For a virtual meeting to have the greatest impact, it should be a "win" for everybody—including yourself.
When you complete a purposeful meeting agenda, you've won. And your attendees win when they’re empowered to succeed at their tasks and responsibilities. Successful meetings require both.
Let’s discuss how to make virtual meetings a win-win for all attendees.
The Importance Of Win-Win Meetings
What makes something “win-win?” Stephen Covey puts it:
“Win-win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It's not your way or my way; it's a better way, a higher way.”
Everyone benefits—you make progress towards your goals, and everyone’s motivated to carry out the mission.
Win-win meetings require you, as the facilitator, to master these two traits:
- Confidence. Lead the meeting, and set your ego aside to follow better ideas.
- Empathy. Show you care about your attendees, and manage your emotions to keep the meeting professional and productive.
Here are four tips to help guide you.
How to make virtual meetings win-win
1. Find your win
What’s the desired outcome for your next meeting? This is your win.
You can identify this by outlining your meeting's purpose in an agenda and sharing it with your attendees (be sure to see tip #2).
Finding your win means:
- You clarified the ideal meeting outcomes.
- You know how the meeting serves your larger goals.
- You identified the key talking points you want to cover.
- You understand why these talking points are important.
Start simple. Select the top three things you want to discuss.
2. Invite the right meeting attendees
Once you understand the meeting’s purpose, you’ll want to invite attendees who contribute to the mission.
Inviting the wrong attendees creates a lose-lose situation—they’re wasting time when they could be productive elsewhere, and this hinders the fulfillment of your meeting objectives.
To select the right attendees, you'll want to:
- Invite people with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to accomplish your meeting agenda.
- Invite attendees who are smarter than you, even if your ego is intimidated.
- Invite attendees who have diverse perspectives.
- Avoid inviting negative people who lack mutual respect.
- Avoid selecting people out of guilt or obligation.
Bringing the right people into the right conversations will ensure you accomplish your meeting agenda.
3. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Your attendees are helping you fulfill your organization’s goals and meeting purposes. You'll want to empower them to win.
We all want to feel understood, valued, and affirmed. So show that you care about your participants and seek to understand their opinion about meeting topics. This way, they’ll be motivated to contribute ideas and carry out your agenda.
Stephen Covey calls this, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
But here’s the challenge: meeting facilitators can become so absorbed in their own agendas and, as a consequence, overlook the participants in the room.
It’s true, you’re leading the conversation and have a clear agenda. But don’t forget there are other human beings in the room. You’ll want to make sure you understand your attendee’s thoughts, questions, concerns, and ideas.
Care about your meeting attendees, and they’ll help you accomplish your goals.
4. Find alignment
Effective meetings involve conflict and disagreements.
Purposeful meetings aren’t about reaching an agreement, at least not right away. They’re about finding alignment. This happens when, instead of avoiding disagreements, attendees are free to share their honest opinions.
These moments are opportunities to resolve conflict, discover collaborative solutions, and build stronger relationships. Finding alignment empowers everyone to win.
Encourage your attendees to share their honest opinions, then find alignment.
Your Next Steps
Win-win meetings are worth the effort. You'll want the confidence to lead a purposeful meeting agenda, and the empathy to listen to your meeting attendees. This results in collaborative meetings and stronger relationships.
Want more tips for having an effective virtual meeting? Check out our article on the 4 virtual meeting mistakes that will sabotage your team’s effectiveness.
And when you’re ready to have win-win meetings, use Undock to instantly schedule them across teams, organizations, and time zones. It’s free!