4 Tips for Effective Virtual Meetings during Coronavirus

  1. Be Intentional about Communications

  2. Leverage Technology

  3. Take Time to Help

  4. Manage Next Steps



Be Intentional about Communications


  • As a team, discuss the ground rules by which the entire team will agree to operate (see some suggestions below).

  • When gathering information, ask open ended questions. Leaders, refrain from jumping right into the tactics. Take a few minutes to check in on how people are doing. It can be as simple as asking, "how are you doing?"

  • Once you have asked an open ended question, wait. Many times, people just want to be heard. They want to know that their leader and others are listening to them.

  • While listening, notice that you have an opinion. How do you notice when you have an opinion? Click here for more ideas on effective communication.

  • Leaders, resist the urge to solve problems. Your job is to listen, ask questions and help your team members grow.



Leverage Technology


Technology is amazing, when used intentionally. Here are some thoughts on two key technology tools: Email & Video Conferencing.


Email:

Email is very, very difficult to use as a Leadership tool. Which is why we advocate using it sparingly. When in doubt, pick up the phone. We are human beings and desire human connection/voice. Too often communication breaks down (and relationships) because something gets lost in translation via email.


Curious why email/text can cause us to react strongly? Emotional Intelligence expert Daniel Goleman gives us one reason that he calls flaming: we tend to misinterpret positive email messages as more neutral, and neutral ones as more negative, than the sender intended.



Video Conferencing:

We believe Zoom is the best tool out there right now. If you use Zoom, download the local client (it works better) zoom.us/download


Whatever tool you use, we propose the following ground rules for any and all virtual meetings:

  • Agree to the ground rules. If you don't, speak up.

  • Use an external microphone/headset. Sound quality matters.

  • Sit close enough to the screen that your head fills most of it.

  • Stay engaged with the conversation even if you aren't talking. Especially when you aren't talking. Nod your head. Look at the camera, not just the screen. You’ll appear more honest & engaged this way.

  • Don't multitask. It's rude and everyone can tell when you're doing it.

  • Sit somewhere with natural light shining on your beautiful face (i.e. with a window in front of you). A little effort on lighting goes a long way.

  • Speak clearly.

  • And if you’re using a laptop, don’t put it on your lap.

  • To help reduce Zoom Fatigue, try turning off the video of yourself to yourself ("Hide Self View").

  • For longer meetings, take 10 minute breaks every 90-minutes or so.

  • For larger groups: Agree on how participants can participate. This can be as simple as having people raise/wave their hand.

  • If it's a group of more than ~20 people, please hit mute when you’re not talking.


Yes, most of these are obvious. Unfortunately, very few teams take the time to agree to ground rules like this and almost no teams put in the effort to consistently deliver on them. Great teams do.



Take Time to Help


Create time to check in to see who needs help. Every single meeting. It only takes a few minutes.


If you have more time, create the space to actually help each other. One of the best ways to do this virtually is to use Zoom's Breakout Room feature. It makes it possible to quickly and easily create virtual rooms where people can get paired up to coach each other (we suggest groups of 2 - 3).


And as a leader, don't forget to coach yourself. Team members look to who you are being and how you are behaving to model their own behavior. That's why it's critical to take time to make sure you are taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.


Manage Next Steps


Ensure supportive accountability is in place and close every meeting with clear next steps.

  • What are the next steps?

  • Who is responsible for each of those next steps? [One person per step. If 2 people are responsible for a next step then accountability is cut in half, not doubled.]

  • When is each step due?

  • Bonus: who will help?


Learn more about Supportive Accountability here.



Great teams are intentional. Great leaders ensure their teams are set up for success and have all the foundational elements in place, especially in challenging times.

It’s worth it. The little things matter.


Lead on!



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