Remote meetings can be challenging at the best of times: tech difficulties, timing challenges, and a lessening of social cues can decrease meeting effectiveness. However, they can still be successful. Here are some straightforward strategies to make the most out of your meeting.
Pay Extra Attention to Nonverbal Cues in Online Meetings
Humans are hardwired to recognize and respond to body language, facial expressions, and intonation. You can instantly analyze a situation to know who is in charge, who is frustrated, and who is excited just by walking into a meeting. In remote meetings, you need to make sure you’re paying attention to nonverbal communication that will be muted through an online forum. Work to respond not only to what people are saying but how they are saying it.
Active Listening is a Key to Success
You may find yourself drifting away from what others are saying in order to think about what you need to say next. Resist this urge. It’s particularly easy to drift away from meetings when you are working from home. If you’ve found your attention drifting, refocus on the conversation. Consider taking a moment to paraphrase what was said so you can confirm you understood what was happening. This may seem redundant, and you might think it will slow down the process. Reframing and restating what has already been said is a proven technique to clarify communication.
You can learn how to be a great listener. It will make your meetings more useful and productive. You never know who else might have had a momentary tech glitch or distraction as well, and restating what was said can help everyone to understand the point more completely. Build on reframed and paraphrased statements by creating an ongoing dialog. Make suggestions and build on other’s ideas before presenting your own.
Empathy Drives Understanding
Whether you’re in person or in remote meetings you want to do well, represent your ideas, and generate solutions. You want to put your best foot forward. One of the non-intuitive ways to do this is by thinking about how others feel and think. Ask clarifying questions about what they’ve talked about and try to analyze concepts from their perspective. On a more down to earth level, when people are talking about their everyday challenges, resist the urge to say, “Me, too!” Instead, delve further into their experience and listen for what they’re trying to express. Also, be aware of your biases. You will naturally listen more to those who think like you, look like you, and act like you. Unconscious bias can undermine your ability to hear new ideas. By practicing empathy you will gain the skills to bridge that gap.
Silence Can Be a Useful Tool for Remote Meetings
One of the specific challenges of remote meetings is tech lag, which makes all communication more difficult. Only one person can be heard at a time which can lead to awkward silences. This doesn’t have to be awkward. You can allow silence to become a strategy to speak more clearly and make sure all individuals are heard. Don’t be concerned when there is a lull in the conversation. Sometimes the best ideas can come from a moment of stillness and deep thought.
When you’re participating in remote meetings you can be an effective participant by implementing these strategies. Slow down, listen, and take the time necessary to create successful business relationships.
Good luck, and we are here for you.
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