6 ways to make virtual meetings more human

Make meetings shorter, leave time for open forums to make virtual more human.
August 11, 2020
Make virtual more human

Almost overnight, it seems, we’ve gone from thinking that working from home is good sometimes, to considering it the new normal.  Now it’s time to humanize the new workplace. Human resources managers are looking at ways to give people who work in virtual environments a greater sense of being connected that is so critical to their ability to be creative and productive.

The key, some say, is to come as close to face-to-face meetings as possible.   Until holograms and Star Trek-like transporters become features of virtual meetings, we need to find more practical solutions.

Here are some of my ideas:

1. Make video meetings shorter and more focused.

Make meetings tighter with a pre-set agenda and assigned roles of moderator, facilitator, and chat room host.  Make the best use of time and ensure everyone can speak and comment. 

2. Start meetings with a temperature check. 

Ask everyone to share verbally or in the chat box one word or phrase to describe how they are feeling that day.  Display the answers in a word cloud for all to see.  Track shifts in answers from meeting to meeting. 

3. Leave time for an open forum.

With tight agendas, meetings should end on time. Schedule an extra 15 minutes for post-meeting water cooler conversation about topics other than work.

4. Assign a word of the day. 

Taking a cue from Toastmasters Club meetings, pick an unusual word that needs to be used in context by everyone who speaks.  Applied properly, this technique drives attention and may even prompt a few laughs.  

5. Use props and objects. 

The use of relevant props to show and tell can be a great antidote to “Death by PowerPoint.” 

6. Annotate visual presentations and use whiteboard. 

Pointer and annotation tools allow presenters to highlight text and scribble comments on slides displayed as shared screens.  Similarly, whiteboard collaborations in real time create more hands-on interaction. Make use of these tools to grab attention and animate otherwise dull presentations.

To read more tips like these, visit my blog: https://rosemaryravinal.com/public-speaking-blog/

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Rosemary Ravinal

I teach business leaders how to shine on video calls and have more productive virtual engagement. As Founder/Chief Trainer at RMR Communications Consulting, I also help executives master the art of public speaking, inspiring presentations, and authoritative media interviews online and in person. My company’s services are available in English and Spanish in South Florida and elsewhere.

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Mondays with Mitch is fictional. It is a play on the global best seller Tuesdays with Morrie by renowned author Mitch Albom. I could not think of a title for this blog, so I resorted to parallel structure and alliteration to hook you in. Apologies for the confusion, but now that I have your attention, let me tell you what I learned from Mitch…and TED.

Rosemary Ravinal

Let me help you speak, engage, and persuade like a pro in person and online in English and Spanish.

Your success in the new normal of work depends on how well you navigate virtual and in-person communication.

Your success in the new normal of work depends on how well you navigate virtual and in-person communication.

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