While a lot of the strangeness of working remotely starts to become more familiar, the shaping of the new normal is a real focus point for us. We are sharing our thoughts now on what is working for us and what is not and what we want to bring forward and what we want to discard forever. Crisis has always been a catalyst for change and the Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated change at a significant level on how we are working together, not least of all in our meetings.

 

The virtual team meeting is up for a lot of discussion and the word on the web is that it has become a forum of frustration for lot of home workers. From my discussions with clients it seems that Video Team Meetings in the shape of Team meets, Zoom or Google Hangouts are set to recur at least weekly in everyone’s calendars and they rarely have an agenda. They might have a title like ‘Team Check In’ or ‘Update’ but other than that there is no real sense of their purpose.

 

Managing meetings is a skill, most of the meeting leaders already have this skill and have proven their prowess in the office meeting room for years. Why then in their transition to the web meeting have they lost their know-how along the way ?

Yes there are few additional technical points to consider and you might need to upskill yourself on screen sharing, polling the group, breakouts and the valuable skill of muting participants but other than that  please do not lose the clarity of;

  • Why we are having the meeting, and why is it important to spend this hour together (if indeed it needs to be an hour)
  • Who needs to be here and what input is required,
  • what are we trying to get out of this meeting?

 

In his book High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way @ Brendon Burchard gives a steer on the do’s & don’t’ s of meetings;

 

Agendas;

Productive meetings often have one-sentence agendas like, “Determine the product launch date,” or “Select software developer for database redesign.”

No meeting agenda should include words like “information,” “recap,” “review,” or “discussion.”

 

Information; Share it before the meeting.

If you need to make a decision during a meeting, shouldn’t the group have the information they need ahead of time? Send documents, reports, etc., to participants in advance. Holding a meeting to share information is a terrible intention: It’s unproductive, wastes everyone’s time, and it’s lazy.

These are just basic insights really but it’s good to revisit them. Great meetings result in decisions: What. Who. When. It shouldn’t matter too much if that meeting is in a virtual room, should it?