Dr. Patrick Jinks is a Board Certified Coach and President of The Jinks Perspective.
I hate Zoom. There. I said it. More accurately, I have a love-hate relationship with it. By “it,” I am not referring specifically to the software that goes by the name Zoom. The truth is that Zoom is an amazing piece of technology. “Zoom” tends to be the generic name we use for virtual and hybrid platforms, and those who know me know my negative sentiment toward virtual meetings. But in the spirit of continuous learning and adaptability, I am trying to play nicely and ensure effectiveness whenever I am forced to facilitate or participate in virtual meetings.
Five Guidelines For The Reluctant Virtual Meeting Host
I fully understand that remote and hybrid work cultures are here to stay. I also maintain a few adamant positions on their application. If you feel the same, consider the following guidelines if and when you must conduct virtual or hybrid meetings.
1. Be prepared.
As with any meeting, start by knowing the purpose of the gathering. Clearly communicate the objectives, expectations, guidelines and process for conducting the meeting. Prepare well. Be skilled with the platform and ready to use it effectively. Note that preparation is not reserved for the facilitator; be prepared when you’re a participant as well.
2. Be punctual.
This stands for any meeting, including in-person ones, but it bears repeating. This is part of being prepared. Be on time. Be reliable. People are counting on you. There are legitimate exceptions, of course, but most of the tardiness I see is avoidable.
3. Be present.
Logging in and showing up on the participant list is attendance. Engaging and connecting in a meaningful way is presence. Know the difference.
Here is one of my non-negotiables: Turn on your video. I have heard the arguments against this maxim, but I see most as mere excuses. We would not think of walking into a room donning a bag over our heads or holding a posterboard in front of our faces with a picture of ourselves. To me, the iconic black screen (or headshot) screams, “I am not paying attention. I want you all to guess what I am really doing.” I realize this is not the intended message, but it projects as such. My personal perspective (albeit potentially extreme) is that you are not present if your video is off. You have merely bugged the room.
4. Be positive.
I am referring to energy here. Projecting energy in a Zoom meeting isn’t easy, but there are a few ways to do it. Mind your environment. Aesthetics do matter. Smile. Look into your camera as much as you look at the screen—it’s virtual eye contact. Use the chat feature to contribute value to others. Being positive on Zoom takes intentionality and effort. Just being on the screen is not enough.
5. Be proactive.
This applies uniquely to hybrid meetings. Think in advance about how to engage the virtual participants with the physical participants. Consider the experience each person will have. Get creative. Keep the meeting objectives top of mind and proactively facilitate toward those goals.
Of course, there are many other things to consider. For example, consider not making your meeting virtual or hybrid. Nothing can replicate the power of physical presence and connection. Nothing. Consider whether you are making it too easy for your stakeholders (staff, team, board, members, etc.) to avoid coming to your meeting.
I have an advisory board for my company that includes members from California to Florida and everywhere in between. We meet virtually. I am thankful for the technology that allows us to do that. But local gatherings can still be done in person. And I will go kicking and screaming into a world where we no longer value that connection.
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
Read the full article here