Remote work is an increasingly important part of business these days, and technology has made it easier than ever for teams to communicate effectively without having to be in the same location. To make sure your remote meetings are as productive and effective as possible, consider these seven tips.

1. Invite the Right Participants

A meeting is only as good as the staff involved and what they can contribute. As you organize a meeting for a particular project or problem, consider the points of discussion and who within your company will have the most insight. Make sure you know who performs which tasks before you send the invitations. You want the most relevant team members to keep things focused and avoid wasting time.

2. Assign Predetermined Roles

Depending on the size of the meeting, not everyone will need to vocally participate, but there may be certain roles that need to be determined before a meeting so things run smoothly. Bplans suggests assigning a leader to keep the meeting functioning and make sure everyone who needs to participate does so, a collator to organize resources that come up during the meeting to work with later, and a timekeeper to keep things on track.1 You may come up with additional roles to meet your company's needs or the needs of the specific meeting. Whatever they may be, everyone should know their role ahead of time.

3. Be Prepared on the Tech Side

Make sure you're familiar with the tools you are using for the meeting. Nothing can waste time faster in a remote meeting than not knowing how to use the meeting program itself. If you will need to share your screen, for example, make sure you know how to do that before the meeting. Have reference materials ready to go and make sure you're in a place with a strong WiFi connection. Otherwise, you might be shut out of the meeting, making everyone wait for you to return.

4. Have Participants Plan Specifics for Discussion

When you send out the meeting invitations, be clear about what you expect participants to talk about when the time comes. The more notice you can give about these expectations, the better they will be able to prepare. They should have a clear understanding of the information they are expected to provide as well as what you will be discussing yourself, so they can prepare questions and relevant comments. They will then have time to think about it rather than being forced to come up with something on the spot

5. Stick to a Timetable

The best meetings are those that stay on track. If you're not careful, conversations can wander and the meeting can end up taking twice as long as planned. Mention the length of the meeting and then stick to a set amount of time. Try to let everyone who needs to talk do so and ensure that all important information is given/received. Remember that a meeting that runs long is taking time away from other tasks.

6. Create Clear After-Meeting Assignments

Participants should have clear takeaways from the meeting. If there is something they need to work on, they should know exactly what it is and when it needs to happen.

"Many meetings end with vague promises and assurances from the participants," notes Max Freedman at "It is the responsibility of the moderator to extract action items for the agenda points and get acknowledgement from all the participants. The key is to create an action item, assign it to an individual or group, and agree on a deadline. Without these three things, no action item can be tracked effectively."  Send participants action items from the meeting.

7. Have Meetings Regularly

Try to have meetings on a regular basis. This will allow conversations to continue and items to be followed up on. It will also enable participants to be better prepared because they'll know that they are expected to discuss key items and provide updates at a certain time. Meetings can be moved if they conflict with other important events, but try to stick to a certain day of the week or month to keep everyone on the same page.

The main things to remember for productive meetings are to be prepared, remain focused, make sure the right people are involved and know exactly what is expected of them. This can be just as easy to accomplish in a remote setting as it is in a physical office.




The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC