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In this guide

Tips, Ideas & Tools to host great virtual meetings
Quiz Guide

The Secrets to Great Virtual Meetings: Tips, Ideas & Tools

A complete guide to help managers choose the best virtual meeting platform, organize engaging meetings and drive results.

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  • Technology makes it possible for you and your team to work collaboratively from anywhere with an internet connection. But are your virtual meetings as productive as they could be?

    In a survey led by Livestorm in 2021, 39.6% of respondents reported experiencing attention and concentration difficulties when using video communication tools. However, remote working culture is on the rise. According to GetApp, the amount of people working from home at least one day per week has grown by 400% since 2010.

    Since virtual meetings are here to stay, we’ve come up with the best meeting strategies to engage and connect with your team online. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to host interactive virtual meetings.

    What are virtual meetings?

    Virtual Meeting Definition

    A virtual meeting is when a group of people connect simultaneously online to work together regardless of their physical location. As more businesses take up remote working, virtual meetings have become a vital way for team members to communicate, share knowledge, and strategize.

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    Create engaging meetings

    Get started with Livestorm's video engagement platform now.

    What are the different types of virtual meetings?

    Like face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings can range from spontaneous or informal catch-ups to structured events with official agendas. The type of meetings you wish to hold will have an impact on which virtual meeting platform you decide to use. Here are the three main ways to meet online:

    • Teleconferencing refers to the use of a telecommunications channel, such as the internet or a telephone network, to connect people in real-time, regardless of location. It's used in the telehealth industry for instance.
    • Video conferencing is when two or more people use virtual meeting software with video capabilities to meet online. Video conferencing is ideal for one-to-one communication, discussions, or collaborative working with smaller groups.
    • Web conferencing refers to larger meetings, conferences, or webinars held using an internet connection. Typically, web conferencing is group-focused, which makes it ideal for presentations, onboarding, or training.

    Common challenges of virtual meetings

    Virtual meetings can have their challenges, but if you’re prepared, you’ll find they’re a simple, time-effective way to communicate with important stakeholders. With the right understanding of your virtual meeting tools, being a meeting facilitator will be stress-free every time.

    Common challenges of virtual meetings

    Here are some common challenges to look out for when hosting virtual meetings:

    • Setup. It’s important to try out your virtual meeting software and make sure you understand how to set up the type of meeting you want to host. Is your virtual meeting software reliable and easy to use? Test everything ahead of time to avoid disasters on the day.
    • Multiple tools. You might have a foolproof plan for amazing virtual meetings, but can your software pull it off? If you need multiple tools to create the meetings you want, you’re going to waste time and face annoying technical issues. Look out for the virtual meeting software that covers everything, from recurring meetings and calendar integration to screen sharing and participant engagement.
    • Invitation management. Manually inviting participants to a meeting via email can be time-consuming and lead to mistakes. Make sure you're using virtual meeting software with built-in invitation tools to help you invite contacts and manage your guest list in just a few clicks.
    • Attendee access. There are a few major competitors in the virtual meeting industry, meaning that meeting attendees often have to download and create accounts for several different platforms. Choose a download-free platform that works in your browser, so that you and your attendees will have no difficulty accessing the meeting.
    • Engagement. It’s one thing to set up and deliver your meeting online, but another to make sure all the attendees are switched on and participating. Look out for a platform that includes engagement features like media sharing, chat boxes, polling, and emoji reactions to keep things interesting and get the most out of your attendees.

    What are the benefits of virtual meetings ?

    We’ve done our research when it comes to virtual communication and we believe that, with the right tools, virtual meetings can be even more effective than meeting in person.

    Virtual meeting technology has improved significantly lately, becoming more useful than ever. If you were an early adopter of platforms such as Skype, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the benefits of the latest platforms on the market.

    • Connect instantly with your colleagues and onboard clients from all over the world, regardless of time zone. Virtual sales meetings are a dynamic way to engage potential customers and increase sales.
    • Join meetings on the go from mobile devices and integrate your calendar for quick, one-click access. The best virtual meeting technology integrates with a range of collaboration tools like Slack to help you keep track of meetings and communicate with attendees.
    • Use space efficiently and reduce office costs. Small businesses can be more cost-effective and grow more quickly when remote working. You won’t sacrifice collaboration opportunities either - just set up a virtual huddle room and start sharing ideas!
    • Engage your team with visual elements such as graphics, gifs, and video clips. Using interactive tools like polls, chat tabs, and Q&A will keep your team alert.
    • Reduce accessibility barriers for attendees with additional support requirements. Virtual meetings require minimal mobility to attend, and individuals with communication challenges can contribute more easily by using the chat function to submit their questions.
    • Facilitate training and resolve issues quickly with screen sharing. When delivering training or onboarding sessions, set the meeting to automatically record and add the recordings to training manuals for new employees.
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    What are the best platforms for running virtual meetings?

    If you’re a meeting facilitator, you’ll need to make sure you choose the right virtual meeting software to achieve optimal results for your business. Before you reach straight for Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, make sure you’ve explored some of the other great options out there - which might be even more suited to your needs.

    The best virtual meeting platforms come with a range of features to make your meetings run smoothly. When you choose the best platform for your business, you’ll need to consider things like price, functionality, and integration with your other communication and organizational tools.

    Livestorm is completely free (no credit card required) and requires no software installation, so your meetings will be up and running in no time. We’re also hot on video engagement, so you’ll be sure to find useful tools like the chat tab, Q&A tab, and emoji reactions on our platform.

    Pattern Pattern

    Create engaging meetings

    Get started with Livestorm's video engagement platform now.

    How to run successful virtual meetings

    You’ve transitioned to remote working and you’ve chosen your virtual meeting software. Now, how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of your team in a virtual environment?

    There are many schools of thought on virtual meeting best practices. Here’s what we suggest when it comes to running successful virtual meetings:

    • Choose your format. Remember the different types of virtual meetings? Choose whether to set up a teleconference or video meeting depending on the aims of the session and the number of participants.
    • Plan your resources. Whether you’re planning to share your screen, deliver a presentation or play a video clip, make sure your resources are well planned and easy to access to avoid complications on the day of the meeting.
    • Share a meeting agenda. Give your meeting a structure by sharing an agenda in advance. This will help your colleagues prepare, follow up on previous actions, and make the session more efficient.
    • Establish meeting etiquette. When you're not in a physical meeting room it can be harder to read each other's body language, which can lead to misunderstandings and interruptions. Agree on some simple rules of virtual meeting etiquette, e.g. use the mute button when you're not talking, to help things run smoothly.
    • Do a test run. If you’re using a platform you’re not familiar with, or have lots of media or collaboration planned, it’s always a good idea to practice ahead of time.
    • Encourage participation. The best meetings aren’t just one long monolog. Make sure everyone is paying attention by encouraging interaction with emojis, polls, and a Q&A.
    • Record the session and share it with attendees after the event. Livestorm supports all of the workflows around virtual meetings, including invitations and follow-up emails.
    • Collect feedback. No matter what kind of virtual event you host, getting feedback is a must. Use the data you collect to keep improving every time you host.
    • Analyze everything. An analytics dashboard will help you analyze participation rates, attendance time, participant behavior across meetings, giving you the data you need to deliver more successful meetings.

    Ready to become a better meeting facilitator? Read our complete guide to online meetings.

    How to make virtual meetings fun

    At Livestorm, we believe in the power of video engagement. You don’t just want attendees to turn up to your meeting as passive audience members. Effective virtual meetings drive engagement, get things done, and affect change.

    Fun virtual meeting

    While a simple conference call has its place, hosting super interactive virtual meetings is a sure way to get the best out of your team.

    Follow these steps to make your virtual meetings fun:

    • Turn on your webcam. There are times we'd all prefer to keep the camera off, but when working with a remote team or connecting with new customers, speaking face-to-face helps to create that real human connection. Turning your camera on will help you read each other's body language and communicate more effectively. Here are a few tips to look good on your next video call.
    • Use icebreakers. It’s commonly felt that speaking in the first few minutes of a meeting will make attendees feel more confident contributing throughout. Give your team a chance to warm up to the virtual meeting environment by including a quick icebreaker before getting down to business.
    • Get things flowing in the chat tab. Some managers mistakenly believe that messaging during a meeting stops their team from paying attention to the business at hand. However, the chat tab is a great way to share additional resources and allow attendees to ask questions or make comments without interrupting whoever is speaking.
    • Share media. Keep things interesting with video clips, presentations, and screen shares.
    • Use engagement tools. Features like polls and emoji reactions will help your team feel more connected while you get to gauge the mood in the room.
    • Use collaboration tools. Does your video conferencing software come complete with useful integrations? For example, tools like Miro whiteboards are great for getting attendees to share ideas and carry out fun tasks during the meeting.
    • Keep to time. Nothing will cause your attendees to switch off more quickly than allowing a certain agenda point to run on and on, or eating up valuable time they could spend on other tasks. If you can, keep your meeting short and sweet. Otherwise, make sure to block enough time out in your attendees' calendars and schedule comfort breaks.
    • Limit the mute function. The mute button is a handy tool to minimize distracting background noise - especially while team members are working from home surrounded by barking dogs or demanding children. However, if you have one team member who never unmutes, you may wish to call upon them directly to answer questions and get involved.

    Remember, your team meetings will also be more interactive if your team members get on well! Keep things fun at work with these 30 fun virtual team-building activities.

    The verdict on hosting virtual meetings

    Hosting virtual meetings comes with a load of benefits to you and your business. Maybe you’re just looking for a way to work with your team remotely, or maybe you need to connect with clients and communicate your brand. Whatever your reason for choosing virtual meetings, there’s only one thing you really need to know.

    To get the most out of meeting online, you need reliable virtual meeting software that’s easy to use and checks all the boxes for what you want to achieve. Understanding your meeting goals and taking the time to test out your software will help you make the right choice when it comes to picking a virtual meeting platform for your business.

    If you want to host interesting, productive meetings, you need video engagement software that can automate your workflows and truly capture the attention of your attendees. With the right platform, you’ll host exceptional meetings every time.

    Frequently asked questions about virtual meetings

    How do I attend a virtual meeting?

    The meeting organizer will send you joining instructions in advance. Usually, the meeting invitation will include a web link to the chosen meeting platform (e.g. Livestorm, Zoom, or Google Meet). It’s a good idea to test the meeting platform ahead of time to understand the specific platform controls. Have you found the mute button? Do you know how to use the chat feature?

    Make sure your internet connection is stable, and that your microphone and video camera are set up properly. It’s also a good idea to close any other tabs or apps open on your device to avoid accidentally missing parts of the meeting or losing sight of useful control buttons. Once you’re all set up, follow the meeting link in your invitation - and get ready to participate.

    What is the best way to have a virtual meeting?

    Before setting up your virtual meeting, make sure you have the right software to support your needs. If you’re running a training session, you’ll probably need options to screen share and share a slide deck. It’s always a good idea to use video to establish a strong face-to-face connection with attendees.

    Make sure you have a structure in mind or, better yet, share an agenda with attendees. You’ll feel more comfortable if you have your resources prepared ahead of time – and you can guarantee someone will ask you to share your slides after the event!

    Before you begin, make sure your attendees have received a meeting invitation. A good virtual meeting platform like Livestorm will support all your meeting workflows, such as sending automatic invites and reminders to chosen contacts so you don’t have to waste time doing it manually.

    What is a great Zoom alternative?

    There are many great video conferencing alternatives to Zoom. Livestorm is a powerful platform for you to create interactive meetings and connect effectively with clients and colleagues. Use Livestorm to integrate with your calendar and access meetings from any device with one click. You’ll see increased meeting attendance and engagement, and be able to access detailed analytics from your Livestorm dashboard.

    What are the do's and don’ts of virtual meetings?

    Make sure you’re ticking all the boxes when hosting virtual meetings. Follow these dos and don’ts and you won’t go wrong.

    Do's

    • Choose meeting software with useful features and integrations
    • Test your software ahead of time, especially if you’re planning to share media like video clips and slide decks
    • Set a meeting agenda
    • Turn your video on to really connect with other participants
    • Use engagement tools like polls and Q&As to encourage participation
    • Record the session or take minutes to share with absentees

    Don’ts

    • Invite attendees who aren’t directly relevant to the subject of discussion
    • Assume your attendees will know how to use the virtual meeting platform
    • Ignore the importance of feedback
    • Leave yourself on mute for the entire meeting
    • Finish the meeting without confirming that attendees understand the outcome or next steps
    • Allow the meeting to run over
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    Get started with Livestorm for free

    Get started with Livestorm's video engagement platform. You’re just minutes away from selling virtually.

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  • No credit card required
  • No software to install