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Following Up on Virtual Team Meetings

Partners in Development offers a clear structure for effective virtual team meetings. This structure is fundamentally different from in-person meetings, as it recommends spending 70 percent of meeting time on preparation, planning, and executing. In this month’s Tip, we discuss what the remaining 30 percent should be designated for.

In our last Tip of the Month article, we discussed why best practices for virtual team meetings recommend allocating 20 percent of meeting time in the actual meeting. In May, we learned that 50 percent of the time should be designated for planning and preparation. That leaves 30 percent of your time, for follow-up. 

This structure is significantly different from a typical in-person meeting, where oftentimes only 10 percent of the time is spent on planning, 80 percent in the actual meeting, and 10 percent for follow-up. 

Once you’ve generated your plan, and you’ve carried out best practices and tips from our previous articles, spend time putting words into action, and carrying out the next steps from the meeting’s objectives. This follow-up time is perhaps the most vital part. Here are some research-based reasons why.

  • 45% of employees say their team does NOT use a tool or system to track milestones.
  • 35 % of employees are NOT comfortable communicating that they feel disrespected or insulted by a team member or team leader.
  • 42% of U.S. employees are fearful that their words are being misinterpreted when communicating with their team.[1]

Virtual meetings are plagued with distracted, multitasking team members. In the absence of follow-up, some team members might miss key information within the action plan and fail to follow through on their tasks. Research suggests that people retain as little as 20 percent of what they hear the first time around. Similar studies indicate the existence of a “Rule of Seven,” which states that information must be presented seven times – preferably in different formats – to become actionable. 

Here’s a Tip:

Here are some tips for follow-up after your virtual meetings. Applying these tips will foster clear understandings of agreements and actions that lead to results being more likely to occur.

  • Within 24 hours, post meeting notes and the recording, if used, and notify participants.
  • Post any action items, due dates, and responsibilities on the team website.
  • Call or e-mail participants to ensure understanding and commitment to the meeting outcomes.
  • Discuss any questions and concerns participants may have to their follow-through.
  • Brief individuals who were absent after they view meeting notes or listen to the recording.
  • Solicit member feedback about meetings and what would make them better.
  • Prepare participants for the next meeting.

[1]Literally Virtually: Making Virtual Teams Work. 2019. Lee S. Johnsen.


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