We have all had to adapt a lot this year due to COVID-19. One of the biggest adaptations has been around virtual meetings. Many organizations have had to take their meetings into the online space, which means that a lot of decision-making now happens virtually.
Virtual meetings can also mean fatigue among participants as it becomes harder to stay engaged without in-person interaction. Not to mention, virtual meetings also make for plenty of distractions and potential technical issues that can make for missed messages and confusion in the process.
As we’re faced with these new challenges, we also have to find new ways to tackle them–especially when it comes to important decision-making within an organization.
Tackling these challenges means for putting in a bit more effort towards planning out meetings. This is a more viable option over simply just scheduling them and showing up.
Here are some effective tips and tricks to follow so that you can be sure you’re making the right decisions.
Get a Solid Head Start
If you know that a meeting is coming up where an important decision will be made, try to complete the majority of the work before the meeting.
Completing this work independently allows you to have time to clarify the initial steps of the decision-making process. This makes for a more effective use of everyone’s time when it comes to the meeting itself.
As you take the time to start the process on your own, think about the opportunity or challenge that you’re currently facing. Research the scenario and try to come up with solutions that you might look to present to the team.
You should also take these proposed solutions and suss them out against multiple criteria. Try to think of every possible scenario and outcome and develop a solution for each. This keeps things simple for when it comes time for your meeting.
Set an Agenda
When you complete the bulk of the work outside of your meeting, it allows for your meeting time to be a lot shorter. Setting an agenda for the virtual meeting is a great way to make the most of this time. You will be better able to get right to the point.
It’s important to make sure your agenda is focused. Only include the clarification of key information, weighing trade-offs, sharing options and alternatives, and making final decisions. This leaves little room for the meeting to go off in a direction that isn’t relevant or doesn’t make good use of decision-making time.
You will be better set up to make informed decisions. Participants will also have clear expectations for what will be discussed during the virtual meeting.
Use Decision-Making Polls
If you’re still finding that team members are having a hard time coming to a decision virtually, then you might try setting up a poll. Provide a small poll so they can take a few minutes to respond when they have some spare time.
You get all of their perspectives in one place and answers are kept straight to the point. Often no further discussion is needed once participants have shared their opinion in a poll.
Polls are also great for bringing into your virtual meeting to guide your discussion towards effective decision making.
You can learn how to create a live poll in less than a minute here.
Be sure to ask open-ended questions, give context on what it is that you are asking, and present three or more clear choices.
Communicate as Much as Possible
As your communication is entirely virtual, it’s important to be consistent with sharing the decisions that you come to. Craft communication pieces that are clear and easy to understand.
Without direct communication on decisions, employees can become lost and out of the loop.
In your communication, be clear about what the decision was regarding. Explain the alternatives that were considered and mention who was consulted. Then, explain what you expect the results of the decision to look like.
Opening up communication in this way helps everyone to feel like they’re in the loop and also gives them a chance to respond.
Summing it all up
Decision-making in virtual settings is no easy task, but with a few tips and tricks you’ll be on your way to making the process a lot more effective.
Getting a head start, setting an agenda, using decision polls, and communicating as much as possible, are each great ways to conduct better decision-making virtually.
We may have to adjust to virtual settings for things like decision-making, but at the end of the day it just proves our resilience and dedication to getting the job done right.
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