Meetings are essential criteria for any business and many crucial decisions are made during such meetings that propel the growth of the company. Nowadays, virtual business meetings have become more common with employees working from different locations. Whatever be the type of meeting, business transcription services are utilized to maintain an accurate textual record of the meetings. The agenda of the meeting could be project execution; financial planning or some important strategies and new ideas are discussed during such meetings.
Increasing Number of Virtual Meetings
Business meetings are increasingly becoming virtual mainly because:
- Employees may be stationed in a different location.
- The entire business may be virtual and linked via Skype and the occasional face-to-face meeting.
- The business may be hiring workers from all over the world on a contract basis.
Just as physical meetings, virtual meetings also demand warm and thoughtful communication. Professionals also need to know how to establish presence in a virtual meeting.
Virtual meetings or online meetings involve participants joining in from multiple locations by teleconference or video conference. Virtual meetings are cost effective; they help to save time and improve productivity. Unfortunately, virtual meetings are often conducted poorly. They may start off well but could quickly degenerate. Major issues may be – having no obvious agenda, technological interruption, lack of clear communication and so on.
Well-conducted virtual meetings have various benefits:
- Budget-friendly because it eliminates the need for travelling from one place to another, making accommodation arrangements etc and thus helps save money.
- It saves time and space. Attendees no longer have to spend time for travelling. Virtual meetings do not require huge conference rooms or halls for conducting the meeting. All it needs is a good computer and smooth, uninterrupted net connection.
Ensuring Successful Virtual Meetings
A 2017 study conducted by Klaxoon, a corporate solutions company, found that Americans are attending more meetings than they were a year ago. 49% of respondents said that they were attending more meetings, and 28% said that meetings have become longer. According to the respondents, the biggest problems workers face in virtual meetings/conference calls are as follows:
- 38% said they zone out when they are not speaking.
- Another 38% said they daydream as well.
The Klaxoon study found that employees felt meetings succeeded:
- When the topic was relevant (54%)
- When a meeting schedule was kept (48%)
- When decisive action was taken (48%)
- When everyone were given a chance to speak (40%)
- When the facilitator was engaging (37%)
Given the importance of proper preparation and planning for virtual meetings, here are some considerations to take into account when you are scheduling a virtual meeting.
- Plan your agenda: It is highly recommended to plan your agenda before starting the meeting and make sure that all attendees have a copy of your agenda. This helps to break down the content into small bits and explain each segment with clarity.
- Keep your participants informed and keep them focused: Sometimes attendees tend to give only partial attention to the meeting and rush out once the meeting is over. Informing the participants about the meeting helps them prepare for the meeting and makes it easier to communicate when the meeting is open for discussion. It also helps them clarify their doubts before the meeting begins. Include interactive sessions and every 15 minutes to ensure that the attendees are staying focused. Also, use tricks to keep people awake and attentive.
- Make good use of technology: Before the meeting, make sure that the internet connections are stable. Also, send out comprehensive emails with all the paperwork, agenda and joining instructions your guest needs. Be comfortable with the technology, software programs and practice before you conduct the meeting.
- Create a good environment: Be sure to create a safe and friendly environment where attendees can ask for help and raise concerns. Make sure that they are comfortable enough to talk and collaborate with one another and share opinions. You can also set up group activities to encourage people to engage with each other.
Business transcription agencies assist businesses by providing accurate transcripts of all their meetings and conferences. An audio or video recording of a meeting will help you check what exactly happened during the meeting. However, listening to/watching a recording requires frequent rewinding and forwarding of the tape which can cause damages to the tape; listening to an audio requires patience and keen listening skills. The text version of a recording contains each and every point discussed in the meeting that users can find easily. These transcripts can also be distributed among the employees and to those who were not able to attend the meeting. Business owners choosing virtual meetings over physical meetings must ensure that effective communication is established among the participants. Virtual meetings help save costs, are convenient and easy to adopt but they may not be suitable for every occasion. It is important therefore that businesses clearly understand when and how to use this modern technology.