5 steps to leading a mind-blowing virtual meeting

Working from home certainly has its advantages.

You can avoid an hours-long commute, make your own schedule, and save a ton of money by whipping up lunch in your own kitchen.

But among its disadvantages is not being able to hash out the details of that revised marketing strategy, that important sponsored campaign, or that overhauled content budget in an in-person meeting with all the stakeholders.

To help make sure you’re prepared to host a productive meeting remotely, here are five steps to leading a mind-blowing virtual meeting. (Psst… For three more steps on how to lead a killer Zoom meeting, add Create & Cultivate’s The WFH Bundle to your cart. You’ll also gain access to a printable productivity checklist, a printable daily routine checklist, a set of custom Zoom background designs, and more.)

1. Test your tech beforehand

Make sure you have a strong wifi connection. We repeat: Make sure you have a strong wifi connection!

Nothing’s worse than cutting out mid-sentence while you’re making a brilliant point about profit margins, so triple-check your wifi connection, camera, and audio settings to make sure everything is working properly. 

2. Prepare a back-up plan if WiFi fails or your connection is lost

Make sure you have the Zoom app on your phone so you can quickly pivot to your cellular if needed and continue the meeting.

Ensure your meeting invite has a Google hangout option too so everyone can click on this if Zoom doesn’t work out.

Technology is a powerful tool but it can also be the one thing that lets us down when we really need it so having a few backup plans going into an important meeting is crucial for success. 

3. Have an agenda and a clear objective

Just like any in-person gathering, you want to make sure everyone knows the purpose of the meeting.

Come prepared with a list of notes, questions, or any outstanding items the group needs to discuss. Psst… If you really want to impress your boss, send out an agenda 15 minutes before the meeting that outlines what’s up for discussion.

And don’t forget to assign a note-taker ahead of the meeting who can compile the key takeaways, action items, and next steps for the recap email post-meeting—very important!  

4. Give clear login instructions

Make sure attendees have all the info they need to gain access to the meeting.

Let them know if they need to download an app, if they need to enter a password or passcode, or if they can join via phone (and don’t forget to include the dial-in number!).

Add all this info to the calendar invite and, depending on how tech-savvy your team is, send it out in an email an hour before the meeting too. That way, you can skip any tech troubleshooting and dive straight into your agenda!

5. Set up in a well-lit space

As awkward as this might sound, make sure your face is well-lit before you start the meeting.

Because, unless you’re sharing your screen, your face is pretty much all anyone can see when you’re hosting a virtual meeting. Avoid sitting in a place with a window, mirror, or lamp behind you (hello, unflattering backlighting). That way, everyone can see you.

This article first appeared on Create and Cultivate.