From now on all meetings are virtual – by phone, Skype, ZOOM, … – sometimes more, sometimes less moderated; sometimes more, sometimes less successful.
But you know your team well, you know what makes your employees tick and you have a good basis for your cooperation – what could go wrong?
To ensure nothing goes wrong, it is helpful to reflect on the things that are different when communicating virtually compared to face-to-face meetings.
THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE
The decisive factor is the awareness that communication is more than the spoken word. When we interact with people not only the spoken word, but also body-language (such as facial expressions and gestures), the perceived atmosphere and banal things like seating arrangements in a room are part of the communication.
All these factors are perceived and evaluated based on our former experiences and impressions.
In virtual meetings, these habitual overall perceptions are greatly reduced or aspects of them are no longer present. Often precisely these missing information provide us social orientation and shape our relationships – for example signals with which we express, and experience appreciation are now missing.
If you are not careful, factual information will be predominant and the relationship facet, which is important for successful cooperation, will be kept to the sidelines. It will be more difficult to interpret the situation due to the lack of resonance in a virtual space.
In addition to the burdening reduced information, there is another effect: The danger that your brain and the brains of your employees start to fill in the information gaps on their own – this way misinterpretations and misunderstandings can arise.
Especially pay attention to communication in virtual meetings. Openly address the problem of reduced information in your team – discuss and sensitize each other.
Here are a few more tips for maintaining relationships and a good atmosphere:
– Address your employees by their names more often than usual
– Verbalize your emotions as a response („I’m smiling right now“)
– Choose a simple, precise and concrete language
– Quit irony, provocative comments and sarcasm
– Ask if anything is unclear before (mis-)interpreting the content
– Actively ensure that all meeting participants are involved