Welcome back on our list of failures on A tale of a failed meeting, a cautionary tale about how a virtual business meeting can go wrong. A story written from Marketing Manager Bill’s point of view. Our recent postcovered 7 points that failed in Bill’s meeting. This post will present you the rest.
8. Brainstorming without already thought ideas
There can be new topics that come up during a virtual business meeting, such as Bill’s ad colours. But there is no point in brainstorming and attempting to decide on such a matter during that same meeting. No one has had the chance to prepare ideas in advance. This will only delay the reach of the real goals and slow the meeting down. It’s like asking the meeting attendees to act a scenery of a film they’ve never even heard before. If a new topic comes up, write it down and include it in your next meeting if it’s necessary.
9. Going off topic
Even though it’s really nice to talk to your co-workers about your kids’ school and the weather in New Zealand, save those talks to the coffee break. You don’t want to be the one responsible for delaying everyone else’s work when you could’ve ended the meeting on time. Focus on the reason for the meeting and if something really funny comes to your mind, email or Slack it to everyone.
10. Lack of leadership
This is highly related to the two previous points. You don’t want to be like Gerald: filing your nails when the attendees are talking. As a meeting host you are in charge of directing the discussion to the right track, and keeping it that way. Be a leader, not a Gerald.
11. Focusing on small stuff
A difficult trap that is hard to avoid. But it’s the meeting host’s job to avoid them. Some things like ad colours do not require everyone’s opinion. In most cases. If all the meeting attendees don’t have to be part of the decision making, you can email the relevant people about the topic to make decisions on it on your own time.
12. People who shouldn’t talk, talk all the time
If you are one of these people, stop. If you are hosting a virtual business meeting with one of these people, make them stop. These people require a certain environment to be able to open their mouth without a real reason. You as a meeting host are responsible of changing the environment to be more collaborative. If the person keeps on answering questions and not letting anyone else talk, you can ask people directly: “What do you think, Bill?”. Even though it might feel like you are throwing them in a lion’s cage, you are actually allowing them to contribute. Even if they didn’t have an opinion at that time, it would allow you to break the habit of allowing just one person to talk. Others might not feel as intimidated to contribute after you let someone else have a say in turn.
13. Lack of time management
This is a hard job for the meeting host. Not only do you have to make sure people are collaborating, but you also have to manage how long some things are being discussed. This is part of your preparation as a meeting host: to determine the time that is spent having discussions on each important aspect in the meeting. The only way you can achieve this is by setting actual times (e.g. 10:45 talk about Project A, 11:00 talk about Project B). Sometimes you might need to be firm with moving on to the next topic. As you prepare, you will be able to determine whether all the issues can be dealt during one meeting or if additional meetings need to be scheduled.
14. No dedicated note taker
It might seem enough for the meeting attendees to take their own notes which they can use as a reference after the virtual business meeting. However, you have to remember that people focus on things they think are important in the moment. And thus they might miss some things that can be useful later on. Meeting minutes allow people to review the agenda, what was decided, follow-up actions that are required, due dates and other discussions that they could have missed while for example finding relevant documents to share to others.
15. Leaving without clear follow-up steps
A rookie mistake. If you want your meeting to have a meaning and drive people to the right direction, follow-up steps are vital. Every meeting attendee had a reason to be part of the meeting (as mentioned in our previous post) so there has to be some action everyone can take after the meeting as well.
As a result, we found 15 areas holding Bill’s online conference call back. Did you come up with the same number? Do you agree with our points? Would you add any which you might have experienced in the past? We hope these tips help you, whether you are a meeting host or an attendee. After all, the reason for holding virtual business meetings is to collaborate efficiently. When you dodge the potential virtual business meeting fails, you will be able to create a collaborative environment like no other!