Virtual meetings have become very popular, and have seen a rapid increase in use due to COVID-19.
Meeting remotely allow us to connect and develop effective mentoring relationships in new ways.
- They allow us to develop a mentoring relationship with someone anywhere in the world
- They help to expand our network and give us access to experts who can help us in our work and careers
However, while virtual meetings can provide many benefits, they can also bring frustration.
How to make virtual meetings a success
Hints and tips
- Agree a set of "norms" between yourself and your mentor or mentee when meeting virtually. This should include the technology platform you use (Vidyo, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Go-to-Meeting, etc) and the "rules" you set for their use
- Familiarise yourself with the features available on your chosen platform, learn how to use them properly, and make use of these in your meeting. As well as video, these features can include screen sharing and chat, among others
- Ensure your camera is turned on for more personal engagement
- Check your speakers are working
- When speaking, look to the centre of the screen
- Consider using a headset for the best sound quality
- Speak clearly and avoid using abbreviations or jargon that the other person may not be familiar with
- There may be a time lag, which can make interruptions more jarring. Try to wait until the other person has finished speaking before you respond
- If you've been speaking for a long time, consider taking a break to ask the other person if they have any questions
Structuring your meetings
If this is the first time you are meeting with your mentor or mentee, you can follow the advice in the document titled "Your first conversation checklist" (available via the mentoring programme platform).
For subsequent meetings, try to give each meeting a structure:
- Review action points from the last meeting
- Be clear what you want to discuss and achieve
- Review progress towards your goals
- Record milestones that have been reached
- Confirm actions at the end of the meeting
Plan your next meeting
- If you are planning to meet again, try to establish a date and time for the next meeting – then stick to it
- Try to schedule breaks between meetings. This will help reduce virtual meeting fatigue and give you time to prepare
- Check how your mentor/mentee would like to communicate between meetings, and respect the other person's time outside your meetings
Last reviewed: 17 June 2021