The other day I coached a client saying that he was terrible in meetings and that he had severe anxiety giving presentations.
Subsequent coaching revealed that this anxiety was not felt pre-pandemic when he gave presentations in a live setting. We also uncovered that this anxiety started when Zoom meetings became the norm during the pandemic and that his meetings had common online meeting problems.
No ground rules.
No firm agenda.
No firm meeting management.
People spoke up whenever they felt and would talk over others.
Reserved, quieter participants would not have the opportunity to speak.
The louder ones would gain speaking time.
I have heard of this aspect time and time again in my coaching. How clients would dread holding or attending meetings online.
It is clear to me that while we embraced remote work, we must now put great effort into fully optimizing it.
One of those aspects is how people get together and hold gatherings online.
While live meeting etiquette may be relevant, there are other aspects that are different for online meetings and that require a stronger hand at managing attendees so that all can feel heard and contribute, and not letting some dominate the meeting or derail it.
Things like setting ground rules, agendas, designating a firm meeting referee, instituting a system of letting people speak up in an orderly manner. And so on.
Remember also the social aspects of being live versus online. On video, people often feel more able to express their inner negative feelings and in a more aggressive manner than they would if they were in person.
It would be worthwhile to take some extra effort to create a place of safety for online meetings given the unique characteristics.
Check out the following posts for more ideas on how to improve your online meetings, as well as creating a better place for all to contribute and not just the loud ones!