A virtual meeting is a business meeting held in a virtual space. Meeting participants are not in the same physical space but connected through the use of technology.
With the rise of remote work and dispersion of the workplace, virtual meetings allow employees and management to connect productively. Virtual meetings can include audio only or audio and video features for more interactive experiences.
What is a virtual meeting?
Using video conferencing tool features, virtual meetings occur in real-time and allow team members to meet face-to-face despite being in different locations and time zones. These online meetings require a reliable internet connection to be successful.
The pandemic escalated the popularity of online meetings as the virtual environment removed the need for face-to-face meetings. Popular associated terms include:
- Web conference - online meetings with more advanced functionality for collaboration
- Webinar - similar to web conferencing with one-way communication from the presenter
- Teleconference - virtual meetings with audio, but no video, are more accessible as there’s no need for a webcam
- Video conference - online meetings that use video
Remote team members use different types of virtual meetings to have discussions, brainstorm sessions, share regular updates, conduct performance reviews, and more.
Popular virtual meeting platform options include Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Zoom. Most of these have mobile device compatibility for added convenience.
Benefits of a virtual meeting
Online team meetings are becoming increasingly popular as the world of work continues evolving.
Virtual meetings offer the following benefits;
- Interview and hire a remote team around the world
- Save time and money by reducing travel costs and commute time
- Easy accessibility regardless of location or time zone
- An efficient method of sharing information
- Increased attendance
- Easy for team members to leave during non-relevant discussions
- Streamline communication with a remote or virtual team
- Recording ability for reference and sharing
- Tighter agenda
- Connect with team members in the remote workplace
- Enhanced collaboration
Useful virtual meeting software features
A successful virtual meeting takes advantage of various conferencing software tools. Depending on the purpose of the meeting, various features are worth considering, such as the following.
A participant’s screen is shared with other team members on the call, helping to communicate data, showcase a scenario and improve collaboration. By streamlining communication, screen sharing boosts communication and improves efficiency too.
Security controls help to secure virtual meeting rooms and prevent unwanted participants from joining the meeting. For example, hosts can lock the meeting room, enable a meeting room, and use unique meeting IDs and passwords.
Calendar integrations reduce the risk of time zone issues and scheduling mishaps. Video conferencing tools that integrate with popular meeting calendars help schedule meetings in advance and access the invite link easily.
Chat tools offer an additional method of communication. Messaging tools help when the internet connection is unstable, when participants are shy to speak up, and to capture the main takeaways from a session.
Multi-display viewing windows
Multi-display viewing windows allow hosts to choose the display. For example, all participants can have a visible window, or only the main speaker is in view. Another control feature includes participant controls that mutes participants or removes their display window.
Although virtual meetings help boost attendance, some participants may miss an important update. Recording the video and distributing the file with team members keeps everyone updated and ensures accountability.
How to prepare for a virtual meeting
An effective virtual meeting is one of the best ways to manage remote employees and ensure productivity.
Here are a few tips to prepare for an effective virtual meeting:
- Draft and share a meeting agenda beforehand
- Select a moderator to host the meeting
- Use a cross-timezone scheduling system
- Encourage attendee participation by making meetings more engaging and including virtual ice breakers
- Mirror the structure and agenda of in-person meetings
- Use collaboration tools
- Ensure all meeting attendees have a reliable internet connection
- Establish meeting etiquette such as muting the mic when not talking, reducing background noise, and minding body language
- Keep minutes and share key takeaways and follow-up tasks
At Deel, we offer a robust and comprehensive platform for remote businesses to hire and manage remote workers with ease. From recruiting and compliance to onboarding and payroll — we offer it all.