Despite unexpected roadblocks, businesses across the globe have evolved to find a new normal. Even across wildly different industries, teams have adopted innovative technologies to help us operate as a digital workplace—Zoom. Video conferencing has become second nature, as it’s now a tool that many use daily. Though we’ve gotten used to consistent Zoom calls and remote-work etiquette, we are ready to move beyond the basics. So, let’s take our Zoom skills to the next level. In this post, we will discuss three ways to improve your team’s virtual meetings.
Design your Virtual MeetingThink of your meeting as a play—every cast member has a role to play, no matter how big or how small, to ensure that the meaning is clearly conveyed. All cast members rely on one another to fulfill these specific roles to make certain the whole thing goes off without a hitch. What should your cast look like? Several key roles include the following:
- The Moderator—It’s important that a team member keeps things moving along, ensuring that all important agenda topics are addressed.
- The Facilitator—The planner, the person to ensure that all key team members are included and all schedules are coordinated to optimize the meeting time.
- The Notekeeper and Timekeeper—It goes without saying these are important roles. Meeting notes should always be readily available for long-term reference.
- The “Yoda”—Every good play has its fair share of quirky characters! The Harvard Business Review recommends appointing a person to “cut to the chase” or “acknowledge the elephant in the room.” This will ensure an amount of candor that is vital to meeting productivity.
Meld the Personal with the ProfessionalPrior to the pandemic era, most professionals might have mentioned small-talk or chit-chat as one of the least favorable parts of a business meeting. We get it. It might have felt a little out of place to hear Dave from IT talk about his new stir fry recipe or Michelle from HR’s kids’ Halloween costumes. But, we are living in a different world where isolation has become pervasive and work productivity and team morale have taken a hit. Humans are intensely social beings, and it doesn’t serve us well to primarily communicate with a screen rather than faces. We often struggle to re-calibrate our communication methods. Many have also reported feeling a lack of purpose and accountability without a physical workspace and coworkers. Therefore, initial meeting chit-chat has now become a life-buoy of sorts, a micro-equivalent of a team retreat. Try including a quick personal/professional check-in at the beginning of your Zoom meetings to help overcome isolation and build camaraderie.
Get Comfortable (But, Not Too Comfortable)So, maybe we were willing to overlook the poor lighting, weird camera angles, and background-Zoom-bloopers within the first few months of our new virtual workspace; but now, we are seasoned Zoomers, and it’s time to show it. If you’re anything like us, there was definitely an initial thrill of discreetly wearing sweatpants during the usual team meetings. However, with quarantine-fatigue running rampant, dressing for a face-to-face work environment has been shown to steadily increase productivity and motivation for virtual employees. Here are some additional tips to improve your appearance and increase your motivation:
- Turn on your camera whenever possible.
- Test any technical issues 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
- Review the agenda prior to the meeting, taking personal speaking notes.
- Dress and conduct your facial expressions as though the meeting were face to face.