McKenna Sweazey is author of How to Win Friends and Manage Remotely. As an accomplished global executive, she’s had to hone her interpersonal relationship skills over Skype, Google Hangouts, Slack, good old-fashioned phone lines, and now Zoom. Currently she is the VP of marketing at an early-stage start-up.
Preparing for great virtual meetings takes a lot of work, ensuring you have an effective agenda, the right attendees, tools, and roles. But that’s just the start. Effective organizations also prioritize what happens after the meetings to ensure time spent together is productive and will lead to better outcomes. Here are four actions you can take after your meeting to improve hybrid work.
Take better notes
There are four benefits for meeting notes:
- Update people who weren’t able to attend
- To reference responsibilities, achievements, and comments.
- Store the action items.
- To track attendance. This public record of attendance can identify trends in participation and encourage accountability.
Create a rhythm for distributing notes and action items
Not everyone can attend every meeting, particularly in asynchronous or hybrid work, so it’s helpful to have a rhythm for distributing the notes and asking receivers to review and respond.
Be thoughtful about where you store these notes. Is it clear who wrote them and who has access? Do they clearly spell out what needs to happen next and by whom?
To increase engagement, consider the audience, the channel, and the action items and optimize your notes formatting accordingly. A shared notes document might be a better place for more detailed notes, while the “Description” section of a repeating meeting might be a better place for brevity.
Decide what needs to change
Did the attendees make you think differently about who should be invited or left off?
Was there someone important missing? How can you ensure they attend? Should they designate another team member to attend?
Was the group inclined to veer off track? You may need a different meeting lead to keep things moving forward.
Did you have the tools to brainstorm or collect information effectively? What else is needed?
Did your hybrid/virtual/in-person situation work well? Hybrid work provides the opportunity to strategically select which meetings work best virtually and which need to be in person.
Did you need really need video? Sometimes calls work better voice-only and sometimes you need to see people’s faces, but teams shouldn’t default to video just because it seems more intimate.
Help others own the meeting
Soliciting feedback and being transparent about your goals is another way to build a great meeting culture. Asking how to improve each meeting can leave team members feeling more inspired, energized, effective, and connected. I recommend this review happens quarterly.
You can adjust the frequency, duration, and timing based on their feedback. Be transparent about the approach you took to make the decision and the benefits of the adjustment. You can demonstrate empathy by providing a sense of ownership over a process that will directly impact them.
While the technology for remote and hybrid work may evolve, the tenets for effective meetings don’t change. Meetings allow us to hear our colleagues’ thoughts and opinions in real time, an essential aspect of a business’s collaborative decision-making. We may have to be more systemic in our processes when meeting virtually, but the output should be the same. Frameworks for asynchronous group communication can help us disseminate information and make decisions faster, more equitably, and ideally, with better results, no matter our location.