Virtual Meetings are by no means a new way to communicate. Zoom (ZM) was founded in 2011, years before COVID worked its way around the Globe. Other platforms such as Google Meet, Skype, and Microsoft Teams had also been around for many years before the shift from in-person to virtual meetings.
While these services may not have been classified as disruptive innovation before COVID, their uses in our daily lives would suggest otherwise. Over 95% of communication is nonverbal, so it can be challenging to communicate with your audience effectively with such rapid adoption of unfamiliar technology.
Here are five steps to take to ensure you get the most out of your virtual meetings.
Step 1: Help Your Team Prepare
It can feel ambitious to go deep. With the absence of many nonverbal cues, it can be challenging to be confident that your audience understands the message you are trying to convey.
One way to avoid this is to post the agenda before the meeting begins. Then, provide enough time for your audience to prepare for topics they may typically heavily rely on nonverbal communication to convey.
Step 2: Be Engaging
At Innovation Junkie, we sit in many virtual meetings. We are leading some of these meetings, and we are participants in others.
Virtual meetings with lots of engaging dynamics are critical for both the meeting leader and participants. Engage your audience with something as small as offering praise to a team member for a good week’s work or something as tactical as an in-meeting survey.
Step 3: Be Open To Suggestions
If you spend much time with the Innovation Junkie team, you know that we are constantly improving. We accomplish this by understanding that no one has a perfect system, and the more open we are to feedback, the better our organization becomes.
When hosting a virtual meeting, be open to suggestions on how to improve by fostering an environment of continuous improvement, allowing others to share their thoughts and observations without fear of repercussions.
Step 4: Give Grace
While we have been in this era of virtual for some time, I still find myself lost at times due to the lack of nonverbal communication. Of all the virtual meetings and events I’ve participated in when I’ve needed grace, I’ve received it. This is a form of leadership that can at times go unnoticed, but it can be a potent tool if used judiciously.
Step 5: Allow for Light-Hearted Moments
The old adage, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” also applies virtually. I’ve found that allowing for light-hearted moments to happen can set the stage for open communication in any kind of meeting.
If you’re leading a team meeting, begin by honoring someone on your team for their exceptional work or attitude. Then, allow other team members to recognize each other for ways they acted out the company values in their daily work over the past week.