According to a survey presented in 2014 at the London Business School’s Global Leadership Summit, more than half of the world’s workforce will operate remotely by 2020. How will law firms accommodate this change? Virtual meetings could be one part of the answer.
In organizations where time is money — as true in law firms as in most businesses —making meetings as efficient and effective as possible will be more important than ever.
About virtual meetings
A virtual meeting is a real-time event or series of events that takes place over the internet. They are often held with videoconferencing technology and integrate audio/visual tools, as well as the option for application sharing.
Virtual meetings reduce the need for expensive travel and cut down on extra infrastructure necessary for onsite meetings. This approach can be particularly useful when incorporating those from different geographic locations. This means added time savings and overall increased productivity.
With virtual meetings, law firms can:
- Conduct long distance depositions
- Share audio, video, text, and evidence for trial preparation
- Hold long distance consultations
- Communicate with distant corporate clients
- Add capability for face-to-face client meetings
Videoconferencing tools are just one more way to extend a legal professional’s ability to offer their services, even from far away.
Making the most of virtual meetings
Like regular meetings, virtual ones should be relatively formal and structured, with a facilitator and an agenda, along with defined objectives and outcomes.
Here are six top tips to make your firm’s virtual meetings more productive:
#1. Share an agenda beforehand.
A good rule of thumb: if there isn’t anything worth putting on an agenda, there probably isn’t a need to meet. Give participants plenty of time to prepare materials and consider the topics of discussion as necessary.
#2. Take time zones into account.
If you’re in charge of scheduling a virtual meeting, make sure you try to find a time that is convenient for everyone, taking time zones into account.
#3. Use reliable technology.
To get optimum results from a virtual meeting, check the technology before the meeting starts. If the technology fails, have a backup plan or be prepared to reschedule if technical issues are getting in the way.
#4. Be prepared.
Legwork done before a virtual meeting is essential for limiting the actual meeting time and ensuring that the real-time meeting is focused and productive.
#5. Keep the guest list short.
Fewer attendees can be better when it comes to virtual meetings, the better to hear and connect with each person. If necessary, organize a series of short but focused virtual meetings with fewer people, bringing in additional participants for follow-ups as needed.
Virtual meetings are likely to be a necessity for doing business in the future within the legal industry. With the changing geographical breadth of the workforce, the increase of virtual paralegals, and other constrictions that require law firms to make the most of the time and resources that they have, virtual meetings could well be the answer to many different needs.
Do you have other ideas about how to make virtual meetings in the law firm more productive? Tell us in the comments!