Good communication between all team members is essential for the efficient running of a company. This is why the regular organisation of meetings in the workplace is so important for a better workflow.
Over the years, these meetings have moved from the office to the living room, and more and more companies are switching to virtual meetings. The pandemic has also accelerated this change and put virtual meetings in the first place.
- The world of virtual meetings is booming, so sooner or later, you will need some knowledge on the subject. In just a few years, it has gone from being a novelty to being the daily routine for thousands of companies.
- Virtual meetings reduce costs, increase mobility and collaboration between employees, and in many cases, increase employee productivity and flexibility.
- The positive effects of these meetings depend on a number of factors. It is important to understand the meeting platforms and functions, as well as the skills to be developed by meeting attendees and meeting hosts.
What you should know about virtual meetings
As digital communication becomes more and more common, here you will find the main tools that will help you adapt to the change. Although they are simple to use, it is always a good idea to start with some basic knowledge for more effective adaptation.
Nowadays, more and more people work from home, so they must interact with their colleagues by digital means. Considering that virtual meetings are the main collaboration tool in many companies, let’s take a look at what we need to know.
What are virtual meetings?
A virtual meeting is a meeting of any kind, which is conducted through the use of technology. Two or more people must participate in such a meeting. Instead of meeting in person, the meeting takes place online.
Virtual meetings can be used to connect and chat with friends, family and service providers, as well as for work-related issues. The latter is the most commonly used, both for employees who are not in the office and for those who are in the office but do not need to leave their desks.
This new meeting format is booming, and more and more companies are joining virtual meetings. They are so successful that they have already outnumbered face-to-face meetings, and the gap between the two is expected to widen in the coming years.
As we can see, since the pandemic, this format has developed significantly. It has not only overtaken the personal format, but has also been able to grow steadily to a high percentage of the market share as a result of its development.
Why do we need virtual meetings?
For a company to function properly, good training and communication between employees are necessary. As digital jobs increase, more people are working in remote locations.
Therefore, in many situations, physical visits or meetings have become unnecessary. Now interviews, meetings and training can be conducted virtually.
While these digital tools save time and money, important elements of personal interaction can be lost. As a solution, digital collaboration tools are in constant development. Thus, virtual meeting platforms are working daily to ensure that no aspects are lost and that these meetings become more and more like face-to-face meetings.
One of the lessons the pandemic has taught us is that meeting virtually helps to bridge physical distance, deepen connections between colleagues and even increase productivity. The ability to use video during the meeting is really important and results in more effective collaboration. Thanks to this, colleagues can socialize and contribute ideas without missing elements of body language, which can be very valuable (2).
What types of virtual meetings are there?
Virtual meetings are evolving all the time as new tools and audio equipment are developed. There are several types of virtual meetings, each one with its own unique characteristics and tools. Depending on the objective, and the resources available to the company, one or the other will be more effective.
Advantages and disadvantages of virtual meetings
As usual, every step forward brings a number of advantages and benefits in relation to the methods used previously. However, it also brings some disadvantages that we are trying to eliminate over time. The following are the most important ones (3):
- Facilitates collaboration between employees in any location
- Reduced costs
- Greater flexibility when organizing meetings
- Different tools, such as chat or screen sharing, make meetings more interactive
- The meeting can be recorded, so that every detail can be analyzed at a later date
- Companies will be able to attract a larger number of customers, as they do not need to be in the offices
- Virtual meetings allow continuous communication between employees, regardless of external circumstances, such as the pandemic
- It brings greater satisfaction to employees, as they are given the opportunity to work remotely
- Poor Internet connection, or poor audio or video quality, makes communication very difficult
- The setup complexity, which is generally very intuitive, might be more difficult for some people who are not familiar with the platform.
- Virtual meetings are less personal and can be less effective in fostering relationships
- There may be less participation due to physical distance
What are the best platforms for holding a virtual meeting?
There are many platforms where you can organise virtual meetings. Due to the rise of remote and hybrid working, there is an ever-increasing number of developments and a growing number of platforms to choose from. To make your job easier, here are the three best and free platforms for digital communication between employees.
Zoom has become the leading platform for online virtual meetings. Its intuitive operation and numerous tools make it one of the most popular platforms. For those who are just starting out, they have great technical support to clarify all kinds of doubts.
This platform stands out for the many functions it allows you to use. From creating roles and permissions during the meeting to recording and simultaneous translation. These meetings can have up to 1000 participants. It also stands out for its versatility, being able to organize meetings, webinars or seminars. It is very useful and used in the world of digital marketing and sales. Read more about Zoom
When we talk about Google, we can talk about guarantee and quality products. Its main videoconferencing platform is no exception. It is very easy to use, requiring only your Gmail account to log in.
Unlike Zoom, it is not possible to record the meeting on this platform. Its capacity of up to 250 participants makes it an ideal environment for company meetings. Among its outstanding features, we can find real-time subtitles and the possibility of sharing the screen with other participants.
It is a great option for those who already use Microsoft on their computer. It allows you to schedule calls easily, invitations can be shared by the same institution and it also allows external users to join the meeting without downloading the application.
It features a number of key functions to make virtual meetings more effective and communicative. This platform allows the user to record a meeting, screen sharing, live caption and chat. The participant limit is 300 people. Read more about Microsoft Teams
See other best Video Conferencing Software
Preparation for a virtual meeting
Before starting the virtual meeting, there are a number of points that you can take care of so that everything goes smoothly during the meeting. By taking these details into account, you will know how to prepare for a meeting and make it successful. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
- Platform: first of all, the right choice of communication platform. Find out how it is used and what functions you are interested in before choosing it.
- Organization: it is important to organize your ideas and find a logical order for what you want to communicate. Take all the time you need to outline it in your mind.
- Communication: give adequate advance notice to the members of the meeting, so that they can attend without it being a problem.
- Environment: you should look for a well-lit place where no outside noise can be heard, otherwise part of the message will be lost.
- Clothing: even if we are at home, we cannot just show up at the meeting dressed randomly. Make an effort to maintain a good, neat and formal appearance.
Tips for running a successful virtual meeting
To succeed in meetings, you should not only prepare well in advance, but also be aware of certain aspects that can help you. There are a number of tips to make the meeting go smoother for everyone. This makes participants feel more comfortable to collaborate and attend (4,5).
What NOT to do during a virtual meeting?
Having seen the tips, we must now polish our performance in a virtual meeting by learning the most common mistakes. Whether it is for a short time or seems unimportant to you, any of the following patterns will make you appear uninterested or uncooperative.
What functions do I need to conduct a virtual meeting?
Due to the competition between digital communication tools, each of them must constantly develop unique functions and features. That is why when choosing our trusted platform, we must determine our needs for a smooth meeting and whether the chosen platform can fulfil them. Among the most prominent functions we can find:
- HD audio and video: it is important that they are of high quality, so that participants do not lose details of the meeting.
- Screen sharing: this is one of the keys to effective remote collaboration. In addition, the possibility of editing means greater fluency.
- Chat: the existence of group chat, as well as individual chat, allows for greater communication and avoids interruptions during the meeting.
- Administrator control functions: there should be a wide range of functions so that the administrator can moderate the meeting and achieve the proposed objectives.
- Recordings and transcripts: maximize the productivity of meetings, so that they can be reviewed at any time.
- Real-time translation: a key function for easy communication between people who do not speak the same language.
- Background generator: allows you to change the actual background of each person, avoiding the appearance of a cluttered or dark room, for more pleasant scenarios.
- Background noise elimination: this feature eliminates annoying sounds and enhances speech for clearer audio.
Virtual meetings are the most widely used tools in the business world for staff communication. They are now becoming more common than face-to-face meetings, and the various functions of the platforms have made it unnecessary to meet in the same location.
Cost and time savings of virtual meetings, as well as their development, have allowed them to become increasingly popular. Virtual meetings evolve along with remote or hybrid work, facilitating communication between those who are not in the same country and do not even speak the same language. In addition, there are still many developments to come that will make meetings look different from the way they are today (6).
1. Webex. Virtual Meetings in 2022: Everything you need to know [Internet]. Webex. Cisco; 2022 [cited 2022].
2. Introduction to virtual meetings: what you need to know [Internet]. EPOS Website. [cited 2022].
3. Rubinger L, Gazendam A, Ekhtiari S, Nucci N, Payne A, Johal H, et al. Maximizing virtual meetings and conferences: a review of best practices. Int Orthop [Internet]. 2020;44(8):1461-6. [cited 2022].
4. Jaffe R. Five behavioural science lessons for virtual team meetings. [Internet]. LSE Business Review. [cited 2022].
5. Lindeblad PA, Voytenko Y, Mont O, Arnfalk P. Organisational effects of virtual meetings. J Clean Prod [Internet]. 2016;123:113-23. [cited 2022]
6. Fernandez S, Montagud M, Cernigliaro G, Martos M, Rincon D. Multi-user 3D holo-conferencing: towards a new generation of virtual meetings. [Internet]. Upc.edu. [cited 2022].