Recently, I was part of a hybrid meeting where conversation incorporated looking back at covid challenges and looking forward to ways we might work in the future. Those of us who chose to be online mostly did so in order to avoid being in a crowded room.
To some of us, it feels like “the end of covid” is nowhere in sight.
One of the most interesting parts of the conversation, to me, was about adaptability and collaboration. Humans crave connection, and we seek ways to build it into our lives when it’s absent.
Sometimes, my online work feels easier and more successful than work I used to do in the room with clients, and other times it feels like I’m comparing apples and oranges - our interactions and how I design them can be that different. One specific way in which my online facilitations are better is that it has become much easier for me to incorporate visuals into our work, using icons and images found online or within a given whiteboard...
In January 2020, we’d heard of coronavirus.
In February, we’d heard it was spreading - still, it seemed, on the other side of the world.
In March, everything started to shut down. On March 30, the governor of my state (Virginia) announced a shelter-in-place order - no one should be leaving their house except for essentials.
In January, I wrote a series about how to run great meetings. We covered purpose, timing, acting like a good host, and conflict.
Now it’s time to revisit that with best practices for virtual meetings.
Online Meeting, Same Priorities
Most of what I’ve previously written about still applies:
When you first decide to hold a meeting, get crystal clear on the point of the meeting - what is the purpose? The goal? Are they the same or different? Tell people! Do not keep this to yourself.
Does this really have to be a meeting, or should it be an email? Internet memes aside, most of us would prefer to avoid a videoconference for work...
We all feel like we spend too much of our precious time in meetings. Too often, the weekly and daily meetings expected of us at work drain us of energy, after interrupting us from never-ending task lists.
What would it mean to you if the meetings you participated in provided energy and purpose and direction, rather than just being a big energy suck?
The next time you get to plan a work meeting, avoid adding to employee dis- or un- engagement. Put some effort into make your meeting productive. This is the third post in a series of four about how to run better meetings at work. The topics we’re covering are:
Considering timing (this post!); and,
Today we’ll focus on the idea of timing. There are two, complementary ways to think about the timing of meetings: there’s getting the meeting scheduled, and then there’s amount of time needed for the meeting.
Getting the meeting scheduled
Like it or not, humans are social creatures. Whenever we gather together for any purpose, we like to feel included. That means feeling welcomed into a space, knowing the names of the people around us, and understanding why we are all gathered together. When you run a meeting at work, it will never hurt you to behave as though you’re welcoming people into your home!
Let’s face it: Meetings that aren’t productive can contribute to employees feeling unengaged or disengaged. But meetings can be productive, especially when you use a little emotional intelligence and give some thought to how you’re going to run the meeting and what people might experience during the meeting.
This is the second post in a series of four about how to run better meetings at work. The topics we’re covering are:
Acting like a host (this post!);
Considering timing; and,
Most modern workers have to be in meetings at least...
You know this: When work meetings aren’t productive, you run the risk of wasting time and contributing to employee disengagement and unhappiness. The truth is, meetings can be productive; they can even contribute to enhancing employee engagement.
This is the third post in a series of four about how to run better meetings at work. The topics we’re covering are:
Purpose (this post!);
Considering timing; and,
Most modern workers have to be in meetings at least some of the time; this series is in part inspired by this podcast that posits ways to turn meetings from sources of dread and drain into sources of productivity and energy.
When I started to study happiness back in 2015, I was struck by the definition used by researchers: Happiness is not just the subjective feeling of joy and/or well-being, it’s that mixed with a sense of purpose, meaning, or that you’re participating in something...
Most of us spend a lot of hours in meetings of all kinds. A friend of mine has repeatedly complained,
“I can’t get any work done. I have too many meetings!”
Unproductive meetings can contribute to employees feeling disengaged or unengaged; so running a good, productive meeting is one step toward increasing employee engagement.
This post is the first in a series of four covering ways to make meetings more productive. The topics we’ll cover include:
Considering timing; and,
Preparing for the potential of conflict (this post!).
We’re tackling the last point first today. We’re all human; we all have emotions; and meetings typically feel like interruptions into our day. This means the potential for disengagement or conflict is relatively high. Hopefully my future posts (hosting, purpose, timing) will help prevent or resolve disengagement in your meetings. For today, let’s focus on preparing for the...
I’m currently designing several trainings centered on emotional intelligence, empathy, and managing people. My biggest challenge is that most trainings are time-constrained - for instance, I just finished an outline for a 90-minute training to cover emotional intelligence, empathy, and active listening in the workplace.
90 minutes! with 4 activities!
That does not leave a lot of time for people to interact with each other, or with me as the instructor. Yet no one wants an instructor who robotically drones on, trying to fill as many facts and ideas as possible into a specific time, expecting you to either take notes at her pace or just remember everything she says - and only says once.
Trainings are meetings
The thing is, trainings are meetings. You bring a group of people into a room, and you expect them to leave either having learned something or made a decision about something. Everyone’s time is limited, especially today with so many distractions vying for our...
Ever hear someone complain that they can’t get anything done because “I’m in meetings all day!”
Hanging out with friends is one thing – no one really wants a plan or an agenda if you just want to spend time with people you like. But work is different. Everyone has the same goal (or complementary goals) – to do a good job, to make money, to provide a service, to sell to customers. Work meetings should move everyone closer to the goal, not farther from it.
So how do you make your meetings useful?
Know your purpose.
Notice I did not say “topic.” Anyone can have a topic. That’s just the thing we’re talking about. In contrast, “purpose” implies a goal. There is a reason that people need to have an in-person conversation about, well, whatever the topic may be. What is everyone trying to accomplish together? How will this meeting make it happen? That’s your goal.
Only invite necessary people.