Team collaboration can be tricky in the best of times, but it will be interesting to see how completely virtual meetings will test this further — particularly when we add strained WiFi, the learning curve of more people learning new videoconferencing tools, and trying to juggle kids in the background.
Videoconferencing technology has advanced (and kudos to Zoom for announcing on Friday they would offer free access to K-12 schools). But even the best videoconferencing technology can’t save unproductive meetings.
As Bob Frisch and Cary Greene wrote in an HBR article this week:
“As soon as one or two attendees ‘dial in’ to any meeting, productivity starts to suffer … Attendees often interpret virtual meetings as a license to multi-task. Meeting organizers tend to be less careful with the purpose and design of the conversation. And it’s not uncommon for one or two attendees to dominate the discussion while others sit back and ‘tune out.’”
Bad meeting habits are amplified by going virtual. So this is a good time to rethink how we hold meetings, starting with when to have meetings, who really needs to be there, the purpose of the meeting, and how to actual facilitate the meeting.
“The MO is the meeting owner, who’s responsible for ensuring that the meeting has a clear agenda, that it starts and ends on time, and that all attendees are given an equal say. The JO – or joyful observer – is assigned to help the meeting run crisply and to encourage broad participation.”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: