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9 Tips for Running Meetings with Remote Workers


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Some things never change, like the fact that as long as there are companies there will always be meetings. And yet, some things do change, like the way we meet. As the workplace continues to become more global and mobile, meetings have evolved from face-face discourse in a central location, to conference calls that use the latest technology to include remote attendees. So how do you successfully host a remote meeting?

Download the entire eBook with all nine steps here:

Learn how to:

Get the right people on the call
Create the ideal agenda
Engage attendees and secure their participation
Set and communicate meeting goals
Effectively use PowerPoint
Ask the right questions
Successfully moderate remote meetings
Schedule remote meetings at the right time
Solicit helpful feedback from attendees

Make meetings magic by following our easy 9-step guide:

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9 Tips for Running Meetings with Remote Workers

  1. 1. 9 Tips for Running a Successful Meeting with Remote Workers
  2. 2. Share this: Making Meeting Magic 9 Ways to Rock the Remote Meeting “Almost every time there is a genuinely important decision to be made in an organization, a group is assigned to make it – or at least to counsel and advise the individual who must make it.” –J.R. Hackman, Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology, Harvard University
  3. 3. Share this: American business people hold approximately 11 million meetings a day. (Source: (Source: Employees who work remotely from home have 25% less stress, and are up to 20% more productive. 11MILLION 25%STRESS 20%PRODUCTIVITY
  4. 4. Share this: Meeting Out of the Box Going Global = More Remote Meetings The global workplace has brought us more opportunities to work out of the box, fostering innovation and enabling us to do what we do best, wherever we happen to be. Nowadays, it’s quite common for people across a range of time zones to regularly participate in remote meetings with both clients and co-workers. Some have even met remotely for years without ever meeting in person. Of course, while technology has brought us many wonderful and convenient ways to connect with the people we work with, the onus still lies on humans to make remote meetings engaging and productive. So how do you make sure your meetings with remote clients and employees are a success? Simply follow our nine Tips and you’ll find yourself a master of the remote…meeting, that is. According to a University of Arizona teamwork study, managers spend about 20% of their time in meetings of 5 people or more. A meeting between several managers or executives may cost upwards of $1000 per hour in salary costs alone. A Fortune 50 company estimates losses in excess of $75 million per year due to poor meetings. 20%MEETING TIME (5+ PEOPLE) $1K/HRSALARY COSTS $75MEST. LOSSES (Source:
  5. 5. Share this: 1. Get It Right Getting the Right People on the Call A good remote meeting is one that is targeted, and by targeted we mean your meeting is focused on engaging your target – the people you invited to your meeting. We’ve all been invited to a meeting where we wondered how we might be able to politely excuse ourselves because the meeting topics are irrelevant to our role on a project. So how do you avoid this rookie mistake? Be selective. If you’re not sure whether or not someone needs to come to your meeting, call and ask ahead of time. Give him/her a heads up on the agenda and briefly describe what your goals for the meeting are. This quick and easy poll accomplishes several things. First, it respects people’s time and allows them to self- select whether or not they need to be included. Secondly, it ensures you never get a reputation as that co-worker who wastes people’s time with pointless meetings. 63% OF MEETINGS IN AMERICA DO NOT HAVE PREPARED AGENDAS. (Source:
  7. 7. Share this: 2. Keep It Short Keeping Agendas Short, Simple and Focused Now that you’ve assembled the perfect people for your meeting, give them the gift of a focused and clear agenda. Brevity is essential to a good agenda. Try to accomplish too much at once and you’ll lose your audience to whatever distractions they have on hand, which is almost always a surreptitiously silenced smart-phone. 60%OFMEETINGATTENDEESTAKE NOTES TO APPEAR AS IF THEY ARE LISTENING. 9OUTOF10PEOPLE DAYDREAM IN MEETINGS. (Source: (Source:
  8. 8. Share this: Speaking of smart, today’s savvy meeting organizers are prepared to combat waning attention spans, multi-tasking temptations and other distractions by making certain that all of the agenda topics are of interest to each participant. Sound impossible? The secret is to have shorter meetings focused on a few select topics, rather than longer meetings where participants might be interested in only one or two agenda items. Most professionals who meet on a regular basis admit that they do the following: DAYDREAM 91% MISS MEETINGS 96% MISS PARTS OF MEETINGS 95% BRING OTHER WORK TO MEETINGS 73% (Source:
  9. 9. Share this: 3. He Said/She Said Engage Attendees with Topics That Require Active Discussion Want to know what the most boring word in the world is? Lecture. Conduct one, and you could lose your audience faster than a reality show after sweeps week. Meetings are ideally suited to serve three workplace functions, which are: addressing topics that require discussion; exploring options in order to make sound decisions; and eliminating confusion on a subject. To engage your audience, ask questions and require participation. Solicit opinions, play devil’s advocate, but by all means, get everyone on the call talking, discussing and sharing. If you do, you’ll find people will be talking about how great your meeting was long after the call is over. People who write down their goals have over an 80% higher success rate of achieving them. “Approximately 80 percent of people never set goals although most believe that goal setting is important to attaining a better life.” (Source: (Source:
  10. 10. Share this: 4. Raise Expectations Communicate Meeting Goals Beforehand In the movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Steve Martin explodes in frustration at John Candy’s aimless rambling and delivers the classic comedic line, “Here’s a good idea: have a point! It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!” People should never disconnect from your remote meeting wondering what the point was, or what their next steps are. Make sure you have a specific goal set for each meeting and that you state it aloud at the beginning of the meeting so that people will know how they are expected to help achieve meeting goals. If you are not sure how to set a goal for your meeting, use the SMART method. Make sure that every goal you write down and share at your meeting is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented and Time-Limited. OVER 90% OF INFORMATION TRANSMITTED TO THE BRAIN IS VISUAL. VISUALS ARE PROCESSED 60,000 TIMES FASTER BY THE BRAIN THAN WORDS. (Source:
  11. 11. Share this: 5. Picture It Keeping the 1st Commandment of PPT: More Images. Fewer Words. When used correctly, PowerPoint (PPT) is a wonderful tool that supports your message and enables members of the group to quickly process and retain information. Images are especially useful to a discussion when they convey information that isn’t otherwise easily understood. A good rule of thumb is to show viewers what you are trying to say, rather than tell them. To do this, avoid using slides that only contain text. Instead, use visuals, like graphs, diagrams, photos and media clips to engage your audience. Slides that simply recap, or worse, quote verbatim, what is being said are boring and encourage participants to check e-mail or do other work while they are being displayed. (Source: “We run this company on questions, not answers.” –Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google
  12. 12. Share this: 6. Just Ask Open-Ended Questions = Audience Participation The moderator (or meeting host) plays an important role in ensuring everyone on the call is participating. If you are the moderator, the best way to foster participation is to frequently ask open-ended questions and request input from specific meeting attendees. Make sure you pause the discussion periodically to give everyone a chance to speak up. And don’t be afraid of silence on a call. In fact, it’s good to ask everyone to take a moment to stop and consider a topic, gathering their thoughts so that they may share them with the group. “BEING A MODERATOR IS NOWHERE NEAR AS EASY AS PEOPLE SEEMINGLY THINK, AND MOST PEOPLE ARE CRUMMY AT IT.” –Dr. Paul Kedrosky, Executive Director of the William J. von Liebig Center (Source: 551/10-Rules-for-Being-a-Great-Panel-Moderator.html)
  13. 13. Share this: 7. Exercise Control Using Call Technology That Empowers Moderators Today’s meeting moderators are fortunate in that they have a suite of tools at their disposal to help them foster participation and guide discussions toward meeting goals. A few of the most popular VoIP conferencing tools are: • Desktop Sharing — enables presenters to share documents, PPTs and software demos • Web Co-Browsing — allows presenter’s browser to be mirrored in participant’s browsers • Text Chat — lets participants and presenters text (privately or publicly) during presentations • Shift Control — enables control to be temporarily shifted to a participant (or secondary presenter) so he/she can share documents, advance slides, etc. • Emoticons — allows participants to display emoticons for ‘slow down,’ ‘speak louder,’ etc. • Polls — provides instantaneous participant feedback which helps keep audiences engaged
  15. 15. Share this: 8. Schedule Smarter Choosing the Right Time & Place There is a time and a place for everything, and the best times to hold remote meetings are sometime mid- week. Try to avoid Monday morning and Friday afternoon meetings because people are more likely to be distracted by either their plans for the work-week or their plans for the weekend. If your offices are scattered across the country or world, be mindful of time-zones and check in with participants beforehand to determine ideal times for them to get together. Be sure to use remote calendars and scheduling tools to avoid stacking meetings, since people will be more likely to multi-task if they are just coming off another call or have a pressing deadline. (Source: "IF YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE, YOU ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS GOT. TO CHANGE OUR OUTPUT, WE MUST CHANGE OUR INPUT.” –Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, Productivity Institute Time Management Expert
  16. 16. Share this: 9. Get Feedback Solicit Opinions from Meeting Attendees If you notice that certain attendees don’t seem to be actively participating, follow up with them after the meeting to understand why. Perhaps they didn’t belong in the meeting at all, or maybe they are disengaged for another reason, but whatever it is, you need to understand. Soliciting feedback, not only helps you decide how to address a particular person or meeting, it will also help you uncover ways to make your meetings more effective in general.
  17. 17. Share this: Call an Expert ShoreTel Can Help We hope our “Nine Tips” will soon help you make meeting magic. We enjoy helping people transform remote meetings into engaging and productive, discussion powerhouses. To learn more about ShoreTel Sky and download other related e-books, white papers, and view product demos please visit