Meetings get a bad rap. Lots of complaining about some people droning on and others not contributing. Lots of parroting about how boring they are.
Let’s take an honest look at how important scheduled video meetings are – especially now.
Most of us are currently off premises, working from home, and not having a lot of interaction with coworkers and colleagues. There’s no water cooler conversation about the game last night – there was no game.
People are feeling fragile, overwhelmed by newscasts, and unable to focus; many of their life balances are out of whack. Too many things have changed all at once, causing anxiety. Even for those whose lives have not been upended, the support of being together and talking about everyday things is gone.
There is normalcy in specific tasks, improved organization, and meetings. Yes, meetings. Two or three people on a conference call – that’s a meeting. All that is required is a specific subject, and a few minutes for idle conversation at the end, to provide structure and comfort to the participants.
Scheduled video meetings force us to take a little time with our appearance (it is something to groan about), but we feel good when the call is over. We have seen our coworkers – we feel better about our appearance. And when the meetings are purposeful and well organized, we feel a little more structure in our lives and a sense of accomplishment that helps to carry us through.
Make sure everyone has a time to speak (not just a chance to speak). Go around the table (or the video grid). Ask everyone to contribute. What are you working on? What have you accomplished this week? What are you having trouble with? What are you especially pleased with? Can we help?
Give everyone a time to shine.
When we have completed a step toward a goal, a chapter in training, a solution to a problem, we feel good about it; but we feel even better when we can share our results with colleagues.
Our hard work or clever thinking becomes validated when it is shared and acknowledged. We feel gratified when our efforts are recognized, and our results are congratulated. We leave that scheduled video meeting feeling good, or at least better. We are reminded of what we CAN do, not what we can’t.
As a leader, make sure everyone feels included and important. We feel good when we are “in the know,” it helps us understand were we fit into the big picture. Give people as much information as you can about what is going on in your company. Be real; share the worrisome things as well as the positive – but accentuate the positive. The more open you are about what is going on, the more your teams will be able to make good things happen.
We often do our best work when we are under pressure, especially if we are working together toward a common goal. Meetings are where this interaction takes place. When a meeting is a gathering where employees gain knowledge, recognition, and praise – when they help to solve problems and gain assistance in solving problems – they come away feeling needed and optimistic. They are better able to handle whatever comes their way.
Be sure, when things are most stressful, that you have enough supportive meetings to give your workers strength. You will come away stronger, too.