Lead them in such a way that really exciting thoughts are exchanged

Virtual meetings can cut traveling and radically reduce expenditure of time for team members. Used in the right way, they really boost effectivity; used wrongly, they turn into a plain pain for everyone involved. With this practical guide, you will have a good recipe for avoiding pitfalls and making the most of teleconferences for your team.

Boost workplace interactions

The new generational organizations (agile, teal, holocracy) share a key to success: multidisciplinary teams with more real-time, transparent and intense communication across the members of that community.

The working methods in these companies promote speedy and frequent communication across different teams, resulting in an increased number of interactions. In today’s meeting-intense world, it is essential to participate in virtual meetings and use them right!

Boon and bane of online meetings

Meetings with online tools don’t have to be boring. Virtual communication serves as an opportunity to involve team members who often stay silent in the meeting room, like introverts or less talkative people, by attaching less importance to physical appearance and rhetoric skills. Using text-based tools during a call at the right time – like whiteboards, online idea boards or voting – is an effective way to share power and decision-making by allowing all participants sufficient time to think and phrase their ideas. On the downside, the absence of nonverbal and visual cues reduces the efficiency of transmitting information radically – lowering it to only seven percent, like* – hence, talking virtually is often seen as a makeshift solution and is usually only used with remote teams. In modern organizations, people work in several and often remote teams, so it is essential to overcome the limitations and exploit the opportunities virtual communication provides for you.

Manage virtual communication

To get into a productive meeting culture, a first step could be to have a dialogue and agreement – not just within, but also across teams – about the rules you all want to follow in virtual meetings. After laying down the basic rules, proceed with discussing how to get the most out of teleconferences, sharing best practices, tips and tricks. In the matrix of available communication tools (e-mail, chat, personal, web, etc.) and the intended effect of communication, where do you place teleconferences? Repeat this exercise for other virtual communication channels that are in use in your company and build an effective, consistent communication culture in the virtual space!

The dos and don’ts of online meetings

Dos and Don'ts of Online Meetings - Before, during and after the meeting.

*) »The Mehrabian communication model in An Approach to Environmental Psychology« Albert Mehrabian and James A. Russell; MIT Press; 1974
Image: Chainarong Chokrung, source: 123RF