Virtual Meetings While Traveling
Virtual meetings are conducted online using various technologies, such as video conferencing, web conferencing, or teleconferencing. Virtual meetings allow people to communicate and collaborate across different locations, time zones, and devices, without the need to travel physically.
Virtual meetings have many benefits, such as saving time, money, and energy, reducing carbon emissions, increasing accessibility and inclusivity, and enhancing productivity and creativity.
However, virtual meetings also pose many challenges, especially when they are conducted while travelling. Travelling can introduce various factors that can affect the quality and effectiveness of virtual meetings, such as unreliable internet connection, noisy or distracting environment, incompatible or malfunctioning devices, different or conflicting schedules, cultural or linguistic barriers, and physical or mental fatigue.
Therefore, travellers need to master the art of virtual meetings while travelling, which is the skill and ability to plan, prepare, conduct, and follow up on virtual meetings in a way that ensures their success and satisfaction.
Let’s explore how to master the art of virtual meetings through corporate travel management before the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting, and share some best practices and tips, as well as common pitfalls and mistakes.
Before the Meeting
Travellers should take some essential steps to plan and prepare for their virtual meeting.
- Check the date, time, and duration of the meeting with your meeting organiser and participants in advance. Consider the time difference between your location and theirs and adjust your schedule accordingly. Also confirm the format and agenda of the meeting, such as the purpose, objectives, topics, tasks, roles, and expectations.
- Choose a suitable platform and device that are compatible with your meeting organiser and participants’ preferences and requirements. Test your platform and device before the meeting to ensure that they work properly and have a backup plan in case of any technical issues or failures.
- Find a reliable internet connection for your meeting that is fast, stable, and secure. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks that may be slow, unstable, or unsafe.
Find a quiet and comfortable environment for the meeting that is free from noise, distractions, or interruptions. Don’t use crowded or noisy places, such as airports, cafes, or hotels. Inform your co-travellers or hosts about your meeting and ask them to respect your privacy and silence.
During the Meeting
When the virtual meeting is in progress, travellers should take some important actions:
- Join the meeting on time and introduce yourself to your meeting organiser and participants. Apologise for any inconvenience or difficulty that your travel may cause them, such as poor audio or video quality, background noise, or connection issues.
- Follow the etiquette and norms of the meeting that are established by your meeting organiser and participants. Respect their culture and language, and avoid any offensive or inappropriate remarks or gestures.
- Stay focused and engaged in the meeting by avoiding any distractions or multitasking that may affect your performance or participation. Avoid actions or behaviours that may show disrespect or disinterest to your meeting organiser or participants, such as checking your phone, email, or social media, eating, drinking, or smoking, or leaving the meeting without notice or permission.
After the Meeting
After the meeting travellers should take some essential steps to follow up on their virtual meeting.
- Review and summarise the meeting by taking notes or recording the main points, outcomes, and actions of the meeting, identify any issues, challenges, or opportunities that emerged during the meeting.
- Communicate and collaborate with your meeting organiser and participants by sending them a thank-you message or email after the meeting, follow up on any tasks or actions that you are responsible for or involved in, and report your progress, suggestions or results to them.
Common Pitfalls and Mistakes
Some of the frequent and avoidable errors and blunders that can hinder or harm travellers’ mastery of the art of virtual meetings are:
- Assuming that everything will go smoothly or according to plan. Travelling can involve many uncertainties and variables that can affect travellers’ travel and their virtual meetings. Therefore, travellers should not assume that everything will go smoothly or according to plan, but rather anticipate and prepare for possible travel disruptions or complications. They should also have contingency plans or backup options in case of any emergencies or changes.
- Travelling can involve many details or requirements that can affect travellers’ travel and their virtual meetings, such as dates, times, durations, routes, modes, platforms, devices, internet connections, environments, schedules, etc. Therefore, travellers should not neglect to check or confirm these details or requirements before, during, or after their travel or their virtual meetings. They must also update or inform their co-travellers, hosts, meeting organisers, or participants of any changes or updates on these details or requirements.
- Travelling can involve many distractions or temptations that can affect travellers’ travel and their virtual meetings, such as sightseeing, shopping, dining, or entertainment. Therefore, travellers should not forget to follow up or follow through on their meeting by reviewing and summarising the meeting, communicating and collaborating with their meeting organiser and participants, and planning and preparing for their next meeting.
Best Practices and Tips
Best practices and tips are some of the proven and effective methods and strategies that can help travellers master the art of virtual meetings while travelling:
- Travelling can be unpredictable and uncertain, and so can virtual meetings. Therefore, travellers need to be flexible and adaptable to cope with any changes or challenges that may arise during their travel or their virtual meetings. They need to be open-minded and willing to adjust their plans, expectations, and behaviours according to their situation and circumstances.
- Travelling can expose travellers to different cultures, languages, and norms, and so can virtual meetings. Therefore, travellers need to be respectful and courteous to their co-travellers, hosts, meeting organisers, and participants. They need to be aware of and sensitive to their differences and diversity and avoid any stereotypes or prejudices.
- Travelling can be stressful and exhausting. Therefore, travellers need to be professional, reliable, responsible and accountable for their meeting commitments and obligations. They need to be punctual and consistent in their attendance and participation, as well as their communication and collaboration.