The swift changeover to remote working and virtual meetings was initially surprisingly successful – particularly for our own internal meetings at Logico.
During the first two months of lockdown our whole team was working remotely, meeting three times a week, first thing in the morning to check-in, go through the traffic list and raise any items requiring collaborative effort.
We were pleased to see our teammates and were punctual, present, co-operative and purposeful. The meetings were short and highly productive and we were quick to appreciate the facility to share a document on screen and provide instant feedback, adapt and fine-tune it there and then, with input from the team.
When we checked in, we put our webcams on, which was connecting and created empathy for those with young children, who were balancing working life with the demands of a busy household.
With the Return to Work under Alert Level 3, we have colleagues working from the office on rotation. It is interesting to note that our meetings have lost the sharp focus we achieved in the previous months, due to the usual office distractions – late arrivals, phone calls, deliveries, etc, and they are just not as connecting. It is calling on us to introduce guidelines.
We also attend some regular client virtual meetings, where the number of participants is much larger and clients keep their webcams off and are learning the meaning of virtual meeting – and screen fatigue. The agendas are long, the audio quality is variable, discussion is not always on point and not seeing people’s faces limits our ability to engage and sense reaction and response.
My suggested guideline for successful virtual meetings is:
- Use video and keep cameras on especially at the check-in to create a welcome and engaging space.
- Ask participants to test their audio ahead of the meeting.
- Have an agenda with time allocations.
- Prepare for the meeting by sharing the agenda and any presentations beforehand.
- Ensure that presentations are kept short.
- Share presentations on screen to guide the conversation – but use the meeting to generate discussion, raise issues and get feedback to help you make decisions.
- Assign a meeting facilitator to prevent anyone from dominating the discussion by giving them a time limit and calling on others to contribute their views.
- Let’s also get feedback after the meeting so that we can all evolve and improve our practice.