Productivity Technology

10 Steps to Run Effective and Highly-Engaging Virtual Meetings

By Raymond Chiu on 16 August 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the growing popularity of communication apps like Zoom, Skype, and Google meet. That's because they were crucial alternatives to face-to-face meetings.

But online meetings are not all rainbows and butterflies. They tend to be droll if not organized effectively.

That said, we are sharing with you the nine steps to running an effective virtual meeting.

1. Establish a goal

As with anything in life, you must learn to establish and define clear goals to succeed, even with something like running a virtual meeting. You’ve probably had multiple instances where you’ve been invited to join a discussion that you have no idea what it’s about or why you need to be there.

Before you start inviting other people to a virtual meeting, you have to be clear about your goal.

When you establish a plan from the get-go, it also becomes easier to determine which players need to be present in the first place. At the same time, you won’t need to get sidetracked during the meeting and waste anyone’s time.

People aren’t engaged in these virtual meetings because they’re invited for formality’s sake. Still, their presence is ultimately unneeded, so they won’t bring in any inputs aside from a few “yes” and “no.” You are avoiding that issue by making sure you know the actual goals of your virtual meetings.

2. Send out the meeting invitation

If you’re sending out virtual meetings, you need to make sure that you have sent out the invitations in the first place. Of course, a certain etiquette comes with holding a meeting, even virtual, and sending invitations.

As much as possible, you want to be on top of your timeline and schedule. You want to ensure that you don’t have to schedule a meeting spontaneously. Unless there’s an emergency, it’s polite not to organize a meeting without warning.

With that said, when organizing a virtual meeting, make sure that you send the invites well before the date of the meeting. That way, people can make room for their calendar, and you can prepare for it.

3. Use the right platform

When organizing your virtual meeting, make sure that the invite clarifies what video or virtual discussion platform you will be using. That way, your guests can download it when needed. This is helpful, especially if your attendees are new to virtual meetings.

You should make sure that the platform you’re using has all the features you need for your presentation. It doesn’t have the popular ones if they don’t have the right parts. Also, your invite should include whether it’s required that they have their video cameras turned on during the meeting.

4. Define and sign meeting roles

If you’re organizing a virtual meeting that has many attendants, it would be a good idea to get more people to help you with it. You can assign duties to other participants to help you ensure that the meeting is going well. That way, you don’t have to be in all places at once, especially if you’re also presenting.

5. Prepare your presentation decks

Now that you have some of the backend issues of a virtual meeting ironed out, it’s time to start worrying about your presentation decks.

If you’re presenting, make sure that your deck is pleasing to see so people are engaged. At the same time, all the details of your presentation shouldn’t depend on your deck, so don’t fill it with text.

You should also coordinate and have a deadline for other presenter’s decks. That way, you can make sure that it works once it’s time to present and there aren’t hiccups on the day itself.

6. Lay down some ground rules

You should already include some ground rules in the virtual meeting invitation. But as a precaution, you can remind your attendees about it before you start the meeting.

An example of ground rules you might want to incorporate is to ask people to be in a private room and avoid answering phones and have their cameras turned on.

Another rule is to ask your team to run a productivity app like FocusMe. Often, we multitask while in a virtual meeting. But what happens is that we fail to digest the discussions. As such, you can use productivity apps that block other websites and apps so they can focus on the meeting.

7. Use Anti-Distraction Apps

Back in the day, virtual meetings weren’t exactly a run-of-the-mill experience in the workplace. But nowadays, it’s something that you should get used to.

The risk of that is that you’re going to be more prone to distractions. After all, how many times have you used social media while attending a Zoom meeting? So much so that you do not remember what was talked about?

To avoid that issue altogether, you should use anti-distraction apps like FocusMe.

Anti-distraction apps help you stay focused by blocking websites and apps that prevent you from getting things done. This includes paying attention to a meeting. But what’s cool about FocusMe is that you can customize your list of websites and apps that you want. You can even schedule blocks of time when FocusMe would activate.

During a virtual meeting, FocusMe can help you focus on nothing but the discussion at hand so that you don’t miss critical details. Just set the time and the apps and websites you want to block, and you’re good to go.

8. Keep participants engaged

If you’re organizing a virtual meeting that has many attendants, it would be a good idea to get more people to help you with it. You can assign duties to other participants to help you ensure that the meeting is going well. That way, you don’t have to be in all places at once, especially if you’re also presenting.

9. Use mind maps

Having the decks of your presenters early on helps you create a mind map for each presenter. This mind map can give a visual for all the critical points that presenters presented during their talk. In addition, it will help the attendees remember what the conference was about.

10. Close the meeting with a purpose

Closing the meeting doesn’t mean that you need to start easing off on making it engaging. On the contrary, you can do plenty of things to close off the meeting strong.

Before you end the meeting, ask everyone if they have any more questions to be answered before closing things off. It’s also a time to do a recap of each speaker’s critical points.

Finally, it’s also the time to remind everyone what happens after the virtual meeting. For example, you might be sending them an email containing the video recording, as well as notes about the meeting.

Having a game plan beforehand of what you’re going to do after a meeting can help you make this closing transition smoother.


By following the steps listed above, you can organize an effective and engaging virtual meeting. This will also prevent you from wasting everyone’s time, including that of yourself.

About the author:

Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for Maid Sailors, a professional home cleaning service provider. When not working, he spends his time on lifehacks and DIY projects that can make his 800 sqft. New York apartment a home. This is also why he often writes about DIY projects or cleaning and organization tips that you can do to spruce up your home and office. He lives with his two rescue dogs Jet and Rocket.