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Virtual Meetings 101: Roles and Their Rules

Once you publish the agenda to your attendees, the second requirement is to select the team of people to help run the virtual meeting. Who will facilitate? Who will take the minutes? Who will be the technology guru?

Small meetings with less than 15 attendees can be run effectively with one person responsible for each role. Larger meetings require a different person to occupy each role. It is always best to have more help than you think that you need. An effective virtual meeting requires these three roles.

The Facilitator

This person focuses on achieving the meeting's objectives through honest collaboration. The rules for the facilitator are:

  • Start the meeting on time. Be respectful of the attendees who are on time. Don't wait for the latecomers.

  • Keep a neutral mindset.

  • Review the meeting's purpose and objectives.

  • Watch the clock to keep the meeting on schedule with the agenda.

  • Call a "time out" if the conversation becomes heated.

  • Call a "parking lot" if that item needs to be discussed in a different meeting or is not within scope.

  • Call a "move on" if the allocated time for that topic has been exhausted. Identify the best way to proceed.

  • End the meeting on time or even a minute early.

The Minute Taker

This person documents the key discussion points and decisions on the agenda. The rules for the minute taker are:

  • Actively listen.

  • Summarize discussions for future reference.

  • Organize the information.

  • Confirm understanding.

  • Ask for clarity if unsure.

The Technology Guru

This person runs the technology platform, manages the chat and assists attendees that need technical support. The rules for the technology guru are:

  • Log in early to make sure connections, video and audio are working correctly.

  • Start dialogue in the chat window.

  • Monitor the chat window and assist facilitator.

  • Be available for attendees to contact for technical support before and during the meeting.

  • Start and stop the recording of the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, the facilitator, minute taker and technology guru should huddle up to review the agenda. If everyone follows the rules of their role, you are destined to have an effective and productive virtual meeting. Employees leave the meeting engaged and the organization gains momentum for future progress.

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