Technology has assisted almost every aspect of the business world, and because of it companies are able to meet with clients and distant colleagues for virtual meetings.

This convenience that was once thought of as the ‘wave of the future’, is now considered by most companies as an essential part of doing business.

If you find yourself having to host or participate in virtual meetings at the office via Skype, or simply over the telephone, the following are a couple of tips to help you to be more productive –

1~ Make a Plan. Send an email with a meeting reminder and the agenda, several days in advance to all colleagues expected to participate. Remember to ask key people to prepare items and ideas for the meeting, so that everything and everyone is prepared.

2~ Don’t Forget Introductions. Before the meeting begins, be sure to introduce the other colleagues to one another. If your group meets regularly, ask for updates on everyone. Be sure to listen to everyone that is speaking, showing respect and don’t try doing other activities, like multi-tasking, while the meeting is in session.

3~ If Possible, Choose Video. If you have the option, choose to use video over holding an only audio meeting. This option allows participants to see each other, which provides undivided attention. Video engages people easier by allowing you to see everyone’s facial expressions and reactions.

4~ Use Quality Technology. To ensure that you video quality is good, without poor connections and paused moments, the most popular technology used for virtual conferences are Skype for Business, GoToMeeting and WebEx.

5~ Keep Everyone Engaged. Because virtual meetings mean that people are in different locations, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of everyone involved. Try to always maintain control, encouraging everyone to participate and share their ideas and comments. It’s important to ask for feedback so that co-workers don’t get bored and lose interest in the topics being discussed.

Although virtual meetings may not be as effective as ‘in person’ encounters, they are convenient and essential in many situations. This technology has allowed businesses to succeed with other companies across the globe.