Remote meetings (part 2) preparation
Albert Einstein once said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about the solution.” If you want to successfully conduct a remote meeting, take enough time for the preparation. Unplanned meetings quickly lead to dissatisfaction.
So ask yourself beforehand what you would like to achieve with the meeting. Is it about updating each other? Are there questions that need to be answered? Is it necessary to consult on a specific topic?
Whatever the reason for the meeting, an agenda is always helpful. This way, the participants know the plan for the meeting. To establish the content scope, just think about the questions: why? what? how? After that, establish the organizational scope. Here, it is helpful to think about the questions: who? when? where?
Why – Why is there this remote meeting?
To win over people, you have to convey the meaning of a project. Be it in form of a company vision that the employees could identify with or the purpose of the meeting. In a pure status update meeting, the purpose is implied: Everyone should get an overview of the latest state of the work. In all other meeting types, the topic should be defined more precisely.
What – What is the target of the remote meeting?
Along with the topic, it is helpful to define the concrete goal of the meeting. What should be achieved at the end of the meeting? Should a particular problem be solved? Should a project plan be created? Or should the participants be informed in detail about a very specific topic? If you are unable to name a concrete goal, you could possibly dispense with a meeting and choose shorter lines of communication.
How – How should the remote meeting be structured?
You have a clear view of your goal and now are figuring out which structure to use to achieve this goal. Let’s assume that you want to have solved a specific problem at the end of the meeting. Then, problem analysis is at the top of your agenda. This could be followed by brainstorming in order to work out possible solutions. The evaluation of solutions would then be item 3. The planning of the next steps could be the last item on the agenda.
Who – Who will participate in the remote meeting?
The ideal number of participants in a VR meeting is between 2 and 5 people, and there could be more in training sessions. Ideally, only invite the participants directly involved in the issue and who have something to contribute. Beforehand or at the start of the meeting, a person in charge or a moderator should be defined to conduct the meeting. A time manager ensures adherence to time blocks. A minute-keeper notes the most important points not yet recorded by other participants. These roles could change from meeting to meeting.
When – When and how long will the remote meeting take place?
Set the day and time of the meeting and ask the participants to be punctual. Take into consideration the time zones in international teams. The duration of a remote meeting should not exceed 90 minutes – the shorter the better. If the meeting lasts longer than one hour, plan on a 5–10-minute break after 45 minutes. Avoid going over the estimated time by all means.
Where – Where will the remote meeting take place?
If you use several remote conference systems, it is important, of course, to specify the relevant system. In the case of a virtual reality conference, this would be “WeAre”, for example. It is advisable to set up a space for each purpose and indicate the purpose in the agenda. Upload the required PDF and CAD files in advance to the dashboard using drag & drop, so that you can access them during the meetings. In case of repeated meetings, such as status update meetings, you could always sign in to the same space and continue working where you left off.