The recent outbreak of COVID-19 will leave a lasting effect on most manufacturing workplaces. It is challenging to grasp the “new norm” while working remote and trying to stay productive. Set aside the laborious daily commute to and from the office and let us focus on tuning into our screens for the near future. We have become accustomed to designing our meetings around a sales showroom providing a hands-on experience to our customers and are now forced to quickly react and figure out how to deliver that same performance online. For some, virtual meetings can be a way to be more casual and the formal meeting etiquette is thrown to the wayside. With these challenging times, I believe it is important to remind each other to stay focused and attempt to maintain the “business as usual mentality”. Here are a few tips to running a successful and productive virtual meeting:
- Holding the attention of the group while presenting through a screen is challenging. Keep meetings short and to the point, to make sure fit/form/function is covered and make sure to stay focused on the task at hand.
- Keep the meeting simple. Begin the conversation with a high-level goal and identify action items that you would like to see coming as a result. Do not leave the opportunity for opinions during the meeting, this will prolong the discussion, and often allow focus to shift off course of the task at hand.
- Keep the attendee list minimal. Choose the most qualified individuals pertinent to your project, and make sure they are the focus in your presentation. Many companies have migrated to a group platform and sharing a meeting online can quickly become dis-organized if there are too many cooks in the kitchen.
- TEST TEST TEST. Schedule a “mock” presentation with your internal team, and test video and audio quality prior to having a formal discussion with your customers and decision makers. Run through potential hiccups that might arise during the meeting. You want to be the expert during this presentation. Nobody wants to deal with a new video conference platform without some guidance and understanding on how the tool is supposed to function. Be prepared for questions and some minor setbacks as participants join in and help guide them along the way.