Virtual Meetings

Over the past two years, the idea and practice of virtual meetings have become the new normal. In the workplace, they are expected, and in social situations, they’re a given.

Although most people understand the concept of a virtual meeting, we’re still learning how to best conduct them. They are more similar to in-person meetings in terms of how to prepare and what’s needed to pull off a great virtual meeting.

The virtual meeting boom advanced by years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We were already heading in that direction, but the pandemic sped things up dramatically. Now we’re all playing catch-up and refining how we prepare for and thrive in a virtual meeting world.

The advantages of a virtual meeting are impossible to ignore. You and your team can meet from wherever you are without needing to travel. You have real-time collaboration tools so you can create and be productive during the meeting rather than just talk about what you need to do later. There are tools that help you brainstorm, record, edit, and turn the meeting into a living record and learning tool.

In this guide, we’ll uncover the secrets of setting up and running a successful virtual meeting. We’ll look at must-dos and traps to avoid. You’ll get a rundown of all the virtual meeting platforms and virtual meeting tools you can use to make your video conferencing hyper-productive and engaging for your participants and much more.

Why Do Virtual Meetings?

virtual meetings

There are plenty of reasons to do virtual meetings outside of them being the new standard for business meetings. The more you understand the benefits of virtual meetings the more you can use them to your team’s advantage.

Get More Done with Virtual Meetings

The virtual meeting platform is designed for efficiency. When you design a well-run virtual meeting, your meeting agenda will have been circulated ahead of time to remote team members allowing attendees to come in prepared for the next virtual meeting. Establishing virtual meeting ‘rules’ like staying on mute when not talking, asking questions using the chat function, or using the raised hand icon when you want to speak makes for a more organized meeting that finishes on time. You can even appoint an assistant whose role is to keep the meeting on track and follow the rules so the leader just leads and stays in favor with the attendees.

Tame the Dialogue Dominators

Virtual meetings have a tendency to allow more democracy when it comes to speaking. In-person meetings and even phone meetings can get derailed by individuals who want to dominate a meeting with their insights. Speaking loudly for minutes on end and interrupting people can be easily dealt with in a virtual meeting. The host always has the power to mute somebody, and rules that are set in a virtual room tend to get more respect than rules set in an in-person meeting.

Ditch the Power Suit

The days of waking up early and pressing your jacket and pants before the board meeting are slowly coming to an end thanks to virtual meetings. Although you should still look your best and wear appropriate attire, virtual meetings tend to have a bit more casualness to them than in-person meetings. And if you must dress to impress—you only need to do it from the waist up.

Ideas and Insights Rule

In the past, some individuals could hold a room with their physical size and presence. The power posers, aggressive hand shakers, and close talkers can’t use their tactics online. The virtual meeting is the most democratic of meetings where the best ideas get heard in most cases. This means added value to the company and deserving employees get recognized for their contributions, even when they don’t have a physically dominating personality.

Share for Success

Virtual online meetings are the perfect place to listen to a presentation. As opposed to sitting around a table, craning to see the presenter and screen, in a virtual meeting, everyone is in the front row. You can read every slide clearly on your screen, see the presenter’s face and expressions, and ask questions in an organized way. Virtual meeting software is designed to help meeting participants engage in multiple ways. Breakout rooms in virtual meetings allow participants to meet in a small private online room to work together on an activity before returning to the main room to present.

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What’s the Difference between Virtual Meetings and Virtual Events?

virtual presentations
A virtual event is held for customers or a target audience. It often includes multiple sessions and activities to keep attendees engaged. Virtual events are often hosted through a conference, trade show, or education platform.

A virtual meeting, on the other hand, is an internal event. The term is reserved for the sake of a company or organization collaborating within itself. Virtual meetings happen daily for many companies and government agencies.

Types of Virtual Meetings

There are various types of virtual meetings. Here is a list of some types of virtual meetings you might find yourself attending or hosting.


Huddles are held daily, weekly, or biweekly in most companies today. These meetings are used for teams to connect on daily tasks and team goals. The purpose is to set priorities, manage tasks and schedules, and share information.

Pulse Check-Ins

Pulse check-in are meetings between HR and employees to measure internal satisfaction, performance analysis, engagement, and morale.

All Hands

These are company-wide meetings held quarterly, and often led by the CEO. The purpose is to share new quarterly goals for teams and report on the past quarter’s results. The All Hands meeting is used to redirect focus and give everyone a company performance report so they can know where to direct their efforts for the next quarter.

Lunch and Learns

These are employee-initiated meetings. The goal is for an employee to share a new process, tool, technology, or product feature with the entire team.


Roundtable meetings are when the CEO gathers employees from various teams. Each roundtable has a theme. Employees share their experiences, client information and/or personal views.

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What Equipment Do I Need for Virtual Meetings?

virtual meeting experience

Outside of a computer or laptop, you’ll want to make sure you have the following equipment to ensure a seamless virtual meeting experience. This is especially important if you’re the host or presenter. The number of virtual meeting solutions grow everyday, so keep your eyes open for new market releases as you build out your equipment.


Many laptops and desktops come with built-in cameras. If your computer doesn’t have one, you will need to purchase a standalone webcam or camera. The range in quality varies, and how much you want to invest will be determined by how you’re going to use it.

If you’re going to host a lot of meetings, deliver presentations, and make videos you should go for a higher-end webcam. If you’re just tuning in for meetings and occasional presentations then go for a more affordable option.


You’ll need a decent microphone to make sure everyone in the virtual meeting can hear you. Laptops, mobile devices, and high-quality web cameras come equipped with built-in microphones.

If you have an older desktop and camera without a mic you might invest in a headset that doubles as a mic. If you plan to host virtual meetings for clients or large groups of people, an omnidirectional microphone will provide the best sound and recording quality.

High-Speed Internet Connection

To make sure your virtual meetings run smoothly, you’ll want to have a high-speed internet connection that can withstand the data demand. If you have a weak connection, it’ll result in audio and visual lags that can impact the quality.

Also, keep in mind that if another person in the house is streaming HD content it will affect your virtual meeting unless your internet is fast enough to handle both.

Video Conferencing Software

You have many virtual meeting platforms to choose from. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are probably the two most popular and feature-rich software options at the moment, but there are plenty to choose from.

Most options also provide a free option, just keep in mind that they typically have time and attendee limits. If you’re hosting a multi-hour seminar with dozens of attendees you’ll need to use a paid option for a comprehensive virtual meeting solution.


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How to Start a Virtual Meeting

start a meeting

While every meeting might have different rules, there are some basic etiquette practices everyone should follow to create an ideal online meeting atmosphere.

  • If the group is small, introduce everyone. At a minimum introduce the instructors and team leaders.
  • Don’t stare at your phone or do other distracting things on camera while someone is presenting or speaking.
  • Body language comes through on camera—nod your head in agreement if you agree—show the presenter(s) you hear them and are engaged.
  • Don’t interrupt other people when they’re speaking.
  • Give yourself time to test all the technology you’ll be using including camera, Wi-Fi, screen sharing, and your mic.
  • Have all of the presentation material you’ll be screen sharing ready to go. Participants don’t want to wait while you shuffle through folders looking for files.
  • Don’t work on other tasks—like checking email—during the virtual meeting.
  • Turn off all notifications on your computer and make sure your phone is on silent mode.

Treat your virtual meeting etiquette like an in person meeting and you should be fine.

How to Keep Attendees Engaged in Virtual Meetings

virtual training

Like any type of meeting, keeping your meeting attendees engaged is critical for success. Allow for a few minutes of friendly interaction before diving into a meeting. This can help people relax and build rapport.

Also, spend some time at the beginning of the meeting checking in with people. It can just be simple small talk about a popular and neutral topic like sports or the weather. It signals to your audience that they’re in a safe space with people just like them. If they can engage with an easy topic then you’re priming them for engagement for more heavy topics during the presentation.

Because you’re not in the same room as the meeting attendees, you will have to put more effort into generating trust and rapport. For example, during the meeting, you might ask a question that nobody answers because they’re all on mute. Recognize the silence and make a joke about it, don’t just let it awkwardly hang and move on as though nothing happened.

Give Jobs When You Can

Not having a clear purpose for why you’re at a meeting is frustrating for everyone. So often you think this doesn’t apply to me. If possible, before the meeting, make sure everyone on the team has a job. One team member can write down questions that come up during a brainstorm, another can manage the slide progression, and another can read questions from the chat.

The best types of jobs to keep remote workers engaged during virtual meetings are:

  • Interactive – These jobs allow individuals to contribute in real-time and interact with other team members.
  • Straightforward – Don’t make the job too complex or tedious. They need to be engaged and not feel like they’re working.
  • Frequent – Ideally, each job will be something the team member will do over the duration of the meeting requiring them to stay engaged.

Recognition and Purpose

If you can’t give a job to everyone, make sure everyone is seen. This means identifying each person, their position, and what points they need to pay special attention to during the meeting. For example, if your sales team is present for the virtual meeting, recognize who they are, what they do, and what parts of the meeting are important for them.

When people feel that they’re seen and appreciated they are much more likely to stay engaged because they feel appreciated and important.


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How to Schedule Virtual Meetings

schedule meeting

The great thing about virtual meetings is they allow everyone to be where they need to be in their own environment. But figuring out how to get everyone where you need them isn’t always so easy, especially when you’re working with a remote team that’s spread across multiple time zones.

To get everyone on the same scheduling page, try your best to find reasonable time frames that work for everyone’s time zones.

For example, if you have team members spread across Los Angeles, New York, and London, a reasonable time to start the meeting would be 9:00 a.m. Los Angeles time. It would be 12:00 p.m. in New York and 4:00 p.m. in London. In this scenario, everyone is still technically within the hours of a normal workday.

Try to schedule meetings far in advance so team members can block off their calendars with plenty of time and you’ll have less hassle rescheduling.

Virtual Meeting Follow Ups

Just like an in person meeting, you’ll want to provide a follow-up recap. The key items you should include are:

  • Deliverables and next steps.
  • Who’s responsible for following up on each item or task.
  • When those deliverables are due.
  • When the next meeting or check-in is expected.

It’s also a good idea to check with your attendees on how they thought the meeting went. Using an anonymous feedback survey is the best way to get honest answers. Attendee feedback is also the best way to refine your methods and continually improve your virtual meeting capabilities

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Virtual Presentation Training

Suasive, Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based communication consulting company that offers virtual presentation training for organizations and individuals.

To date, we’ve coached over 600 CEOs and helped individuals in some of the world’s biggest companies including Netflix, eBay, Sonos, Lyft, and Freshworks.

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