  The main thing is to sound confident, as you remember the three most important things you think people should be discussing. If you do this, they’ll think you really do have an agenda!  
  4. Multi-tasking – Generally people find listening to other peoples’ opinions for long periods of time tedious; particularly when you can’t even see them!  Multi-tasking is a new-generation leadership skill so practice it (social learning on the job is the new big thing!) by messaging on Whatsapp as soon as you sense what someone is saying. When they finish, just say ‘that’s a really good point you’ve made’, and they’ll feel acknowledged.
  5. Surprise Questions – If you are caught out by a surprise question that you either don’t know the answer to, or you did not realise was actually addressed to YOU, (because you were on Whatapp) just say that you ‘agree with what the last person said’.   Even if you disagree later, you can blame it on a lack of context.   Alternatively just make a noise like ’’**£s &*$££sss!...and say ‘Sorry we’ve got a really bad line here’; hang up ..Google the answer and dial back in.   That’s commitment.
  6. Screenshare – I generally recommend you avoid using screen share. Screenshares really disrupt the flow of a meeting and you don’t want people peeking at job interview confirmations that arrive in your private email whilst your presenting.      
  7. Feedback - Remember that when everyone remains quiet as you make your final resonant concluding statements, silence is normally a sign of approval, respect and agreement for what you have said, so you don’t need to waste time by asking for feedback.  Apparently in some cultures people remain silent and won’t say anything anyway.  I’ve never had any complaints!!

I hope this gets you thinking. And remember that great mantra; ‘think global ...but act local! If you have any other pieces of bad advice, get in touch, or request a virtual meeting.

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