6 ways to make virtual meetings more human

 In Executive Communications, Presentation Skills, Video Conferences, Video Meeting Management

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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