Virtual teams are now officially the way of things. Through email, text, telephone, Web conference, and if we’re lucky, videoconference, we work with people we haven’t yet met face-to-face, and perhaps we never will. We work across time zones, national boundaries, cultural chasms, and language barriers. It’s frustrating—even maddening at times. And through all of it, we have meetings. Virtual teams must have virtual meetings.
We bring to these meetings all of our experience and expectations about meetings, most of it gained from face-to-face meetings with people we know well. But we can't run virtual meetings using the same techniques we use for face-to-face meetings.
Leading virtual meetings can be a nightmare squared. People no-show, the wrong people attend, connections break, dogs bark, misunderstandings flourish, and confusion can settle in for a good long stay. Would you like to get better at leading virtual meetings?
If you would, this book is for you.
In some fields, virtual meetings are now more common than the old-fashioned face-to-face meeting. Everything about virtual meetings is more difficult than face-to-face meetings. They are more difficult to schedule, more difficult to run, and they take longer to do even the simplest things.
What’s a virtual meeting? You’ll find various definitions if you surf around a bit, but the main features of a virtual meeting are what make them so difficult to lead—the people are dispersed geographically, they meet in person infrequently or never, they come from different organizations, they hail from different time zones, they’re heavily dependent of technology, and so on. And these factors conspire to make what’s usually easy, difficult—and what’s usually difficult, impossible.
The suggestions in this book won’t address every issue, but they will make your virtual meetings more like your conventional meetings. That’s the best we can do, but fortunately for everyone, it’s more than good enough.