Spontaneous Virtual Meetings Happen. Here’s How to be Prepared for Them

Posted By
Adam Grant

In an ideal business world, everyone would have the opportunity to properly prepare for a virtual meeting. No one would ever be (metaphorically) caught with their pants down when a boss, client, or coworker spontaneously requests a video call asap; no one would fear having zero idea of what might get discussed.

That said, these things happen, and we need to be equipped for such moments. While you may be unable to unlock secret psychic powers to predict what might be coming, here are some tips on how to be ready for that surprise video conferencing session:

Having a Meeting Environment that’s Always Ready to Go

One of the easiest ways to be prepared for a spontaneous virtual meeting is to more often than not be situated in a workspace that’s online meeting platform-friendly.

This would be a room with incredible lighting, little-to-no background noise, a respectable backdrop, as well as strong Internet connectivity. If all these elements are present, you will have little trouble dropping everything at once to get to a live video chat online.

Continuously Read the Tea Leaves

As an employee at any company, it is your responsibility to at least have a basic idea about current matters related to your department, or those you work closely with. Chances are several email threads and the occasional phone call have made you privy to certain things that are going on.

By having a basic understanding of projects, deadlines, new opportunities, etc., you will have a chance at guesstimating what you are being summoned about. This will help you enter the virtual meeting confidently, knowing that you probably won’t be caught 100% off-guard.

Fill Up Your Notebooks

While many people have notes and reminders stored away on their computer, phone, or tablet, sometimes the best way to keep track of your business life is by taking a ton of notes.

Yes, it can be a pressure-packed situation having to sift through several pages of notes that relate to the surprise virtual meeting request you just received. That said, if the notes are organized accordingly (i.e., by date, project, a coworker’s name, etc.) you should be able to get to the right information quickly.  

Additionally, the exercise of taking notes does a surprisingly good job at helping a person remember critical details and what happened at recent events – like staff meetings, or a one-on-one video call.

Understand Peoples’ Patterns

At any company, you will encounter individuals who are very regimented in terms of how they work. After a while, their behaviour becomes like clockwork, and you can predict what they’ll get up to next.

Try your hardest to pay attention to coworkers who exhibit this type of behaviour. Understanding their cues and triggers will make that previously unscheduled Friday afternoon virtual meeting request far less mysterious than it could’ve been.

Do Your Job

Yes, preparedness can come from simply doing your job. Keep your head on a swivel and remain focused on the work in front of you (as well as what could be sneaking up in the rearview).

Employing this tactic alone will relieve the stress you sometimes feel when a random video meeting pops up in your schedule. What’s more, going this route will make you unfairly ready to take on the world in each team meeting you are asked to be a part of.

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Adam Grant

Adam has been a professional, published writer for more than 20 years. He has experience writing about technology, business, music, news, as well as many topics in-between. When not banging away at the keyboard, Adam spins vinyl, obsesses over sports, and takes his dog on giant walks.