A quest worthy of any hero, meetings are essential for remote teams and startups. While we all agree there’s value to asynchronous work, there’s also value in real-time collaboration and conversations. And meetings can help you accomplish just that!
Luckily, when your team is holding virtual meetings on Gather, you have a lot more ways to facilitate conversations with energizing depth instead of causing draining meeting fatigue. Consider it a buff for your entire team.
To help you make the most of your meetings and engage your remote team, we’ve put together this Hero’s Guide to Great Meetings on Gather!
We’ll group your quest into three sections:
- Setting yourself up for success
- Setting your Space up for success
- Setting your meeting attendees up for success
Setting yourself up for great meetings on Gather
Before you worry about anything else, make sure you’re ready yourself to lead and participate in meetings on Gather. These quick tips will help you get set up!
1. Link your Google Calendar
To do this, click the calendar icon in the bottom navigation bar. This will prompt you to sign in with your Google account.
Once you’ve connected your calendar, you’ll be able to see all your events for the day in the side panel. You’ll also receive reminders in Gather, so you never miss a meeting!
Note: This feature is currently in Beta. To learn more, check out this help doc.
2. Install the Gather Meetings Chrome Extension
Our new Chrome extension makes scheduling and joining meetings in Gather a seamless process. When you’re creating an event in Google Calendar, you’ll be able to generate a link in a single click to a Private Area in your Gather office.
Clicking this link in the calendar invite will take you directly to the meeting spot. Alternatively, if you’re in Gather and view your calendar events, you’ll see a button that will take you directly there.
Questions? You can view our help doc about the Chrome extension here.
3. Check your audio and video before you join your Space
There’s nothing that kills momentum quite like starting a meeting with troubleshooting. Before the meeting starts, take a moment to check your audio and video.
A hero has to be equipped for adventure… or a meeting. If you’re joining your office for the first time in a day, you can easily do this from the log-in. Just click the microphone and video camera icons to test and make adjustments. (Don’t forget to make sure your avatar is ready to go, too!)
Once you’re in your Space, you can also make adjustments by going to Settings > Audio / Video. The “playback” feature is especially nice for making sure your microphone is picking up your audio as expected.
Now that you’ve got yourself ready, let’s dive into optimizing your office for meetings!
Setting your Space up for great meetings on Gather
To implement most of these tips, you’ll need to have Admin or Builder access for your Space. But you got this, you’re leveling up in no time! You may also want to consider making some of these changes during a time when there aren’t too many people working in your Office, that way larger map changes don’t cause any disruption!
1. Create a variety of meeting areas in your office
Think of all the different types of meetings your team holds in a given week. A few examples might include an all-company Town Hall, weekly team standups, and 1:1s between managers and direct reports.
In a physical office, all of these meetings would likely take place in different-sized rooms. You’ll want to consider the same philosophy for meetings in Gather.
We recommend having rooms to accommodate:
- Small groups
- A full team or department
- The entire company
- Coworking between teams (more on this later!)
If you’re using one of our office templates, it’ll come with several built-in areas for holding meetings.
If you’re using a custom map or want to customize a template, you can use the Mapmaker to place Private Area tiles under a group of objects (such as a table and chairs) to create a new spot for meetings.
Looking for inspiration? Check out these 8 meeting formats you can arrange in your Gather office.
2. Set the name and occupancy for meeting areas
This step is critical if you want to use the Gather Meetings Chrome extension and Google Calendar integration.
When you create a new meeting, the Chrome extension will automatically choose a room in your Gather office that’s big enough to accommodate the number of invitees to the event. This is based on the Occupancy number.
The name of the Private Area is used to display the meeting location in the Events panel.
You’ll see the option to set these two fields when editing a Private Area in Mapmaker.
3. Create two coworking areas: Quiet and Social
If you’re looking to achieve that sense of presence with your team but don’t actually need to schedule a formal meeting, you can create a dedicated coworking area instead.
We recommend having two types of coworking spaces:
- One that’s meant for socializing
- One that’s meant for quiet work
By having both options, a quiet area and a social area, you’ll be able to accommodate introverts, extraverts, and those who need heads-down focus time but still want to feel connected to the team.
Pro-tip: If your team is new to Gather, we recommend hosting a coworking session once a week to bring everyone together at the same time. By having both types of coworking spaces, you can reassure everyone that they can still get work done while optimizing for their personal work style!
4. Add collaborative objects to the Space, like a Whiteboard or Pomodoro Timer
When you’re facilitating a team brainstorm or taking meeting notes, it’s often helpful to do this in a shared workspace so everyone can see what’s happening.
When your meeting is done, you can either download your work or leave it on the whiteboard. Just like in real life, it’ll stay there so you can return to it later.
Beyond the Whiteboard object, you can embed a URL to any object in Gather. This is a great way to link your tools together so everyone can access them while in your Space.
Another built-in item we recommend is the Pomodoro Timer, which automatically implements the Pomodoro technique. This pairs nicely with the coworking spaces, to keep everyone focused for a set amount of time before encouraging a social break.
Setting your meeting attendees up for great meetings on Gather
Now that you and your Space are ready, you can think about the content of your meeting and how to make it valuable for everyone else.
1. Create an agenda and share it in advance
Yes, this is sort of “Meetings 101,” but it’s a tip that provides so many benefits while also being incredibly easy to let slip on your to-do list.
To help everyone be prepared and as engaged as possible, type up your agenda and send it out in advance. Include any context that’s helpful to the subject of the meeting, the specific goal you’re trying to achieve, and what exactly you’ll need from your participants.
For example, should they pull data in advance? Be prepared for discussion? Just acknowledge important information? Setting clear, documented expectations will help you plan a productive call.
Pro-tip: You can embed the agenda into an object in Gather so everyone can easily interact with it when the meeting starts. For example, if your agenda is a Google Doc, you could add it to the Document object and place it on a table.
2. Invite everyone that should be in the meeting
Again, this isn’t revolutionary advice, but it’s an important detail to review when scheduling any meeting with members of your team.
Review the goal of your agenda, list out everyone that should be invited, and make sure they get added to the calendar event so the Gather Meetings Chrome extension knows the correct size of room to schedule.
If you do happen to forget anyone or need to add someone new once you’re in your meeting, just head over to the Participants Panel. Click on the person you need to invite, and select “Request to join meeting.”
And of course if they can’t join immediately, you can always walk up to them later in the office!
3. Use Meeting View to keep everyone focused
When it’s time to start the meeting, you can switch into Meeting View. This will put everyone in a focused grid view, so there are less distractions from other activity happening around the office.
Each participant will still be able to switch between Meeting View and Map View. To do this, select the toggle in the upper right of the view.
4. Share your screen (or multiple screens)
One thing that makes Gather unique is that multiple people can share their screen at the same time. This is really convenient when you’re collaborating on projects or sharing status updates from several people on the team.
To share your screen, click the “Screen share” icon in the bottom navigation bar. You’ll have the option of sharing your entire screen, just a window, or just a tab.
Once you’re sharing, other members of your meeting can follow the same steps to share their screen as well. No more asking each other for permission to “take over” the screen!
5. Choose an engaging meeting format
The final step to hosting great meetings in Gather? Make sure they’re engaging!
By collaborating in a virtual office, you can use the physical, digital space to structure more interesting meetings by asking people to move around or sit in specific places.
Check out these meeting ideas, inspired by other teams on Gather.
It’s time to party up! Grab your team and start holding great meetings in Gather
These tips will help you schedule productive, engaging video meetings for your remote team on Gather.
If you’re ready to try Gather for the first time, grab your team and start holding great meetings.