How to run effective virtual and in-person meetings

Understanding how to have effective meetings is one of the most important business communication skills that employees at all levels need to learn to thrive at work – especially in hybrid and remote workplaces.

And whatever industry you’re in, you’ll probably have plenty of meetings to contend with. According to Doodle’s State of Meetings Report , video meetings skyrocketed in 2020. One on one meetings rose by 1,230% while virtual group meetings increased by 613%.

That’s all well and good, until you consider that only 50% of meeting time is effective, well-used and engaging . And not only are pointless meetings annoying, but they are also a drain on your revenue: two hours per week spent in pointless meetings results in a waste of more than $541 billion in employee time .

What are you trying to achieve with your meeting?

Every meeting should have a goal, and by not clearly defining that goal with your agenda, or even clearly spelling it out in the description of your meeting invite, you are wasting your co-workers’ time. Sometimes that goal is simple, like establishing next steps or assigning specific people to specific tasks. But whatever you do, don’t leave a meeting with questions an un-actionable to-do list.

We’ve all been to meetings that ended 30 minutes early because everything was resolved after one person answered a couple of questions. Before you create a meeting, start outlining your concerns in an email. If that email takes you less than five minutes to compose, you may be able to solve this with a cc, some specific questions and a good subject line.

Is it important that you get approval on every decision you make?

If you can solve a problem without completely disrupting others’ work or overstepping your responsibilities, solve it. No meeting necessary. Having to ask permission for everything conveys a lack of confidence, and your boss takes that into consideration when performance reviews come around.

Meetings let you use one-on-one discussions, small group activities, and facilitated discussions to make sure everyone’s ideas get heard before the group settles on a final idea or strategy and they can even drive your rewards and recognition strategy. This is known as the 1-2-All technique, and it’s only one of many strategies in which changing the physical arrangement of bodies in the room focuses team members’ minds in different ways.

Meetings also let you build relationships in a way that you can only do in person. You don’t have to make s’mores and sing camp songs—not that there’s anything wrong with that—but you need to be in the same room when you’re bonding. It’s the only way you can:

You can even introduce ice breakers or games that get people thinking in new ways. If done at the right time and in the right way for a team, these kinds of activities can keep your meetings fresh and interesting.

9 Mute yourself when you’re not speaking

If you’re wondering how to run a zoom meeting, this is one of the easiest things that you can do to ensure the meeting runs smoothly. Just like you would on any online video conferencing software, muting yourself when you’re not speaking on Zoom is imperative. If you fail to mute your microphone, any background noise that happens within your workspace will be transferred to the rest of the attendees which may ultimately end up being a major distraction for everyone on the call. Muting your microphone and only turning it on when it’s your turn to speak is also a great way to show your respect for the host as well as all other attendees.

Writing notes and jotting down action items is extremely important. Whether you’re taking the notes yourself, or you have a designated note taker on your team, it’s best to determine who will be responsible for taking the notes while additionally identifying how the notes will be taken and distributed when the meeting ends.

Fellow’s Zoom app brings your notes into a convenient panel in your video meetings, eliminating the need to search for your notes before your next Zoom meeting. If you’re spending more time balancing browser tabs during your video meetings than connecting with the people in your meeting, Fellow’s app for Zoom will help. Don’t let your meeting notes get in the way of human connection.

12 Leverage Zoom waiting rooms for larger meetings

Learning how to run a large Zoom meeting is entirely different from learning how to run a regular meeting on Zoom because you need to learn how to manage a larger group of participants. The waiting room feature on Zoom allows you as the host to control when a participant joins the meeting. When hosting a larger Zoom meeting, waiting rooms allow you to admit meeting attendees one by one, or all at once Essentially, waiting rooms provide you with the ability to control who enters the meeting and at which moment they enter.

While in the meeting room, your meeting participants can test their speakers and microphones, but they cannot see or communicate with each other. While waiting, participants will see a window that reads “Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon.”


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