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How to make the most out of remote meetings

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

First things first, when it comes to virtual meetings not everything is all negative. I have worked with project engineering teams that are truly international. Each member of the team can be based in multiple locations such as Ireland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, UK and the USA. We know each other virtually, we speak regularly and have, like we would in person, built working relationships albeit remotely. In some aspects we know each other more as we are speaking from the comfort of our own homes and there is something personal about that.

There are quite the number of upsides to remote meetings. Screen sharing is your friend. I don't know how many times I have been in technical meetings where the experience has been overwhelming positive due to screen sharing. A goal in leading virtual meetings is to be effective with the use of your time and everyone's time.

Reviewing Process and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) Air Flow and Instrumentation Diagrams (AF&IDs), System Architecture Drawings or a group review of documentation such as User Requirement Specifications (URS) is extremally beneficial. All parties are looking at the same item at the same time, I would also encourage the use of the request control function as your pointer becomes visible to all. Travelling to a meeting increases ones CO2 emissions along with using less natural resource for printouts.

The main rules of holding meetings still apply. The basics, have a previously distributed agenda where everyone in attendance has a chance to raise any items or comment on the agenda. This helps gain buy in to the topics being discussed and there are no surprises or confusion. Start the meeting with a casual chat, discuss items in the news, some funny story or what everyone you got up to at the weekend (small talk). Not only does it make attendees feel more comfortable it also has the same effect on the host! Always use a safety moment, safety in engineering is extremely important, the more we highlight safety, the more we demonstrate our commitment to safety and the more we raise awareness of safety.

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