Meetings are essential for remote team collaborations. In other words, they are a place to exchange ideas, develop strategies, and align common goals.
Unfortunately, many people think that meetings waste time and energy. It is because they have unclear goals and also unspecific participants. According to the Harvard Business Review, 65% say meetings stop managers from completing their work. 72% say meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
To avoid that, the team needs a meeting agenda. According to the CEO of CollabsHQ, remote meetings have a session agenda beforehand, so participants know what's being discussed.
The importance of remote team meeting
In remote teams, there are different types of meetings. There are sprint meetings in the Scrum methodology, daily, monthly and annual. Distance makes meeting even more important to get on the same boat. More than that, meetings bring the team together and build empathy for one another.
Here's another reason why meetings are important:
- It helps track progress.
- The team gets organised.
- Meetings foster transparency and effective communication.
- Increase accountability
Plus, meetings must also be effective. We know that time is a valuable component that cannot be repeated. A remote meeting should be:
- Be focused: Meetings should have a purpose and be held when necessary.
- Success-oriented: No one wants to waste time, so ensure all participants understand the outcome.
- Well-structured: Agenda and expectations are primary needs in meetings. They allow people to come up with ideas.
Three conditions for an effective meeting above require an agenda. Agenda plays such a big role. It not only defines the objective of the meeting but also provides an expectation. An absolute solution, right?
Why do you need an agenda?
Once again, productive remote meetings are vital to keeping everyone on target. To have an effective meeting, you need an agenda.
1. It reduces wasted resources and time
Sometimes, managers have to make scheduled and impromptu meetings. Some things come suddenly, so it must be an instant meeting.
Now, in the agenda, participants can see what will be achieved in the meeting. Plus, it gets them to bring up relevant issues or topics. When you have to leave a meeting early, an agenda helps you know the outline of the discussion.
Agenda also helps when someone is unable to attend the meeting. They know what is discussed in the meeting even if they do not attend it.
2. It allows other speakers to get ready
The agenda makes the other speakers ready when the meeting has two or more speakers. They know when to make presentations and when to deliver them.
3. It keeps meetings on track
Discussions can sometimes drift aimlessly, and the agenda is a map to get back on track. Stop wasting time, stay focused, and get back on track when you have a meeting agenda for reference.
4. It ensures important topics are covered
You can sort meeting participants and ensure all topics are covered through the agenda—a breakdown of anyone who plays a role in the meeting and the essential points. Send meeting invitations only to those who are concerned.
Remote Meetings Software
There are several software options that you can use for meetings. Here are some recommendations you can try:
Zoom makes meetings simple and easy. You can schedule meetings in your personal space. This platform is virtual teachers' favourite. Free features of Zoom include:
- Host up to 100 participants
- Unlimited meetings
- Scheduled meetings
- Host controls
- HD audio and video
- Private and group chat
- Screen sharing
- Video meeting recordings
2. Google Meet
A simple way to connect with contacts on your smartphone is Google Meet. This platform also allows you to invite participants outside the network. Some of the free features of Google Meet include:
- Video, audio and chats conversations
- Video meeting recordings
- Screen sharing
- Join using Google Calendar
How to make an agenda for a remote team meeting
The entire team must be involved when creating an agenda. Team members can contribute suggestions and ideas for meetings. Also, send out meeting agendas 24 hours in advance. Summarising from Human Resources, here are six points that should be on the agenda:
The main objectives are fundamental but not enough to trigger the meeting. It requires a list of key points. Each point must have a time slot and who is responsible. Agenda points can be flexible, but keep them short. Make sure all points are discussed in the meeting.
2. Goals/Desired Results
The main objective of the meeting is what the meeting wants to achieve. For example, discussing financial reports, KPIs, or recruiting new teams. Through the main objective, you can determine the following:
- Meeting participants
- Set the endpoint in the meeting
- Make real goals and objectives
Without detailing this, the meeting could go on for a long time. This is what makes meetings ineffective and a waste of time.
We indeed found that low-priority items are never discussed. So we have to create items with medium and high priority. It feels stifling when the meeting goes beyond the length of the meeting and only discusses high-priority items. Participants must compile a list of priorities so that whatever is not discussed will be discussed at the next meeting.
Projecting duration in meetings will be easier if the goal section has been defined. Without a goal, it isn't easy to define the perfect durations.
Even if the duration is set in advance, it is important to consider flexibility in the meeting. There are several rigid meetings until the result is guaranteed. Others prefer time flexibility, so the discussion grows until everyone agrees.
Speakers are responsible for the topic. In some cases, they are the discussion leaders. But some serve as participants and people skilled at serving as leaders.
In virtual meetings, there are several sessions: feedback, sharing information and needs, brainstorms and icebreakers. Each session must have a detailed duration and a list of points. Usually, a brainstorming session makes the discussion go deeper than the initial duration.
Actually, there is no definite agenda in a virtual meeting. Some template recommendations out there are not suitable for use. The key is knowing the meeting's six points: points, goals, timing, priorities, who, and how. You can easily arrange any meeting agenda for any purpose through these six points.