Let’s face it: Leading a virtual meeting is no easy task. You need to plan carefully to overcome challenges such as awkward silences, technical glitches, and participants who multitask. Start by setting clear expectations for participation. Before the meeting, send out a “code of conduct” email to give everyone a chance to understand how they can participate productively. Assign roles ahead of time, taking into account participants’ usual behavior during calls. For example, if you have a chatty colleague who gets easily distracted, give them a task that will help them stay focused, such as keeping time. If the people in your meeting don’t know each other well, assign someone to pose targeted questions to spark conversation and minimize the number of awkward silences on the line. Make sure to let attendees know that you want to hear from each of them and that you’ll cold call people if you want to hear more about an idea or ask them to step back from the discussion if they start to dominate it. The clearer the roles are in a virtual meeting, the easier the conversation will flow.