Ever since we’ve all been forced into a business world where virtual, online meetings have become the norm, I’ve noticed from my coaching engagements that often the knee-jerk reaction to participating is to take a passive role versus an engaged one. And what I tell my clients is that being virtual is not being invisible; being virtual is being engaged. To do the former is akin to not being in the meeting at all and to do the latter makes you a valuable contributor to the meetings success. People will notice.
Below, I provide my rules to follow as you continue developing your virtual meeting skill….and a skill it most certainly is!
Six Rules to Virtual Engagement
1) Accept the meeting as a challenge.
Challenge yourself to be alacritous ( cheerfully engaged in the conversation) your enthusiasm enlivens others. Optimism is the new “cool”
Determine what you can add to the meeting that is positive, thoughtful, and prescient.
2) Create an agenda to share
Having an agenda actually controls the meeting or a portion of the meeting. Make sure your points are in their correct order.
3) Time it
First, find out from the meeting host how much time has been allocated for the meeting. Next, determine how much time you will be given so that you ensure you’re not running over the time. You don’t want to be the one who caused the meeting to run long or someone else’s time being cut. Set up your timer so you can see if you are on track or need to adjust so that you stay within your allotted time.
4) Know when to check-in
Plan how you’ll check in to confirm your contribution to the meeting. You need to know beforehand what will be expected of you. Contact the meeting organized and find out how much time you will have, what you will need to discuss, and what you will accomplish.
5) Don’t interrupt people/hijack the meeting
It seems so obvious yet, in some meetings I’ve participated in with others, certain people freely interrupt. It seems like it is even more easily done with virtual meetings and can really throw things off. Interruptions bifurcate the meeting and slow down the momentum of the meeting. Hold your points until you have the floor or can respectfully ask for it! Doing otherwise is selfish.
6) Own and assert your message
Hold yourself accountable to being accretive to the meeting. Do not pass up the opportunity to participate in portions of the conversation. Avoid drifting into silence. I’d rather you over engage than not at all, providing that your participation forwards the meeting. Go back to #5 to discover the difference!
All you and I ever wanted to do is help others and be a solution. Now is the time to bring everything you’ve got to any meeting. Your energy and enthusiasm will lift others who may feel lost, marginalized, and alone. Think about that. You can be a bridge to others’ full self-expression from your courage and confidence in the meeting. You’ve got nothing to lose. And, when you debrief with your superior explain this desire to him/her. It will enliven them!