Virtual meetings are now an important part of internal communications – from Town Halls to informal catch-ups. Be it in a small group or a larger gathering, the need to balance the agenda with clarity, momentum and moderation become crucial when time and attention are at a premium. Unlike a face-to-face interaction, the virtual setting provides less context to the organizer and participants on the ‘mood’ of the audience, ‘engagement’ to the speakers, ‘connection’ to the agenda and ‘assimilation’ of messages.
Consider these opportunities.
– Insights-led interaction: You are having a virtual Town Hall and aren’t quite sure if your audience is truly paying attention. How about a technology intervention which allows you to observe actions (keystrokes, turning away from camera, switching screens, changing eye-ball movement) which gives you precise insights if your audience is distracted or not.
– Flow management: While you may be running a poll and asking audiences to raise their hands (to ask questions), wouldn’t it be better if you knew in which order the hands were raised? This can reduce the burden on the organizer who is not just trying to keep the meeting running on track but also monitoring if the people asking questions are being acknowledged in the right order.
– Staying time-bound: Think of how tightly virtual meetings need to run considering there are conflicting priorities and other meetings planned right after unlike in the ‘offline’ world where you had the flexibility to buffer more time. Wouldn’t it be great if there are timers which flash (pre-determined by the organizer) to inform speakers on how much time they have remaining and that they need to speed up? Also, to be sensitive to other speakers lined up or the progress with the time-bound agenda.
– Key takeaways: One of the biggest challenges for the organizer is to summarize the meeting and clearly call out action points for specific individuals. While, assigning a note taker is a possibility, why can’t it be enabled by technology where, probably an AI set-up allows for curating the key points and producing a ‘minutes of the meeting’ which gets circulated to participants? I am aware of certain apps which do this independently and manually, what about the opportunities to integrate?
– Coherency: Most often than not, when participants are speaking, they probably aren’t aware of their ‘own voice’ and the way they present their thoughts. Are they coherent? Are they able to crisply present their point of view? Did they use too many crutch words while speaking? While there are apps which allow you to distill messages and cull out the tone of voice, modulation among other aspects, what if it was integrated into the meeting? The organizer can possibly know how speakers fared and gave real-time feedback or at least feedback swiftly post meeting.
– Appreciation: Recognizing participants for their contribution on virtual meetings can be complex. While there are ‘clap’ icons and GIFs, it can be possibly more powerful if another ‘sense’ of sound was included. Thanking people for service anniversaries, a great job done, living the values among other reasons need to be applauded by making the moment memorable.
Overall, as we get more adept with using technology tools and platforms to make our virtual meetings better, smoother and relevant, there are opportunities to continually think of ways of improving the experience. I am sure by the time this post is out, one of the technology forums may have considered including these features! That’s the speed at which the world operates today.
Interested to know what you think.
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