Business Center

Tips for Scheduling Virtual Meetings

Kelly Hanson, Office of Process Improvement, Intern

03/12/2021

A year ago, no one knew what Zoom was. If someone said, "Zoom meeting,” you probably thought they were talking about speed walking to a meeting. Fast forward to 2020, and it’s hard to go a week, even a day, without using Zoom. Now when someone says, “Zoom,” an image similar to the Brady Bunch intro pops into our heads. 

Brady Bunch View

Before this year, most of us were not accustomed to having virtual meetings. We may have joined a webinar here or there, but we weren’t hosting them ourselves. Most of us thought, “Why would you go through the hassle of learning another computer tool when it is easier and faster to schedule a conference room or to stop by our coworker's office?” 

As a result, when we moved fully remote, most of us found ourselves struggling to learn another computer tool. We may have made the classic video conferencing rookie mistakes, such as:

-Forgetting to unmute when we are trying to talk 

-Forgetting to mute ourselves, which is often much worse

-Not checking what, or who, are in our video screen before joining the call

But, we quickly adapted, as we had no other choice as weeks turned into months of working remotely. 

Now many of us find ourselves in a new predicament. Our days are packed with video meetings, sometimes with no breaks. Most of us now know how to change our backgrounds, use the chat function, and maybe, how to add a poll or a fun question. We have mastered video calling, but we may be overusing it. 

Are we too video call happy? It depends. Before scheduling your next video call, consider the following:

  • Ask yourself, does this need to be communicated with a video call? 

Does your meeting require engagement? Such as needing collaboration or feedback. Or, do you need to demonstrate or share something from your computer? Then having a video meeting may be the most effective form of communication. However, if this is not the case, then an email may be easier and it allows people to read it when it works best in their schedule. 

  • Consider Scheduling Gaps

When you are scheduling a meeting, look at your participants’ calendars and try to choose a time that gives participants at least 10-15 minutes between meetings. This gives participants time to refresh and prepare before their next meeting. 

  • Agenda, Agenda, Agenda

To keep the meeting concise and on time, prepare an agenda for the meeting. This will also help with setting goals and objectives for the meeting. Consider leaving a few minutes at the end of the meeting to go over the action items from the meeting to make sure everyone understands their assigned tasks. 

  • Practice

If you are hosting a meeting with multiple presenters, consider scheduling practice sessions ahead of time with the presenters. This gives the presenter time to learn the technology, and it provides a time for the presenter to ask questions or to address areas of concern before presenting to a larger audience. With practice sessions, presenters can feel more comfortable on the day of the meeting.

  • Camera Options

Give participants the option to have their camera on or off. This gives participants the option to join the call without worrying about how they look on screen. Remember there are a variety of reasons for why a participant may not have their camera on, such as not feeling well or people in the background.

Also, consider having meetings where participants can call in. This gives participants a break from their computers. Maybe they can get outside and go for a walk during the meeting. 

Hopefully, these tips will help make scheduling your virtual meetings as easy as possible and will lead to effective meetings. To help us all through this new work environment, please let us know what’s working, what’s not working in your virtual environment so we can share this information by emailing [email protected] And, be on the lookout for the next virtual work environment tips article!