By Naveen Goyal, CEO, Adda52
This pandemic has stirred up a hornet’s nest, remote working has become mandatory in most of the organizations. It is worth noting how the people who once always longed for working from home are now missing office! Their desire to work from office is not a frivolous gimmick. In fact, it is a realization that makes sense.
Humans work efficiently when they build connections and have a sense of belonging to the organization. However, when working from home, this sense of connection and purpose seem to fade away. Thus, in these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever before to create meaningful connections with the teams and the best way to do that, beyond the shadow of a doubt, are – regular meet-ups. But since face-to-face meetings are no longer in question, leaders must strive to make the virtual meetings as meaningful as possible.
Let’s discuss a few ways in which you can run virtual meetings with your team, as effectively as the physical ones.
- Solid internet connection
Let’s start with something as basic as an internet connection. Unfortunately, for countries like India with huge population and maybe not that great infrastructure like other countries, securing a good internet connection can still be a challenge. You must make sure that you have a good internet connection. Video meets are essential but not every day. Try to keep one virtual video meet with the next line of leadership at least once a week. And remember, pay on time for uninterrupted services!
- Be on time
When you expect people to join a meeting from their homes, you might give them the flexibility to join at their own convenience, whether it is joining late or not being a part at all. But consider this meeting as nothing different from the meeting you conduct in office. So, set a time for the meeting and seek everyone’s confirmation. However, if someone rejects the meeting invite for a genuine reason, do not forget to check-in with him or her. However, once confirmed be on time as multiple re-scheduling can cause confusion.
- Learn virtual communication
While during face to face interactions, we can pick up non-verbal actions like facial expressions, tone of voice etc. it is usually missing in virtual communication. Hence, it is important to build up active listening. Focus entirely on the speaker and try not to interrupt. As a courtesy to the speaker be on mute when not speaking.
Choice of words is extremely important. Most of the times, the video might not be on (in order to save internet bandwidth) and hence, mere words could change the atmosphere of the meetings. Most successful leaders know what to speak and in what tone. When conversing via phone or chats, miscommunication is more likely to occur.
- Assign a moderator for the meeting
Always try to assign a moderator for the meeting who is well-versed in virtual communication. It is vital for one person to navigate the discussion. It is important to ask direct questions to a person rather than an open question. It is better if the moderator takes name of the person he is questioning to avoid any confusion. The moderator must summarize the discussion and repeat the action points for each individual. It is imperative to keep these meetings as short as possible since it is heavy on human mind. Try to be precise.
- Exchange the data before the meeting
Before the meeting, decide on the objectives for the meeting and exchange the required data pertaining to the agenda. Make sure you have seen the data and thought about it. This is specially true for finance and digital marketing discussions. In this way, you will be prepared for the meeting and would not sound clueless when the moderator points something out.
- Gather feedback from the team
Once the meeting is over, gather feedback from the team on the conduct of the meeting. For instance, once you are done with the meeting, discuss with your employees whether the objectives were met. Ask them how to improve the meetings and form stronger virtual connections.
From coordination to execution, it can be a challenge for the teams to not be able to work together for a long time. But even when you are working from home, it is important to maintain your work routine and stay in touch with your colleagues. Virtual meetings are the glue that keeps the team together. Thus, leaders must work hard towards maintaining virtual communications as effectively as possible.