In the second part of his series on creating successful remote meetings, communications expert Dr. Rick Brinkman describes 6 more hacks you can put into action today.
We’ve all been in remote meetings with dogs barking, pans clanging, water running in the background. Make sure people know how to mute themselves using the meeting software. Remind them to do so when they’re not speaking. If someone forgets in a virtual meeting, the organizer can do it — so don’t hesitate. In a conference call, people should use the mute function on their phones when they call in.
2. No Multitasking
In remote meetings it’s too easy for people to do other things. But if they’re multitasking, they’re not paying attention. Banish multitasking ahead of time by getting everyone’s agreement: in exchange for their full attention, the meeting will be more focused, and more gets done faster.
3. Webcams On
Create a WEBCAMS ON policy: it creates accountability and improves a feeling of connection. People stay focused and don’t multitask. Seeing people pay attention to what you say, nod in agreement or even roll their eyes communicates so much more than audio-only silence. It creates the welcome sense of a live conference room.
4. Flight Recording
In a virtual meeting, use the shared screen to record what people say so everyone can see it. By making the speaker’s ideas and point of view visible, it establishes that all ideas and viewpoints are important. It also depersonalizes the discussion so it’s not someone’s thoughts versus another’s, and keeps ideas from getting lost in the shuffle. When people can see all the factors of whatever they are discussing, this leads to what I call “holographic thinking,” a state of highly effective collaborating that results in more complete ideas and solutions.
After the call or meeting, email the notes to all participants. If the meeting was long and covered many different topics, break the notes out into separate emails with clearly labeled subject lines. This will increase follow-up after the meeting, and help people locate the notes again.
6. Goodbye Cacophony
At the meeting’s end, invite everyone to unmute themselves and say goodbye. A little cacophony gives people the feeling they have been together.
By building these hacks into your conference call or virtual meeting tips, you’ll impress participants — getting more done, at higher quality, and ending on time. Once people realize a meeting won’t drag on indefinitely, they will participate more enthusiastically … and come to future remote meetings better prepared and more engaged.
Dr. Rick Brinkman is a communications expert who teaches Conscious Communication® for leadership, teamwork, customer service, and effective meetings. Since 1987 he’s performed more than 4,000 programs in 17 countries, sharing his insights on human behavior and strategies for practical communication. Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst has been translated into 25 languages. His newest book is Dealing With Meetings You Can’t Stand: Meet Less and Do More.