Online Meetings – Ensure Your Teams Feel Connected
For Remote and Hybrid workers collaboration, sharing ideas and resolving challenges as a team requires technology that enables them to be, and feel connected to each other. But technology is just part of what it takes to successfully connect remote teams.
Whether or not you’re in the same room, good listening is a critical skill especially when collaborating online. Proactively listening and encouraging others to do the same, helps to draw out our best ideas and gives quieter team members the opportunity to make themselves heard.
This sounds obvious, but planning before a meeting is critical, and arguably more so with online meetings. Take the time to attend online meetings with good preparation. Think about why you are in the meeting. Are you there to share information or an idea? Are you there to learn from your colleagues or for a specific update? Who will be attending, have you anticipated the tone of the meeting? Taking all of this into account will improve your meetings and encourage a professional approach.
Plan short meetings keeping your team focussed on a single topic, or a short agenda. Keeping the meeting short and focussed reduces fatigue and encourages proactive participation, with better outcomes after the meeting.
Shorter meetings inevitably mean more frequent meetings. This is fine as again it helps to keep focussed on the subject under discussion. Shorter more frequent meetings can be a good way to segment a larger topic or project in a way that makes it more manageable, allowing the team to focus, digest, form ideas and plan follow up actions.
Always keep your cameras on! In an office setting body language, facial expression and other subtle visual clues will tell you who is listening, who is engaged, who probably disagrees but hasn’t voiced their opinion. Online meetings are no different although you may have to work harder to recognise the same visual information. Allowing your team to attend “sans camera” should never be an option. The best way to lead a conversation is by absorbing all of those visual signs.
The thoughts, ideas and individual voices of your team should be the reason you are meeting in the first place. If you are leading the meeting, support speakers, be empathic, actually listen to what they are saying and why they are saying it. Help them clarify an idea or broker the discussion between them and colleagues.
Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, make sure your meetings draw out the best from your team.