Make Your Online Meeting More Social
Video conferencing, with the many advantages it offers, is fast becoming one of the most in-demand applications in the new age of communication technology. Here are some of those advantages:
Travel cost savings. According to The Future of Business Collaboration blog, organizations that have integrated video conferencing into their unified communication systems or basic communication platform has seen a 30 percent savings in travel costs and expenses. That number will probably go up as systems become more sophisticated and the comfort level of users grows.
Collaboration. Video conferencing helps create the perfect collaborative environment. Loaded with features, the Blue Jeans Network online video conference, for one, has your every communication need covered. Blue Jeans is designed with a ton of sharing features (content sharing, video sharing, screen sharing, zoom capability) especially suited to assist and promote team collaborations.
Productivity. Modern Servant Leader reports on how productivity is hampered by as much as 40 percent whenever your employees find themselves switching from one task to another. Multitasking is a myth, if not a genuine skill that few people have. So for those short meetings, why not shave off another 15 to 30 minutes off that by going for a teleconference or virtual meeting instead? This way, your employees won’t have to lock their computers, get up, and shuffle into the room for a short discussion. Because then, they’ll have to shuffle back out, reboot their computers and try to go back to the train of thought you interrupted when you called them over for that short meeting. Anything that affects their concentration compromises their productivity so keep those interruptions short and to the point by launching a virtual meeting instead.
More time. With virtual meetings, employees have more time on their hands and better control over their schedules. This leads to greater work life balance. As flexibility in working practices grow, so do the number of employees looking for telecommute work. The result is that more companies now offer employees with telecommute perks or work from home incentives. It’s one way to keep and retain the best people in their organizations.
Make your virtual meetings count
Given all these advantages, it’s easy to see why companies across the globe are scrambling to take advantage of video calling technologies and virtual meetings. However, with new technologies come new challenges. How do you make sure you aren’t boring anyone? Here are some tips from Charlie Hawkins to help you make those virtual meetings fun, personable and social in the best way:
Change your style. Start those meetings with something different each time. A short video presentation, a skit, a panel discussion, Q&A, group breakouts, team presentations, exercises, games, feedback, anything goes. The point is to make everyone feel comfortable and relaxed.
Social chit-chat. Reserve the first five to ten minutes of the meeting for social pleasantries. Ask them how their weekend or vacation went.
Share. Bring something you can share with the rest of the group, both offsite and onsite teams. This could be a quote, a line, an idea or title of a great book. By the end of the month, everyone on the team could vote for the month’s best book, line or quote.
Skits. Do presentations. Make sure to team up your offsite and onsite people.
Toasts. Do you have something to celebrate with your team? The opening of a new regional office, perhaps? Bagging a top prize in an industry competition? Don’t forget to acknowledge the people behind that success and then celebrate it. Have video parties, where both offices have cake or a bit of champagne—just do the champagne toast when office hours are through.
Summarizer. Ask someone different each time to summarize the points of the meeting. This is one way to keep everyone on their toes.
Start funny. Start by asking the group about the funniest thing that happened to them at work or that week or any other variation, so long as the words fun plus work go together. This will make everyone, especially remote teams, feel connected to the rest of the team.
Facilitator. Ask someone to facilitate the meeting after you’ve talked about points you wanted to discuss. Make sure to pick people from different teams every time.
These are just some of the things you could try to take the tedium and boredom out of those meetings. Make sure you take advantage of every collaborative feature your conferencing system offers. Share files, photos of pets, music, along with a lot of other things. Build a separate Google Drive for all the personal fun work stuff. Use a centralized location, like Trello boards, for notes that everyone can see. Open online discussion threads, one for professional updates and the other one, for personal, silly ones. Make room for fun human interactions in your virtual meetings to make them memorable and effective. Your staff will be more productive for it.