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Three things I've learned about how to lead great virtual meetings

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
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Three things I've learned about how to lead great virtual meetings

“We're all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”
-Rudyard Kipling, The Light That Failed -

Recently, because of COVID 19, millions of people around the world have been thrust, unwillingly, into the world of leading virtual meetings in a way not dissimilar to the way that I was introduced to swimming, many years ago: chucked in at the deep end. Over the past few weeks we have watched, amazed, as some have adapted effortlessly, merely continuing to interact as they already have been doing for years. Others, and you may find yourself in this position, continue to struggle mightily right up to the point of failure.

We've been delivering both in person and virtual meetings for many years, engaging directly with a total of more than 20,000 people in the process. Most recently, for obvious reasons, we’ve been engaging with our clients exclusively in the online world. Of course, like many others, our learning curve has had its share of zig zags. Here are three things I’ve learned about how to lead great virtual meetings:

1. It’s not a meeting, it’s a sandwich

Think of a good meeting like a sandwich. The meat is the meeting. The two pieces of bread? Preparation for, and follow up from, that meeting. Of course, everyone knows that to have a great meeting you should prepare thoroughly to ensure maximum engagement. In our experience, however, preparation is frequently the mushiest part of the meeting sandwich. For virtual meetings, we find that the most important part of the ‘meeting sandwich’ is the preparation and up-front engagement part otherwise you can lose people, mentally and/or physically, even before the meeting even starts. Some preparation activities you should consider include: interview participants beforehand to ensure they understand the purpose of the meeting and solicit input to the agenda, ensuring that everyone has the right technology and that it works well for them, and send out materials beforehand then ensure they have been received and understood. We’ve all heard the maxim ‘prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance’ and, in the case of virtual meetings, this is more of a golden rule.

2. Facilitate, don’t dictate

We all know what a meeting dictator looks and sounds like. Dominating the conversation from the start, the meeting dictator marches through their agenda, treating it more like they’re giving orders for a military operation than an opportunity to involve everyone in some important mutual problem solving. In a virtual world, meeting participants have far more choice about how, and even if, they choose to engage in meetings. Should you choose to adopt a facilitative posture from the outset, and come armed with more questions than orders, you will likely see much more involvement, engagement and innovation than you might otherwise. Top Tip: if you’ve never facilitated before either get some help to learn how, or bring in a skilled facilitator, otherwise you’ll find that, over time, fewer and fewer people will be available for your virtual meetings.

3. Elicit servant leadership

Like golf, with virtual meetings, most (even us!) will readily admit that they aren’t that great. Being consciously incompetent e.g., ‘I know I’m not too good at this but will give it a shot’ is the perfect learning posture that will help enlist empathy and support, right from the outset. This openness gives all participants a chance to help to make the experience a successful one, for everyone. And in this mode, we all have the opportunity move from a directive, into a service, role which, of course, is the fundamental building block of that most effective of all leadership methodologies: servant leadership.

www.berlineaton.com
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
Reaction score
821
Points
910
dapaterson said:
Every video conference ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMOOG7rWTPg

Just like Dave - or me :) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQcPm9QqmXw
 
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