Hosting a good meeting is an art in and of itself. And, when your meeting is virtual, there are additional considerations. Because more and more businesses are turning to virtual meetings in an effort to save on travel expenses and time, mastering the art of virtual communication is becoming an extremely important skill to have.

The following tips are meant to ensure the virtual meetings you lead are efficient, engaging, and effective:

Before the Meeting:

1. Send an email with clear instructions on how and when to join the meeting, and be sure to consider time zone differences.

2. Send a detailed agenda focused on one to two objectives along with any necessary supplemental materials at least 48 hours in advance, giving your participants time to review the information so they are prepared to contribute to the conversation. If you choose to assign your participants roles to encourage participation, make sure directions are included with the agenda.

3. Practice using the software program so you are familiar with its features and prepared should unexpected technological issues arise.

During the Meeting:

4. At the start of the meeting, allow participants to introduce themselves and then engage in small talk to connect with each other.

5. If appropriate, leverage the platform’s interactive tools and/or features. Polls and whiteboards, for example, are great for increasing involvement and furthering collaboration.

6. Provided your participants are in a quiet place, you can prevent passive listening and multitasking by asking participants to NOT mute themselves and/or to use video.

7. Consider other software apps or programs such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Docs for live editing of documents to maximize your time.

8. Maintain visible notes that capture key points of the discussion, as well as actions to be taken.

9. At the end of the meeting, take a few minutes to summarize what was discussed, assign action items to participants, and schedule a follow up meeting if needed.

After the Meeting:

10. Send notes out to all participants with action items and further instruction.

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Dr. Gregory Sanders is a Harvard-trained, practicing cardiologist and founder and CEO of HybridChart. He has been coding since the 1980s and has spent his medical career focusing on improving processes. His patient care skills earned him recognition as one of Phoenix Magazine’s TOP DOCs. He lives in Scottsdale with his family.