How to Define Meeting Roles and Host More Productive Virtual Meetings

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Do you often encounter these problems during your virtual meetings? Agendas are laid out, but not followed. Ideas are generated but never acted upon. People talk, but nothing of substance is said.

If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. Never-ending, unproductive meetings are common time-sinks for workers. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some tips on how to host more productive virtual meetings while working remotely.

Define and Assign Meeting Roles

Defining and assigning meeting roles to your team members in advance will lead to more productive virtual meetings because everyone will know what’s expected of them. Whether it’s to lead the discussion towards a goal, control the slide shows, or play devil’s advocate – when colleagues know their roles, they can act effectively in the meeting, getting the most done in the smallest amount of time.

The following are four of the most critical meeting roles to assign to your participants in your next virtual strategy session, board meeting, or training session.

Define Meeting Roles and Host More Productive Virtual Meetings
Image credit: Depositphotos

The 4 Meeting Roles

The Leader

To have a productive meeting, something needs to be produced. Whether it’s a strategy, a plan, or a new feature. Therefore, have a clear picture of your desired outcome, and choose someone to guide the team towards that vision. That person is the leader. Their duties include:

Hosting the Conference

 The leader is in charge of scheduling and hosting the meeting on your video conferencing software. When scheduling the meeting, the leader should keep the work schedules of the other participants in mind.

Developing an Agenda

To keep meetings as efficient as possible, develop an agenda that states what will be covered, who is responsible for what task, and even the expected outcome.

This will help ensure that everyone stays on topic and help you get through the meeting quickly, without missing any important information.

Assigning Meeting Roles

The leader should assign roles that fit the skill sets and personalities of the other attendees. For instance, the more experienced rep might make a better “devil’s advocate” during a sales call role-play than a new hire.

Also, make sure only to include employees who absolutely need to be in the meeting in order to respect everyone’s time.

Communicating Takeaways

It’s important to solidify the takeaways of any meeting. The leader should clearly communicate the conclusions of each section of the meeting, which will provide clarity on what to do next.

Assigning Next Steps

Once the meeting is over, decide on the next steps that your team members must take.

Without these action items, the meeting will have been a waste of time. Therefore, the leader needs to tell each member what they’ll need to do to act on the plan that was created in the meeting.

The Recorder

The recorder’s job is to make sure plans, ideas, and revelations are all documented for later use and review. The recorder needs to be able to separate the useful from the unnecessary. Here are their main responsibilities.

Assisting in Creating and Sharing the Agenda

The recorder will be familiar with the outcomes of the last meeting, so they’re a perfect consultant for the leader in agenda creation. They can also distribute a written agenda to the group before the meeting.

Taking Valuable Notes 

During a virtual meeting, a lot will be said. It’s the recorder’s job to spot the gems (decisions, ideas, next steps) and record them in shorthand. Later, the recorder will turn these notes into minutes.

Record the Meeting

Use the recording feature to record virtual meetings. That way, the recorder can keep a reference for double-checking any notes and meeting minutes before sending them to participants. Plus, any employees who weren’t able to attend the virtual meeting can receive the recording from listening to later.

The Timekeeper

There is nothing more frustrating than a meeting that won’t end, especially when you have critical work to do. The timekeeper prevents this time-suck by allotting the right amount of time to each topic. Here are their main duties.

Managing Time Limits

The timekeeper should be strict when it comes to time limits. If the group has spent more than the allotted minutes to go over the new sales strategy, the timekeeper should alert the group and make sure they move onto the next topic. The more meetings the timekeeper attends, the better they will become at estimating the time to be allotted for each agenda item.

Controlling Visual Mediums 

If there is a slideshow or dashboard involved, it’s the timekeeper’s job to maneuver through the slides or sift through the data visualizations. That means the timekeeper will be the one sharing their screen for the majority of the video conference.

The Devil’s Advocate

In business, many ideas sound great at first but are actually full of holes and problems. In order to make sure your meeting ideas are foolproof, make someone on your team, the “Devil’s Advocate.”

Just like in-house QA tries to break cybersecurity software, the advocate will search for potential pitfalls in any plans or strategies, making the final product of the meeting stronger. They force group members to think more deeply about whatever course of action is proposed. This person should know the topic well and be a strategic thinker. Here are their main duties.

Contributing Expertise on Meeting Topics

Whenever an idea is proposed, the advocate should think of reasons why it might not work easily. If the company is deciding on a new way to generate inbound leads, the advocate should be familiar with marketing and back up their points.

Asking Thought-Provoking Questions

Instead of simply shooting down ideas, the devil’s advocate should prompt the team to think more deeply about courses of action to determine if they’re the best move. The group can discuss how to overcome these potential problems or decide that the original idea is strong enough and move forward.

By assigning these virtual meeting roles, your meetings should run more smoothly and produce better results. Everyone appreciates an efficient and productive meeting that also builds team cohesiveness and collaboration.

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