On March 13, 2020, my career went virtual.
For 14 years, my business was primarily an “in-person” gig, with a high value on being with the people, doing life with the people, building relationships with the people. Overnight, we could not longer be with the people and we pivoted quickly to working 100% virtually.
It has been a big learning curve and more good has come out of it than I ever expected.
I hear many people have Zoom-fatigue, since that has become a primary mode of communication. Even Zoom CEO is quoted in the New York Post, saying that he is so tired of Zoom meetings.
I happen to actually really love the Zoom meetings that I participate in and I have learned a lot from really smart people on the do’s and don’t’s of Zoom (or other platforms for virtual meetings). (Thank you Darren Hardy and DSWA Co-Founder Grace Keohohou for leading the way. I have learned so much from both.)
If you are a leader facilitating the meeting or a participant, here are a few tips on how to do video meetings well. Maybe this will save you or others from yet another mind-numbing Zoom meeting.
“Etiquette - a fancy word for simple kindness.” - Elsa Maxwell
The etiquette of all participants can make or break a Zoom meeting. Nobody wants to waste their time, and breaking Zoom etiquette rules is a quick way to do that. People do things on Zoom they would never do at an in-person event, so apply all the same rules to virtual meetings. Identify “how you roll” as an organization and clearly communicate these expectations to your team. Here are our team’s top 6 rules of Zoom engagement:
1. Be on time. Duh, right? It can be a big distraction, especially to the host of the event, when people show up late. And if you are the leader/facilitator, start on time.
2. Be present in the moment. Multi-tasking kills brain cells. Literally. Set the time aside, just like you would for an in person meeting.
3. Turn your camera on (unless you would be breaking another etiquette rule). It is so much more engaging to see human faces moving, rather than black screens or profile pictures. And everyone wonders what the heck you are doing when your camera is turned off.
4. No eating (unless it is a group lunch and everyone is). We would rather not watch you chew and spill food on yourself.
5. Put your best face forward with appropriate attire, makeup, appearance, background and lighting. You can do all of this and still be in your PJ pants.
6. Be an active participant and engage in the chat. Avoid being a silent observer. Everyone has more fun and gets more out of it when the group is actively engaged.
“The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.” - Rick Warren
Have a clear purpose for the event and communicate it to those participating.
Write it down. Articulate the reason for meeting and the value people can expect to receive. When people see value, they will show up and engage.
Also communicate your agenda and timeframe.
“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.” - Arthur Schopenhauer
Don’t be boring.
Have a theme. Have props. Have music.
Have a mystery guest speaker.
Break up a long meeting with small breakout rooms.
Less is more, so do not drag it out longer than necessary.
Think of ways to engage your audience.
“Coaching is the universal language of change and learning.” - anonymous
Bring coaching into the experience.
Even the most world-class speakers and teachers only get about 20% retention from their audience. When you bring coaching into your training/meeting, retention goes up to 80% because people are engaged in the experience.
How do you bring coaching into the experience? Ask engaging questions that elicit participation and thinking. That’s it.
Even just a few reflection questions can enhance the experience.
Here’s to being effective and successful in this virtual world we live in.