For those convening a virtual meeting, it helps to send out an email with the link for team members to join later if they miss the call: sometimes people can’t get into their booked rooms promptly and login to the computer in time.
Experience has also taught us that the agenda should look something like this:
- When we next need to meet (the convener can discuss availability with whoever is first to answer, while waiting until all have joined to start proper). This discussion is about availability in the broadest sense and followed up by a Doodle poll, so that we can choose the best time/date for all.
- Apologies from whoever cannot attend – so we know who we’re expecting to have join us.
- Review of notes from the last meeting (sometimes we don’t talk about this but it goes out as a briefing before the meeting), Focus on anything that is still forthcoming and any action points that remain to be done.
- Agenda items: from plans and news to themes for our blog and plans for our use of Twitter.
- Round the team: we finish with this so that each team member gets a chance to add anything that we’ve missed. We usually have no more than seven participants, so this works for us. It’s important in a virtual meeting to ask each person in turn, as sometimes people have something to add but without visual signals, the chair cannot know! Of course, for a larger, more sophisticated meeting then instant messaging could be the signal needed: this won’t be easy for those joining in on smart phones though, so instant messaging isn’t necessarily equitable.
After the meeting of course, notes are circulated for the benefit of those who could not attend and to record action points.
This system seems to be working for our team at present: there are always new refinements we can make though. Are there any that you would recommend? Leave us a comment below, or tweet to us.
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