As meeting professionals adjust to the new way of doing business while social distancing, helping teams stay creative, collaborative and connected in their virtual meeting places has become a required skill. Going digital is a big pivot for many companies. The following techniques and best practices will help businesses decrease their time in transition and increase their productivity over broadband.
See also: COVID-19: Tips and Tools for Remote Work
1. Turn on Your Video
In a recent study, 74 percent of meeting participants felt that decisions reached through videoconferencing felt more like joint decisions than those reached via phone or email. That might be because two thirds of communication is non-verbal. When you remove the visual cues, you have reduced our ability to have impact by 66 percent.
Video also a powerful way to humanize your message and show you’re listening, meaning you can be more persuasive and empathetic. It also provides an easy way for participants to signal when they have something to add, meaning less crosstalk and more clarity.
2. Call People by Name
Seriously, use names. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how often we take this for granted in the real world. (Virtual meetings even give you an edge here, because you can see the name on each person on screen during the call.)
Better yet, comment on people’s non-verbal cues. If some just laughed at your dad joke, respond. “Looks like I got a smile out of Sam,” or “I see Claud shaking their head in agreement.” This helps everyone feel seen and underscores that they aren’t alone.
3. Show, Don’t Tell
Our favorite way to keep people engaged is with real-time visuals. Think about when you would go to a bar or restaurant that has televisions on the wall. How easy is it to get distracted by what’s playing, even if you wouldn’t otherwise be interested?
Visuals command attention, and it’s the same in the virtual meeting space. Digitally graphic recording a meeting allows a live capture of notes to be streamed to all participants. It can be shared during or after your meeting as a way to recap key conversations. These illustrated notes keep people engaged, aligned and moving forward.
Nora Herting is co-founder and CEO of ImageThink. She has more than a decade of experience as a facilitator, educator and visual strategist, and has led transformations for some of the world’s biggest brands. She is also the author of Draw Your Big Idea. She offers more tips on her blog, and in a free webinar: Elevating Virtual Meetings.