With the onset of a worldwide pandemic, employees were sent home to work in an attempt to flatten the contagion curve. People started learning how to work remotely, utilizing online tools. Person to person contact became a rare occurrence. Working differently in this “current normal”, we started to notice challenges in keeping teams together and conflicts at a minimum. In fact, employees and leaders indicated that they noticed new problems surfacing that were not evident before. In order to address and minimize these challenges, here are some tips to assist in working from home and get the most out of your virtual meetings.
3 Tips for Effective Virtual Meetings
Treat virtual meetings the same as in-person meetings. That means being present and participating fully – cameras on and mics off unless you are speaking.
- BE PRESENT
If you were in a face-to-face team meeting at your workplace, would you suddenly take your chair from the table without warning, walk out of the meeting room to sit in the hallway with the door open and continue to listen? Turning your camera off during a meeting is the equivalent of doing just that. Participating in a meeting without your camera on is a bit like hiding behind a wall – you have access to everyone and everything but do not reciprocate. Of course, if you do need a moment with the camera off, you can advise the Host/Chair via chat.
- STAY FOCUSED
Multi-tasking, while others are participating by texting, engaging with others in your space, writing an email, or reading a document, sends a message to others that you are not fully present and may create assumptions that you don’t care and don’t consider the people or topic important enough to give your full attention. Making eye contact, demonstrating attentive body language through your camera is important and is a big part of showing interest and participation. If you would not do it in a face to face meeting, don’t do it during a virtual meeting.
- DON’T GO IT ALONE
Assign roles to participants rather than have the Chair have all the responsibility. Here are some roles to consider:
• Chair/Facilitator – runs the meeting and follows the agenda
• Timekeeper – monitors the time and reminds the group; may be responsible for calling breaks
• Gate-Keeper – monitors the group to watch for those who would like to add to the discussion or ask a question
• Chat Monitor – monitors the Chat function and brings forward written comments or questions
• Scribe – takes notes and provides the minutes of the meeting
This article is Part 1 of a 3-part series featuring tips to help effectively communicate with your team while working in a virtual world. Next week we’re tackling social media. Check out our blog or follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook for more tips.