Video calls. The communication Marmite. Love them or loathe them, chances are, as a professional, you have to use them - especially in the current climate.
Meeting in person just isn’t always practical, and we’re lucky enough to live in an age that allows us to move our meetings online. But, without face to face contact, banter or biscuits, it can be hard to stay engaged. Here are a few tips to help you out.
Change Up Your Background.
Whether it’s changing the place you’re calling from, or uploading a fancy graphic on Zoom or Teams - changing up your background is a fun and easy way to mix things up. Call from a quiet coffee shop, or create your dream working environment in Canva. You could pretend to be anywhere. Beach, anyone?
Set an agenda.
And stick to it. If everyone is aware of the course of the meeting, they’re more likely to stay engaged. Be sure to include any coffee breaks, discussions or time to chit-chat, too. It’ll ensure everyone is on the same page, and stops any rambling (thank god.)
‘Check One Two Three’.
Why not implement a one, two three check at the beginning of every meeting?
One: Is everyone present?
Two: Can everyone see and be seen?
Three: Can everyone hear and be heard?
Many people find it difficult to speak up when they’re having trouble with technology, so create a designated moment, and you’ll be right as rain. It’ll prevent any awkward latecomers, too.
Keep things fresh with a fresh face. If applicable, try creating a meeting rota, with a different member of staff facilitating the meeting every time. Hold them responsible for planning and putting together an agenda, as well as leading the actual call. Each person will have a different approach, which means a different style of meeting every time. How exciting.
Up for debate.
Icebreakers help to, well... break the ice.
But are they as engaging as they could be? We love debates. About anything. Pick a different topic for each meeting, and get your team talking. It kickstarts conversation in a fun, personable way, ensuring everyone feels comfortable speaking up later on.
Try to stay away from work-related discussions. Quieter, or less experienced members of staff are likely to feel overwhelmed, and might not contribute. But biscuits? We’ll defend our favourite to the bitter end (bourbons all the way.)
Video calls take away the post-meeting chatter. Whether it’s a debrief with a colleague on the way back to your desk or a quiet mutter about a distinct lack of bourbons, it’s nice to get it off your chest. Try to recreate this experience with a follow-up. Send an email, or plan for a ten-minute chat after the meeting ends. It allows a few minutes for your colleagues to relax, and you might even get some feedback along the way.