Virtual meetings 101

Many executives are curbing their flying habits in the wake of Sept. 11. That may lead to more videoconferences and other forms of digital meetings.

If you find yourself in that boat, then here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind before you walk into the boardroom, courtesy of Pittsburgh-based Development Dimensions International:

Preparations: Invite no more than eight participants. Test the system well in advance of the meeting, and allow for extra time in case of glitches. Distribute a list with the contact information of each participant. Have an alternate plan in case of failure.

Leading a digital meeting: Start with a roll call. Designate a note taker, and check frequently to make sure everyone’s up to date. Prompt those you don’t hear from.

Follow-up: Distribute meeting notes and action items by e-mail. Send material to those who weren’t able to attend. And make sure to get feedback.