Feel like you’ve been in lockdown forever? Tired of the relentless online meetings? We don’t blame you. So to help you, Kerry Leigh has put together her survival guide, keeping you connected, motivated and fully aware that no one needs to see your knickers.
Online meetings have their perks and their downsides. There’s no commute, nobody knows if you haven’t brushed your teeth and you’re perfectly entitled to wear pyjamas bottoms if the mood takes you.
But, on the other hand, it would be nice to be in a room with another human occasionally, so you can actually smell each other and have a full conversation without saying, ‘you’re on mute’, which isn’t even funny anymore.
Right now, however, that’s not an option. Moreover, some of us have been doing online meetings for so long that we’re getting stuck in a pattern of ‘just getting through them’. So, embrace your growth mindset and welcome the challenge of spicing up your connections with our survival guide.
Energy and Connection
Remember to smile in your online meetings and ask people how they are. Take the time to listen too, before you get stuck into the content. Working from home means we’re missing out on the small interactions that peppered our days before lockdown - chats at the coffee machine or catch ups on the commute. We need these interactions to keep us connected and motivated.
If you have the ability and the space, consider standing up too, particularly if you’re hosting the meeting. It can really bring a new energy to your meeting and keep those who are watching involved and engaged.
We’re not here to tell you how to dress or how your décor should look. We can leave that to the presenters on Interior Design Masters, which I managed to stomach for about ten minutes recently - people were actually crying about paint colour!
Anyway, it’s your home so it’s in your taste and furnished how you like it. Just avoid anything that might give your colleagues a bit of a ‘brain fart’. For example, knickers on the radiator can be a bit distracting, as can a poster where we can’t quite read the writing. We therefore spend half the online meeting trying to decipher it, instead of listening to you.
When we’re not in the office, we can sometimes let timings slip. Set expectations, including when the online meeting will end and stick to it. People have bladders to empty, doors to answer and other meetings to go to.
It’s also worth turning up early. Computers are temperamental beasts and finding out yours isn’t in the mood, one minute before the meeting, isn’t great. If you log in at least ten minutes before, you can then always nip off for a wee or a brew if you happen to get in smoothly.
You may also get unexpectedly interrupted by a pet/partner/child/delivery driver. That’s okay. Pretending it’s not happening is just weird.
Ask yourself why you’re having this meeting. Is it to explain, introduce, challenge or collaborate? A good meeting is one that everybody takes part in, rather than just turning up to. It requires effort and interaction, so have questions ready and get your listening ears on. If the contents of the meeting can be delivered in a quick email, try that instead. Zoom fatigue is real.
Today I was thrilled to discover in Zoom settings that I can choose to have a moustache! If facial hair isn't your bag, you could try using breakout rooms, an icebreaker, humour or a physical activity. If you need support with online delivery, our Creative Facilitation workshop can help too.
And, if it doesn’t quite work out as planned, chances are no one will die or get the sack. Either way, you’ve done something that sparks conversation and engagement.
You can’t ask for more than that!