Get Good At Meeting Online – Top tips, notes and reflections…

Get Good® At Meeting Online by Lee Jackson – Top tips, videos, notes and reflections.

What has changed now we meet mainly online?
The delivery mechanism, we are all TV presenters now! The rules have changed.
The intensity of video (30% more tiring than a face-to-face meeting) aka ‘Zoom gloom’, do you remember how we all used Zoom in lockdown one for lots of family gatherings? We slowed down when we realised that it is tiring.
Our backgrounds are now important – find a nice space or blank wall in your home for video meetings and be aware of your lighting too.

What hasn’t changed?
Good preparation + interaction = a successful meeting.
We are still relational beings. “People buy from people”.

Key points to remember
Just because you are saying something doesn’t mean that it is being taken in.
Tame your technology – test it all with a colleague, leave nothing to chance.
“Eye level is buy level” – Get your webcam/camera to your eye level.
Looking into the lens is the equivalent of giving eye contact to your colleagues.
If you use notes then put them near to the lens or stuck to the laptop screen.
Reminder: your job is not to go to meetings. It is to make things happen.
Limit email discussion after a meeting, email is not designed for that purpose.
Your job is also not just to do email, so keep them brief and to the point.
Always keep the purpose of your role and your teams at the forefront.

In-meeting tips – how to encourage people to be present in meetings…
Fundamentally – attention spans wane over time. More so online.
Video on or off. That is the big question – switch it on for engagement
People who attend and switch off their video for more than a few minutes are usually not present and are multi-tasking…
Sadly, multitasking is one of Neuroscience’s greatest myths. It simply doesn’t happen. We just switch tasks. It is good to remind colleagues of this.
Smile more than normal. I have a grumpy resting face, do you?
Sit down to meet but stand up to present, it changes your physiology and gives you and your presentation more energy and engagement.
Use voting systems like ‘Ahaslides’, ‘Menti’, ‘Slido’ etc. to encourage interactivity and to do anonymous polling.
Use people’s names when discussing i.e. “Sarah, what do you think about…?”
Please mute and unmute quickly, to save us all some time!

Structuring meetings
Plan what you’re going to say and say it concisely, we need to be more concise in online meetings.
Have gaps in between work meetings. If not you/they will start to burn out.
Write a short agenda and keep the agenda moving along.
Agree your action points and own them.
Wrap up on time, allowing extra post-meeting chat if agreed to.

The Big Question…what is your organisations meeting culture?
We need a new set of eyes to see our workplace culture, ask people to visit.
Culture creep is very real. You may not have noticed the small changes to your culture and values that have crept in over the months and years.
Ask “why do we do things like this?” And ask it often.
You set the meeting culture. So, start on time, end on time, set the tone.
Why not share some good news at the beginning of the meeting to help the tone?
Add up the hours being used in your meetings – respect people’s times.
A 15-minute focused meeting is better than a 60-minute rambling meeting.
Zoom without a pro licence has a 40-minute limit. That is a handy guide for us.
If a meeting could be an email. It is not a meeting. Aim for interaction.
Allow people to leave if they’ve done ‘their bit’ – release them!
PowerPoint/Visuals. Death By PowerPoint is bad on or offline! Make them big, bold and interesting. Switch your slides on and off. Mix it up.
Social interaction + relationships are so important. So set up those things separately or make the meetings start earlier for some social interaction.
If you are making meeting culture changes. Discuss them with your team and make those changes well, you may not get full agreement though – that’s ok.

Going deeper – discussion Q’s – setting the right values, behaviour and culture…
Where have you failed in your meetings recently? Be honest, not personal.
What is unhealthy about your online meeting culture?
What could you implement to help meetings be better – now, in the next few days, or in the next few weeks?
Could you agree to choose three lengths of meetings? i.e. 15/40/60 minutes
And finally – remember we are online more because of a global pandemic, so be kind, be transparent, and look out for each other.

Further reading:
https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-surprising-science-behind-successful-remote-meetings/

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/07/08/future-work-good-challenging-unknown/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2020/07/16/three-cures-for-virtual-meeting-fatigue-according-to-new-microsoft-research/?sh=1fd1543be6d1 

https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-it-takes-to-run-a-great-virtual-meeting

Videos:

Further links and videos: https://leejackson.org/get-good-at-meeting-online
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