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20-minute-manager-running-virtual-meetingsFor managers and leaders, running effective virtual meetings–from conference calls to WebEx meetings–can come with an array of obstacles. Silences, interruptions, technical issues, and cultural differences can all add a degree of difficulty to hosting any kind of virtual meeting. 20 Minute Manager: Running Virtual Meetings from Harvard Business Review Press gives leaders the tools to choose the right channel for virtual meetings to take place, to prepare the materials necessary to keep participants meaningfully engaged, and to hold meeting members accountable for the meeting content, even from a distance.

Leading virtual meetings requires preparation, energy, focus, and discipline. A meeting leader can feel confident in executing the best virtual meeting possible by using the following guidelines presented by Harvard Business Review Press:

  • When planning a virtual meeting, it is important to decide whether or not the meeting is even necessary. The meeting leader must consider what is trying to be achieved, who the essential contributors to the meeting are, and whether everyone is ready to meet.
  • Successful virtual meetings are dependent on the technological tools used. If the right technology platform is not used to host the meeting, team members will be unwilling or unable to participate. A tech czar should be appointed to deal with any technology-related issues during the meeting so the leader can keep the meeting on track.
  • Prior to the meeting, information concerning the meeting process, protocols, etiquette, and roles for each participant should be clarified.
  • The leader must conduct the meeting in a smooth and controlled manner. The leader should be sure to log in early, test all technology, and facilitate the conversation with a calm and disciplined demeanor. Follow-up measures should be taken to avoid miscommunication.

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