by Mariana Freire, McLuhan & Davies Communications, Inc.
After a few months navigating through this pandemic, our work environment continues to shift, and remote meetings continue to take a major role in our day-to-day lives. Putting this trend into numbers, Microsoft has seen 2.7 billion meeting minutes experienced in Microsoft Teams in one single day, and that’s just one of the platforms used.
This radical shift has proven that a lot can be accomplished remotely, however, many people are now experiencing zoom fatigue and claiming that online meetings are getting tedious, draining and unproductive. How can we make this increased use of technology for team interactions more engaging, collaborative, and effective?
1. Plan ahead
Prepare a concise agenda with key items to be covered and share it with your team before the meeting. This allows participants to reflect on what is going to be discussed, formulate questions, and make better use of everyone’s time. Get savvy and leverage video, polls, whiteboards and chats to work in your favour. Make sure you know how to use the platform well, practice and have a plan B in case anything goes wrong.
2. Help your team feel connected
As a leader, you play a key role in helping participants feel comfortable with the virtual environment and connected as a team. Breaking the ice before the meeting starts, acknowledging everyone’s presence and checking in with them personally to see how they are doing will make a big difference. At the end, thank participants for their time and show appreciation for their contribution. This will bring people together.
3. Boost Collaboration
Make the meeting more inclusive by encouraging active and frequent participation. Allocate some time in the agenda to ask members for their input and share potential solutions for a business challenge. Give team members a task for the meeting to keep them engaged. For instance, you can have someone taking notes, or recapping action items in the end, or even assign a member to be the “agenda-cop” to ensure the team doesn’t go off track and sticks with the agenda. This will help them stay engaged and active during the meeting.
Technology is unquestionably shaping our relationships and the way we work as a team. A more engaging meeting is often a more productive one.
We hope these tips will help you plan your next online meeting, improve remote contribution and achieve better outcomes.
McLuhan and Davies Communications Inc. specializes in Business Communication Skills Training. For over 35 years, we have helped thousands of professionals transform how they think, write, speak and – lead. As a leader in the Learning & Development industry we provide workshops, webinars and consulting services to transform individual skills and organizations’ learning solutions.