When others join:
- Run through your agenda/intention
- Establish what they want to achieve from the conversations as well as sharing your intention. • Establish how long do you each have?
- Ensure you check in on their general wellbeing and mood. Whilst not asking directly, we can understand if people are pre-occupied or ready for the conversation. Many people are finding the current restrictions on life very stressful. This can be particularly so if you have vulnerable loved ones who you can’t visit. If you are extroverted you may not like the constraint “social distancing” imposes on you.
- Keep checking in with everyone throughout the call – it helps them stay present to the conversation and lessens the likelihood that people are multitasking on their phones
o How are you?
o Any questions/concerns?
- Don’t try to do too much in one meeting. Whilst these sessions can be very focused, people may not want to be on them for long periods of time. Put in breaks if you want to run for more than 1.5 hours. When training, the maximum time on line is about 3 hours but you do need breaks.
- At the end, summarise action points and circulate notes to confirm them including details on who has agreed to do what.
“As an introvert, I’m quite liking this!”
I’ve heard this said a few times recently and it makes me smile. Our use of open plan offices, the volume of devices all alerting you to new demands and requests isn’t to everyone’s liking. For an introvert, having space in a quiet room at home with no-one walking up to them with questions, no meetings to go to can be bliss. However, even introverts want to feel connected, be in the loop and have enough information to feel they are not missing critical information and communication.
Our job as leaders is to make this as easy for them as for others. Focus your intention on being a fantastic facilitator by hearing from and engaging all involved, whilst still holding the context and the timings (unless you donate this activity to another person of course) front and centre.
In office life, you wouldn’t dream of going to a face to face meeting without being properly prepared for it. The same applies to your virtual meetings, maybe even more so. If you want to make sure that the use of everyone’s time is maximised and that you achieve the results you require, then a little bit of thought beforehand goes a long way to ensuring success.
About Diane Chappell
With a background in organisational development, Diane spent 20 years consulting into global organisations designing and leading programmes to enable leaders engage people in complex transformation and change programmes. Now based near Bath, she continues to coach senior leaders in global organisations, often virtually, through her own consultancy Curiositas Leadership Limited. In addition to executive coaching Diane offers leadership development and high stakes facilitation services using her Curiositas Method.