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Preparing for the Kick-Off Meeting

Page history last edited by James Weaver 7 years, 5 months ago

Author: Anna Lergard

Date Created: 02/10/2013

 

 

Virtual meetings differ in many ways from traditional face-to-face meetings i.a. in the  preparation for the first virtual meeting with a team; there are a couple of things one has to take into consideration to make it successful and efficient.

Young (2009) argues that the success factors for virtual meetings i.a. are:

  • Planning a viable agenda or series of agendas
  • Effective use of technology
  • Preparing participants and pre-work” (p.1)


It is easy to lose focus in a virtual meeting, which is why they should be short, efficient and productive. Success.com (2013) even suggests that virtual meetings should not be longer than 10 minutes, since that is the maximum amount of time we can stay focused in a virtual meeting. In order to keep the meeting short and efficient, pre-work needs to be done before the meeting and an agenda needs to be sent out well ahead of time. How early the agenda is send out depends on how much feedback is needed. The agenda also helps if the participants momentarily lose focus during the meeting; they can then simply have a look at the agenda to see what is being discussed (Schindler 2008). Young (2009) Documents should also be sent out well in advance. How early depends on the amount of pre-work and input needed before the meeting.

When is comes to using the technology effectively, it is firstly important to have a tool that allows the group members to perform the collaboration activities needed to achieve results. There are many alternatives out there, so clear objectives about what is needed and required from the software is needed. Secondly, it is important that all participants are familiar with the technology they are using. Test runs and asynchronous pre-work before the real meeting is an efficient way of getting familiar with new software. Furthermore, there are softwares where the meeting leader manages the other participants’ software, which allows the participants to focus on the content instead of the technology. It might even be a good idea to have someone who is not part of the group to manage the technology, at least in the initial phase. It is also a good idea to have a backup plan in case the technology fails.(Young 2009)

Young (2009) also points out the importance of preparing the participants so that the valuable time spent in meetings can be efficiently used. A couple of challenges for the meeting leader is to get the participants to be fully prepared ahead of time and, showing up on time and keeping them focused during the meeting. However, this might mean that new patterns of behavior must be created in the team. Information and documents must be sent out earlier that traditional meetings, the team members need to comment and do pre-work ahead of the meeting and the meeting leader constantly needs to ensure that everyone is prepared and follows the meeting. The meeting should therefore be short and only the people involved in a task should be involved in that particular meeting, since it is so easy to lose participants’ focus if the information is not important to them. It is also the meeting leader’s responsibility to check that the participants meets the expectations that is agreed on before the project starts. (Young,2009)

 

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