Howdy! It’s been a long year and many of you likely can’t wait to get back to the office and resume in-person meetings again. All indications however, are that we are nowhere close to returning to the offices and video meetings are here to stay.
Given that video meetings are a reality, I offer five pragmatic suggestions you can implement right away, to have more meaningful and satisfying meetings.
- Build a connection with co-workers. My co-workers and I often discuss that calendars should end meetings 5 minutes early, allowing folks to walk from one conference room to another, so everyone can be on time. With remote working, there is no conference room “commute” time, so this means you have the opportunity to be early in most meetings, before there is quorum. Use the time to connect with the attendees by making small talk work for you. A simple “what’s new with you?” can help you learn new things about your co-workers, enabling you to connect more deeply with our colleagues on the topics we work together on.
- Compliment people. The video conferencing setting provides a unique opportunity to chat with other attendees without interrupting the flow of the meeting. If someone in the meeting is making a good point that resonates with you, you can quickly send them an acknowledgement over chat. This is hard to do with in person meetings where you don’t want to break the flow of the main meeting. But with remote meetings, you can complement good ideas and provide prompt feedback, without disrupting meetings. This should also improve your likability and above all, it feels nice to be nice to others, doesn’t it?
- Make meetings inclusive. Notice who is getting left out and bring them in. Video meeting solutions often allow attendees to raise their hand and ask a question. However not all meeting facilitators may notice this. For example, if someone is working off their laptop and is sharing their screen, then without a second monitor in place they may not notice that another attendee has raised their hand. As an observant attendee, you can call out those that want to speak and encourage them to contribute. It is not only the right thing to do, but by being the person that notices these things, you make the meetings more inclusive and productive.
- Turn interruptions into positives. People have different Internet connections and speeds, so latency can contribute to a meeting experience where we might interrupt a person without realizing that the other person was still speaking. Besides just apologizing, it could be an opportunity to complement the speaker. For example, “I didn’t mean to interrupt. This is a really fascinating topic that you raise, and I couldn’t stop myself from sharing my thoughts”.
- Smile and nod when you agree. It is simple really and not unique to video meetings but particularly relevant when there is excessive meeting fatigue. Smiling puts you in a good mood. And seeing you smile will lighten things up for the other attendees as well. It makes you a more positive person, and everyone gravitates towards people that are likable. By nodding when you agree with something, you can indicate support without breaking the flow of the speaker.
I hope you find these tips useful! Hit the like button if you do. Thanks for reading!