Virtual Meetings: The Ultimate Guide (2022)

As more and more people are out of their offices, and working from  their studies, bedrooms or dining tables, virtual meetings have become the norm. Video conferencing platforms have already assumed a position alongside email as a core channel for communication and collaboration. 

According to a report, cloud-based video conferencing offers high fidelity and the ability to connect seamlessly, which is critical to increasing employee engagement in businesses. Not to mention, video conferencing today can be used in a wide variety of situations and at a low cost. This makes it a viable option for businesses, especially in an increasingly remote world.

Chapter 1: Virtual Meeting Fundamentals

virtual open day auditorium
Have attendees gather in the virtual auditorium for your virtual meeting.

What is a Virtual Meeting?

Virtual meetings are exactly as they sound. A meeting that is held online, or an event that takes place virtually. It is an online environment where people can interact, rather than meeting at a physical location. It is a  gathering of people to interact, share ideas, and share an experience, all online. 

This means that individuals based anywhere in the world simply have to dial in, as opposed  with traveling to a meeting venue. It can take the form of video, text, or audio chats.

Virtual meetings ensure inclusivity, as they allow all employees to partake in important discussions regardless of where they are based.

Difference Between Virtual Meetings & Virtual Events

A virtual event is one which is held for your customers or target audience. It includes multiple sessions and activities to keep a host of attendees engaged. It could take the shape of a conference, a trade show, job fair, or education fair.

However, a virtual meeting is largely an internal event. It is usually for the sake of a company or organization to collaborate within itself, such as an annual review or a town hall. However, it need not be limited to just that. A virtual meeting can be between intergovernmental agencies or world leaders as well. 

How Does a Virtual Meeting Work?

How you create a virtual experience using the tools available is entirely up to you. Whether it is a simple video call, or an entire immersive virtual experience, your imagination and creativity is the only limitation. 

Types of Virtual Meetings

There are various types of meetings. vFairs asked their experienced HR manager for their keen insight. Here is an exhaustive list of meetings (and potentially ideas) for you to identify your meeting type!

Internal Meetings

Town Halls 

These are company-wide meetings that can be held biweekly. The purpose is to connect with employees, share updates from each team/department and volunteer squads. Commonly led by team leads or any stakeholder/peer that is close to the update or project, you can use this opportunity to share celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, and employee spotlights. 

It’s also a great place to play games and engage in wellness activities (mental or physical). Town halls can help you understand general employee morale, and create a sense of community.

Retros

Retrospective meetings occur at the end of a project to help teams pause and think about improving future performance. It’s a safe space for reviewing the project’s successes, identifying opportunities for process improvement, and solving issues that may have come up. Usually, managers do not attend these meetings.

Huddles/ Sync-ups 

Huddles are commonly held daily, weekly, or biweekly. These meetings are used for teams to connect on daily tasks and team goals. The purpose is to set priorities, manage everyone’s tasks and schedules, and share any information.

Friday Game Days

Game days are team-led initiatives where peers get together for casual catch-up and virtual games such as pictionary, two truths and a lie, trivia, and any other. There are two simple rules to these meetings: 1) have fun and 2) no work talk.

Pulse Check-Ins 

Pulse check-ins are meetings between HR and employees to measure satisfaction, performance analysis, engagement, any support needed, and morale.

Onboarding Sessions 

These sessions are designed to brief new employees. You can show them around the virtual workspace and show them how, and why we work. It is to help them ease into the workspace and get acquainted with the work culture.

All Hands 

These are company-wide meetings held quarterly. Commonly led by the CEO and leaders, the purpose is to share new quarterly goals for each team and report on the past quarter’s goals. This helps teams understand how you measured up against the last quarter. You can also conduct engagement and team building activities.

Fireside Chats

This is an optional meeting where the organization invites an external thought leader, customer, celebrity, author, or person in a position of influence. This individual coincides with an active company goal, mission or value. 

The speaker is usually interviewed live by someone internally, and has questions gathered beforehand by employees that are interested in learning about something specific.

 

Ask me Anything 

Another optional meeting, this is where a leader, founder, or CEO of the organization is interviewed by everyone within the organization. Common topics include the vision of the company, revenue, personal hobbies, or passions.

Lunch and Learns 

This is an employee initiated meeting that happens ad-hoc. The goal is for an employee to share a new process, a new tool, a new technology, or product feature with the entire team.

Skip Level Meetings

A meeting where the manager invites employees for a session with direct reports to discuss feedback, and conduct a performance analysis of the team and ideas.

Roundtables 

A meeting where the CEO gathers employees from various teams. He/she makes a conscious effort to keep the teams, tenure, positions, and locations diverse with the attendees.

Each roundtable has a theme such as “What do you think of the gamification feature of the vFairs platform?” or “What are your struggles in a remote-first workforce and how do you overcome them?”

Here, employees share their experiences, client information and/or personal views.

One on Ones

A private meeting between a manager and their direct reportee to understand feedback, performance, priorities, challenges, and successes. The common practice is to have a 1:1 with each direct reportee on a weekly basis

Mediations 

A session held between HR and two or more employees who  need assistance communicating with each other. HR acts as the mediator and helps the employees navigate the conversation and guides them to a healthy and mutual solution.

Brainstorming/ Working Sessions 

This is an ad-hoc session that gathers the contributors of a project or initiative to work together  on a virtual meeting. The purpose of this type of meeting is to get creative, identify roadblocks, and play out a situation to see if it is sustainable and scalable.

External

Retros 

Similar to internal retrospective meetings, an external retro will simply involve customers and the project team pausing and thinking about future performance. The project’s success and areas for improvement are identified, issues resolved and new plans charted out.

Quarterly Business Reviews 

A meeting where the client service representative walks through how the company met (or didn’t meet) customer expectations. This is also an opportunity to review new product features, upcoming events, and find new areas of opportunity

Event Planning 

A meeting held by the team for an upcoming event. This is where you plan the event, set up actions, create expectations, and plan on how to provide a ‘wow’ experience.

Onboarding

This is the process that new users go through to get set up and start using your product.

Discovery 

This is an initial meeting with an employee from your company, with a prospective customer to understand what pain points and satisfactions. This is to help mutually build a beneficial partnership.

Demo 

A meeting booked between your company and the prospective customer to demonstrate the value of your product/service, and how it can be applied to the customer’s goals.

Follow-ups 

In this meeting your company employees may reach out to a customer to follow up on a pending action.

Interviews 

HR conducts interviews with candidates for positions within the organization.

Chapter 2: Advantages & Disadvantages

COVID-19 changed the world in many ways. As countries shut down, economies almost came to a standstill. However, businesses and technological innovation rose to the occasion and adapted extremely quickly. Software such as Zoom had sales that soared 326% in 2020.

Many of us have had a hard time letting go of the in-person experience. However, as time has progressed, there are obvious advantages to being virtual. Here is why you should consider keeping your meetings virtual.

Advantages

1. Convenience

With a device in your hands as a tool to connect to anyone across the globe, how can one deny the convenience of virtual meetings? Instead of preparing long beforehand, if one needs something resolved, they need only contact their team and hop on. This is much easier than finding a physical space, coordinating with people to join and finally sit down together. 

2. Reduced Expenditures

All you need for a virtual meeting is a stable internet connection and a mobile or computer device that enables you to join the virtual space. No more travel costs, food costs, rental costs for space. It is as simple as it sounds.

In doing so, you are saving expenses for other tools that you can apply to your organization.

Without a doubt, the reduction in costs and increased ROI will be a huge attraction for businesses. Virtual events are 75% less expensive than physical events. This creates leeway for companies to invest in and customize immersive experiences for their customers. 

According TrustRadius’s survey, 67% of companies plan to invest in web conferencing software in the near future. This only means that the demand for  customized virtual events will be even higher in the coming days.

3. Employee Inclusion

You don’t want any of your employees to feel left out or alienated. In order for your business to grow, employee satisfaction is key. If they feel they at any point feel they are not part of the bigger machine, they may lose interest. 

Inclusive leadership has emerged as a unique and critical way of  helping organizations adapt to new markets, ideas and talents. According to Deloitte Insight, an inclusive environment can drive employees 70 percent more than those who are not. 

Learn about how team morale affects employee performance.

3. Low Carbon Footprint

In a world where climate change is at its brink, businesses and organizations too have to rethink their strategy. Your carbon footprint includes the GHG emissions every time an employee travels on a car or bus to the location and the electricity being used to power your building/room.

When you host virtual meetings, you are reducing this collective carbon footprint significantly.

4. Greater Flexibility

If not entirely, the future is definitely partially virtual. All this depends on a city’s standards of procedure and restrictions. How many individuals are allowed within a physical location? Is there a mask mandate? Do people need to present their vaccination status? 

All of this makes managing an event restrictive. For this reason, hybrid event formats will be necessary in order to ensure maximum participation. 

Those who wish to continue working remotely will continue to do so, while others who still wish to have physical interaction, might return to the office. 

For this reason, virtual meetings offer greater flexibility. Your work does not have to be pulled to an entire stop!

Not to mention, virtual event providers already offer virtual and hybrid event solutions. Now companies can use the same tools in different ways. Meetings can be made more interactive, can include gamifications and can include both physical and virtual spaces.

5. Saves Time

With platforms such as vFairs that offer end to end project management, you no longer need to be overwhelmed with event planning. A dedicated project manager and their team will manage everything from event planning, creation, execution, technical support and post event analytics. 

Your time is saved by allowing someone else to plan and create the meeting for you. 

This way you will have ample time  for other tasks.

Disadvantages

There are a few small disadvantages of virtual meetings. However, they are only slight inconveniences which you can easily maneuver around.

1. Setup Cost

If you are a small business or a non-profit, cost can be a consideration for virtual meetings. Setting up and planning for a virtual meeting can be costly depending on how elaborate you want it to be. 

However, platforms like vFairs are happy to accommodate your costs. Your dedicated project management team will guide you to make use of the most relevant features, based on your objectives. They will do this keeping in mind your budget, whilst also setting you up for success! In any case, these meetings will cost less than regular physical meetings.

2. Keeping Participants Engaged

This can be challenging, given that the meeting aims to achieve a certain goal. How can you keep participants engaged? It can be confusing, so virtual event platforms like vFairs provide tools that can be used to keep participants involved without digressing from the purpose of the meeting. 

You can include polls and Q&As to allow employees to provide input. You can also include trivia and spin the wheel that can help make the meeting more exciting!

For more ideas for virtual meeting engagement, jump to Chapter 5!

virtual-environment
Create an experience from a multitude of features to choose from

Chapter 3: Virtual Meeting Preparation

How Do You Decide What’s Working and What Isn’t for Your Employees?

Always keep an eye on employee experience. There are a suite of products in the market that you can use. But how do you decide which collaboration tool will best suit your organization?

Step one is to democratize the process. If your organization is about to purchase a new piece of software, don’t push it down their throats. It is important to let them have some input. For instance, which tools do they like? Which vendor features do they like? 

The best way to do this is by having a cross-department survey. Conduct frequent polls for your users. As your business and products evolve, take into account if previous softwares being used serves their business function. Is it still working for them? Did it ever work for them? It is a continuous process, so you know how the best technology is adopted.

Essentially, have them choose the tool that you will now deploy. 

Create a Great Employee Experience

Southwest Airline prides itself on employee satisfaction:  “Happy employees make happy customers.” 

Creating a great employee experience is of utmost importance. This can be ensured by simple ‘how to use’ group training and one on ones. A lot of the time people aren’t used to certain technologies. Are your employees shifting from Microsoft to a Mac, Slack, and Google environment? Don’t assume they know everything already.

Employee experience starts from the day they are onboarded. It is not just about technology, but knowing your employee. Knowing what they are bringing to the table and what they are trying to accomplish.

Also prepare for what employees need. Do they need a noise-canceling headset? A second monitor? A spare mouse? Do they need a more reliable internet connection? How can you make their experience easier?

For more about employee experience, listen to the ‘CIO Classified: How to create a great employee experience’ podcast.

Begin Planning Your Virtual Meeting 

Choose the Right Tools

Reliable Internet

Make sure you have a reliable internet connection. If your connection falls apart, the whole meeting falls apart. The same goes for your employees. Make sure they too have a reliable internet connection. Is that something you can provide? Or is there one you can recommend for them with a decent payment plan?

Decent Technological Apparatus

Make sure your own camera and microphone are top-notch and working properly. Also prepare for what employees need. Do they need a noise canceling headset? A second monitor? A spare mouse? How can you make their experience easier?

Lighting

No one wants to see you in a dark room, with the laptop glow on your face. Make sure you are visible and the lighting suits the monitor. This way your mannerisms are clear. You want to seem professional for your meeting.

Figure Out Scheduling

It is crucial that all those involved can make it to your meeting. Do not simply place the meeting time without considering other employee engagements, or time zones.

Share a form or poll with indicative times that employees can choose that best suits them. Now, Google Calendar makes things easier anyway. With a shared calendar, you can see everyone’s commitments and schedule a time accordingly.

Tools such as Calendly and Hubspot also enable you to schedule slots that your employees can choose times from!

Set a Meeting Agenda

Meetings are pointless if there isn’t an objective. Decide what you want to accomplish. Are you solving a problem? Are you trying to meet a goal? Do you want sales team feedback on product engagement? Is the marketing team brainstorming new ideas that need to be shared? You will want to have a clear idea of what you expect from the meeting. You can then create a congruent plan.

Before employees join the meeting, this makes sure they know what to expect. They should not be coming in blind. If they are aware of the objectives of the meeting, the likelihood they will come prepared with feedback and input is high. This will also make sure they are feeling included.

You can share the agenda through a designated landing page provided by your platform. 

Draft an Invitation Email

Once you have decided a schedule and a meeting agenda, you can begin inviting your participants. Your invitation email should be clear and precise with the information. Here are a few steps to get you started.

Step 1

Make sure you have a  clear subject line. Such as:

  • Important sales team meeting
  • Project kickoff on Wednesday at 1pm
  • Meeting to welcome the new VP
  • Marketing brainstorm meeting

Step 2

Share the when and where in the email even if it is clear in the calendar and the subject line. Reiteration is important.

Step 3 

Specify how long you think the meeting will run, so that attendees block out the specified amount of time. This way they are also mentally prepared. It’s always good to indicate the maximum amount of time. So that even if you run within that time frame, you don’t specify a shorter amount and run over time. (Participants usually hate that).

Step 4

Explain the purpose of your meeting and why it’s important. This will help those involved determine how relevant it is to them. If it isn’t relevant to someone, they can let you know and thus allocate their time to other deliverables. 

Step 5

Share the meeting agenda so that all steps and discussion points are clear. Your employees can then bring their input accordingly.

Step 6

Ask for an RSVP! This way you know who is attending and who might have missed the email  altogether. 

Step 7

Don’t forget to include the meeting link! 

Step 8

Sign off with a professional signature including your full name designation and company logo!

Pro-tip: Keep your entire email brief. They just need the gist.

Sample Email Template

email-template-virtual-meetings

Virtual Meeting Background

It’s always good to have a professional meeting background that best reflects your organization. It could be the company logo, or even the company lobby. It brings some added professionalism to your meeting (as opposed to your bedroom!).

Virtual Meeting Recording

With everyone’s consent, you should record your meeting. Most platforms offer this feature. It is essential so that, should anyone miss the meeting due to unforeseen circumstances, they can have a look when they are able. 

This is also a good way to make sure all your employees are included. 

Manage Disruptions

Hosts

  • Make sure you have a reliable internet connection. If your connection falls apart, the whole meeting falls apart
  • Be sure to be in a space without ambient noise and without interruptions
  • Make sure you have made use of the tool before, so there are no surprises on the day of

Attendees

  • Make sure your mic is on mute to avoid excessive noise 
  • Speak only when asked  to avoid overlap – use tools such as the chat room or raise hand in order to keep things organized
  • Be sure to keep all kids/pets outside of your space to avoid distractions

Chapter 4: Virtual Meeting Etiquettes

There are certain etiquettes you should be sure to follow when conducting your meeting. They are very different to those of physical setting meetings. You would be surprised how many times people don’t follow these simple rules. If they are not adhered to, it is easy for your meeting to go haywire. Keep in mind:

Start & Finish on Time

When you scheduled this meeting, you kept in mind other people’s engagements and availability. Now that they have blocked out time, do your best to start on time and end on time.

If you are the host, and late, attendees will not like waiting around for you. Especially since they can’t start the meeting without you.You should be on the line before everyone else! 

This will help your employees see that you are cognizant of and value their time. Meetings sometimes have a tendency to run over time. You want to be sure that this does not happen with your meeting and it is completed in the specified amount of time.

Locate Yourself Appropriately

If you do not have a virtual background, it is important that you locate yourself in a space that is professional. If you are working remotely, your personal office would be the best. If you do not have such a space, pick a spot with a plain background. Make sure it is not a room that is used frequently by other employees, or (if at home) family members.

You want to avoid any distractions as well as look professional. This sets the tone and mood for the meeting. 

Stick to the Agenda

Sticking to the agenda makes sure there are no surprises for the attendees. They are also prepared for the agenda set, and have likely brought relevant information. Not to mention, sticking to the agenda will help you stick to the time limit. 

Consensual Recording

If you are recording the meeting, it is important to let the attendees know beforehand. This way, if they are uncomfortable, they can let you know. In addition, they can also protect any private information they want. Consent is always crucial in both the virtual and physical spheres! 

Come Prepared

You can’t expect to just wing it at any presentation. In order to stick to the time and prevent any last minute haste, come prepared! Here are some helpful tips:

  • Be sure you know how to work the software. Do a test round once so you are aware of all the tools at your behest. No time will be wasted if you aren’t searching for certain toggles or tools.
  • Plan and time your presentation so that you are sticking to the agenda. 
  • Make sure all your audio and video tools are working properly.

Dress Appropriately

Many of us have taken to dressing appropriately just from the chest up, due to camera views. However, we would recommend dressing professionally from top to bottom. This helps you set the mood and tone for yourself. 

Not to mention, it provides fewer chances of embarrassing yourself!

Don’t Talk over People

Who is leading the conversation? It is important that this individual acts as a moderator. When you start the meeting, it is important to share housekeeping rules. Such as keeping the mic on mute to avoid background noise. If you have a raise hand option, ask individuals to use that in order to speak. Simply unmuting a mic and speaking will only cause disruption. Remember to allow sufficient time so that everyone can provide their input. 

It won’t be easy to manage multiple people speaking simultaneously. Moderators usually have complete control over the meeting so they can even control who speaks when.

speake-controls
Complete speaker controls can help you better moderate your meeting.

Maintain Eye Contact

It’s hard enough that you aren’t in a physical space. People cannot see your body language. That’s why it’s important you maintain eye contact. You can look directly at the camera, so attendees can feel like you are actually speaking to them. To get used to this, just practice as if the camera is the audience. 

This doesn’t mean that you become a robot! You can switch between your notes or look at the different participants. The point is that you are making everyone feel like you are looking at them.

If you are well prepared for your presentation, this should be easy enough!

Provide a Wrap Up

How you close your virtual meeting is vital. At the wrap up of your meeting you can ask people to drop some closing remarks in the chat or turn by turn over audio. This allows everyone to have the opportunity to speak and get something off their chest. 

You can then provide a summary of the meeting. At this point, you can reference the time to show you are time conscious.

Pro tip: If you are the host, be sure to be the last one to sign off. This way, if anyone hangs back to speak to you, you are available. 

Chapter 5: Virtual Meeting Engagement Ideas

Make sure you have some activities planned to keep your employees engaged. Here are some suggestions to make virtual meetings more fun!

Virtual Ice Breakers

Ice breakers are a great way to get you and your participants to feel more relaxed and comfortable. Otherwise, you will have an audience that does not speak up. You can pose a question or have them share something about themselves. When people realize others are pretty much in the same boat as them, they ease up. Here are some suggested icebreaker activities for your virtual meetings.

1. Quick Round of Introductions

The easiest and general way to get everyone to ease in is by doing a round of introductions. However, this is best only for when you are meeting for the first time. Prompt them to just say their names, and a quick intro to themselves. Add a twist by asking them to share a fun fact about themselves.

2. Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego?

Get your participants to share a view of their window, and have individuals guess where each of them are. 

3. Hold a Trivia Game 

Why not conduct an office trivia round. Break people into breakout rooms, and have them answer questions in a set amount of time. Whichever team gets the most answers right, wins! 

Pro tip: Throw in individual gift cards for some added fun.

4. Share a Talent

You can either get individuals to simply share a talent or perform their talent,depending on their comfort level (don’t put them on the spot either). This can help them get to know one another better too. 

5. What’s Your Spirit Animal & Why?

Share the definition of what a spirit animal is, and get everyone to think about it. Each then shares why they likened themselves to that specific animal. This is a good self-exploratory exercise. 

Scavenger Hunt

As part of your virtual environment, you can create a scavenger hunt. As people move between rooms in the virtual lobby or exhibition hall, make them keep an eye out for either the company logo, a company product, or anything under the sun! As they gather these, whoever finds the most wins!

scavenger-hunt
Engage participants with a virtual scavenger hunt.

Leaderboard

If you have included a virtual scavenger hunt or trivia session, there can be a board that consolidates scores. Create friendly employee competition as they gather their scores and try to outdo one another. You can also allocate points to various activities in order to incentivize participation.

Pro-tip: Encourage employee engagement by providing gifts to the winner, second place runner up, and third place runner up.

Mindfulness Meditation or Yoga Class

In today’s day and age, mindfulness and well being are a great part of individual lives. Have a session between group meetings where people can relax or stretch it out. A more relaxed employee is bound to be a happier employee. Remember happy employees = happy customers.

Virtual Happy Hour

After a long day of meetings and brainstorming, why not end the day with a virtual happy hour. You can have gift boxes sent to your employees prior to the meeting with a drink and ask them to hold onto it till the end of the day. Everyone can then join a group call, or relax in the networking lounge with a drink in hand and some friendly company.

Interact on Social Media

As part of the meeting, have your employees participate in social media activities. For instance, they can post an office activity they conducted onto their social media profiles, with a custom hashtag just for the virtual meeting. These posts will then show up on the social media wall within the virtual meeting. Have employees like their favorite ones and you can share a prize for those that did the best!

This will create wonderful engagement both before and during the meeting. It will break the ice, give your employees something exciting to do, and also show how inclusive your company is on social media platforms. 

Host Quizzes & Contests

With integrations such as Kahoot, you can create fun games like quizzes and have employees compete against each other. Ask fun questions about the company or bosses. Your employees will find it a great way to unwind and relax whilst initiating friendly competition with their peers. Winners can get a company gift hamper.

Virtual Phone Booth

In the age of social media, everyone loves a friendly photo sharing their experiences. Why not bring a photobooth to your virtual meeting and have employees take group or individual photos together!

Breakout Rooms

Lest we forget, the meeting is happening for a reason. You are all trying to achieve a company goal. Breakout rooms are essential when you are having a company-wide call. You can make use of tools such as Miro Whiteboard in order to jot down everyone’s ideas in an interactive manner that can then be brought to the main meeting room. 

Breakout rooms can also be used if you are hosting a virtual party. Employees from different departments can be paired up  so as to create more company peer engagement.

Put The Employee First

Remember, you have to help make the employees feel they are  an integral part of the organization. Think about what they would greatly benefit from. What would they truly enjoy as part of the meeting? Why not include them in the decision-making process?

Share a poll or survey prior to the event. Gather information that can help you create your agenda as well. Ask them what they would like to be included in the event? Maybe there are certain skill sets they would like to brush up or acquire new ones. You can offer webinars with certifications at the end for this reason. 

During the event, you can ask them to share their ideas or vision for the company in breakout sessions. They can do this using miro whiteboard or create posters that can be displayed in the virtual poster hall. This activity will help them feel part of the company and thus more invested in achieving its mission and goals. 

Chapter 6: Choosing the Right Virtual Meeting Platform

How to Choose a Virtual Meeting Platform

There are certain things that you need to remember when choosing your virtual meetings platform.

  • Does this tool have the bandwidth to support company-wide calls?

You need software that is reliable. It should be able to support multiple speakers and attendees. More importantly, should there be a glitch or technical fault, a support team should be  ready to resolve it as it arises. 

  • Does this tool have engagement tools?

Formerly, we mentioned the importance of creating great employee experience. Providing them with engagement adds to that experience. This can be in the form of gamification or even a survey on company feedback. 

  • Can it offer more than a Zoom call?

Simple video calls? Snore. Now, there are platforms out there that provide an entire virtual environment. These platforms include integrations with softwares like Zoom and MS teams, an auditorium, exhibition hall, networking lounge and more. 

  • Does this tool offer data analytics?

Who joined the meeting and from where? How many people from the company joined? What are their profiles? What was their feedback? 

  • Can you personalize meeting rooms?

Maybe you have a townhall for the entire company. But then you have a meeting room specifically for board members or other stakeholders. You can create meeting rooms so that only those individuals can partake.

  • Does the tool save materials?

Not everyone will be able to make it. You need to ensure your platform provides on demand materials. This includes any webinars , PDF or other resources you wish to include. You can even upload these as part of the virtual swag bag.

What Are the Best Platforms for Running Virtual Meetings?

There are so many solutions out there and the task now is to choose the right solution. Find one that best fits your meeting needs and goals. Choose a solution that can be integrated and is best suited to all your stakeholders. 

One that is a tool, not a barrier. So, they have to be easy to use and easy to understand. These tools are essential for greater collaboration, more dialogue, and more employee input. 

vFairs offers everything you need for virtual meetings that go above and beyond your traditional video conferencing tools. You can create a 3D virtual lobby that can be customized to look like your building reception. You can even customize your avatars to look like individuals in your company. There is a networking lounge where individuals can move their cursor and chat to those in close proximity to them. They can then speak to them over audio or video chats.  

With vFairs features and integrations, you can include softwares that your company is most used to. This could be Zoom, Ms Teams, Miro Whiteboard and more!

Not to mention, the platform is entirely mobile accessible. So, employees can hop on during transit, or wherever they might be.

The vFairs platform is entirely intuitive and user friendly. However, it offers training modules for their clients as well. These can aid employees to understand the platform better.

Key Features

In order to better understand what  you should be looking for in virtual event platforms such as vFairs, here is a quick run down.

Single Button Sign-On

Participants can just click to login, or type in their email address to register for your meeting. This you can do by already having their information available from the back end from your company database. This ensures security and privacy. 

Integrations

Is your company used to specific software? It would probably be best to make use of the same tools during your virtual meetings, so that your employees don’t feel like they have to understand the entire platform when they arrive. 

Whether MS Teams, Zoom, WebEx or any others, your virtual event platform should be able to provide you with these integrations. These softwares will have HD audio & video features so that you can effectively communicate during your meeting.

integrations
Seamlessly plan your event with the help of numerous integrations

Networking: Direct & Group Messaging

Meetings require a lot of discussion, and there should be space for people to be able to do that. Be it a team meeting or 1:1 chats, you can have audio, video or text enabled features for people to get talking. 

Networking has become more efficient and easy within virtual platforms. Networking tools such as auto matchmaking align individuals with similar profiles. This can make it easy to form teams in breakout sessions.

Do you have meetings with outside stakeholders? With attendee profiles that have a virtual business card, you can now save attendees and export their information at the end of the event into an excel sheet. All this makes networking so much more efficient and easier.

networking
Create spaces where participants can easily network.

Powerful Administrative Controls

With an event builder, vFairs offers you an intuitive and user friendly backend interface. This way, both you and your dedicated project management team can make tweaks as you deem fit. Here, you can set up everything from your landing page, registration process and more. You do not need to be an IT whizz to make use of the platform. After a short training session, you are good to go!

Event-builder
Build your entire event easily through vFairs user friendly backend

Recordings & Transcriptions

Various accessibility features will also make your meeting even easier. With consensual recording, you can be sure that individuals can find the meeting content available on demand. During the meeting, you can also have transcriptions available. These tools are essential for ensuring that people have access to content in case there are technical issues.

Calendar Integration

You can add specific meetings to your Google calendar, Outlook etc. This way attendees don’t forget about your event!

Mobile App

Make sure your event is mobile accessible. With the vFairs mobile app, you can be sure that  your attendees will join from wherever they are.

mobile-accessibility
Cross device functionality ensures attendees can tune in from anywhere.

Smart Backgrounds

Enable custom backgrounds that represent your company logo or even office space.  This is great for building connection with your brand!

Gamification

With event gamification, you can make the experience so much more gratifying. During speaker sessions, you can hold interactive Q&A’s and polls or integrate with softwares such as Kahoot for an engaging experience. Within the event, you can have scavenger hunts, a virtual leaderboard, trivia, and so much more. You need only test your limits. 

trivia and quizzes at virtual events
Engage attendees with gamifications such as trivia and polls.

Chapter 7: Virtual Meeting Best Practices

Here is a checklist for best practices during your meeting:

    • Segment longer meetings – The best way to do this is dividing it into 15 to 30 minute segments.
    • Send email reminders (with agenda) – make sure you send an email reminder a day before your meeting with the schedule, lest participants forget.
    • Do not tolerate disrespect – Be sure to let everyone have the opportunity to speak but do not tolerate any rudeness or disrespect. Whether it is being rude in speech, or arriving much later than other participants.
    • Signal to others you’re in a meeting – To avoid any disruptions, lock your door or let other colleagues/family members know you are in a meeting. 
    • Log in early – If you are the host and moderator, you have to be the first to arrive. The entire meeting depends on you.
    • Start with video on – Whether others turn theirs on or not, as the host you should keep your video on. It is the best way to keep attendees engaged. Otherwise they will simply be staring at a screen.
    • Muting – No matter how many participants are present, make sure they’re muted. This will keep all disruptions from their end, out!
    • Know when to speak – Make you or anyone else speak at the same time and have the etiquette to give others space to speak.
    • Inform before leaving – If you are an attendee who has to leave early, it’s always best to drop a message in the chat to let others know you will be leaving. Do not turn on the mic to interrupt someone speaking.
    • Protect sensitive information in screen sharing – A very easy thing to do, because we usually forget. Make sure all your filled passwords are not visible, or remove the self filling password option. If you have any images of family members, it’s best to not have those visible either.
    • Too much typing – Don’t disturb your audience with endless point taking and typing. The sound can be displeasing. 
  • Don’t eat on camera – You wouldn’t eat in a physical setting during a meeting. The same rules apply in a virtual one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What tools do I need for a virtual meeting?

Brainstorm with your team what you want to achieve from the meeting. Based on your objectives, your dedicated project management team will help you ascertain the best tools to achieve said goals.

How long should a virtual meeting last?

No more than an hour! Remember to break your meeting into segments and take breaks to keep attendees from losing attention. End early if you think attention spans are plummeting. 

How should I end my virtual meeting?

A quick wrap up with a summary of the meeting main points should do the trick!

What do you do in a virtual meeting?

Your virtual meeting should be set with an objective in mind. You will most likely need webinars, networking features and more in order to achieve those goals. 

What is the best platform for a virtual meeting?

vFairs offers you customizable features, integrations, gamifications and much much more in order to ensure your event is a success. With end-to-end solutions, you have yourself sorted for planning and execution.

How to ensure inclusivity in your virtual meeting?

Ensure inclusivity with vFairs accessibility features such as multiple language captioning, color adjustments, or other options!

How to make virtual meetings available on demand?

Once your meeting is over, you can ensure that the material is available for upto a month. If anyone wants to revisit or if anyone missed the event, you can keep it accessible for their use. 

 

Virtual Meetings: The Ultimate Guide (2022)

Azal Zahir

Azal Zahir is content and copy writer at vFairs, working closely with and providing support to the marketing team. She has a Masters degeree from New York University, and has dabbled in journalism, education, research projects and project management in the last 5 years. Primarily an environmentalist, she identifies as an environmental educator. vFairs is the perfect zero carbon footprint platform for the likes of her!

About

Virtual Meetings: The Ultimate Guide (2022)

Azal Zahir

Azal Zahir is content and copy writer at vFairs, working closely with and providing support to the marketing team. She has a Masters degeree from New York University, and has dabbled in journalism, education, research projects and project management in the last 5 years. Primarily an environmentalist, she identifies as an environmental educator. vFairs is the perfect zero carbon footprint platform for the likes of her!

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