When was the last time you had an Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist coach you on how to look great on camera? On today's episode, Karin Reed, co-author of Suddenly Virtual: Making Remote Meetings Work, shares her wisdom on how to be effective, look great, sound great, and create great participation and engagement during your hybrid and virtual meetings.
Today, many leaders are not thinking about how they show up on the other side of the camera. These leaders are doing a great disservice to themselves and their teams because they are primarily going to have to lead through various virtual lenses for now and into the future. If leaders want to maximize how they communicate, connect and show up with their teams, the only way to do that is by following these simple steps.
1. Get Back to the Basics
Very few leaders actually follow best practices when it comes to leading virtual meetings. Before the pandemic, most meetings were bad in person; as these bad meetings moved virtually, they became virtually unbearable. When it comes to getting back to the basics, Joe Allen says common sense is often uncommon practice.
2. Attend to Participation
As a leader, remember the potential pitfalls in participation that can occur in hybrid and virtual meetings. That pitfall is the lack of participation. We are wired to be passive bystanders when it comes to anything with a screen. We have been conditioned to sit at screens as we watch TV, but in virtual and hybrid meetings, we want our attendees to act.
3. Favor Remote Attendees First
Far too often, remote meeting attendees feel as if they get left out of meetings. When they don’t get asked for their thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions, they decide to tune-out or leave the meeting. This makes them feel unheard, questioning why they were in that meeting in the first place. As the leader, acknowledging the remote attendees right away, shows you value them from the beginning.
4. Consider How You Lead Through the Lens
How you show up through the lens will impact your results with your team. We’ve been leading virtual meetings for over 15 months and still leaders and C-suite executives are making critical mistakes that hinder their messages. Poor lighting, audio and camera placement throws off your message.
5. To Make Eye Contact, Look at the Camera, Not the Screen
There is nothing more important in a meeting than eye contact, and most of us are doing this incorrectly. The camera is the conduit to your conversation, so if you want to speak with impact, it is critical that you learn to make virtual “eye contact” close to how it would be in person. Looking into the camera lens as we speak goes against every natural impulse that we have. We think the right thing to do is to look at our attendees, but looking at their picture on the screen means you’re not making eye contact.
6. Be MORE Human
When everyone worked remotely last year, most of us for the first time, we lost a lot of humanity in our meetings. Leaders would jump right into an agenda, if there was one. There was no opportunity for casual, small talk, which is a critical element in building strong relationships and culture. From a business, leadership and individual perspective, establishing connection with people is the most critical element of creating strong business results.
7. Leverage 5 Minute One-on-One’s
Many leaders often feel like they don’t have time to meet with each person one-on-one on a regular basis, especially if their teams are larger. Schedule these small, short meetings or open office hours for small group or one-on-one conversations.
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