In a business environment where more and more workers are part of distributed virtual teams, the options for meeting in physical locations to collaborate are sparse. Friday morning team huddles in the large conference room are a part of the past and team leaders are searching for integrative collaboration tools to accommodate remote workforces. Historically, meeting organizers have turned to teleconferencing to host meetings; however having a large group of people on a conference call can be unproductive. Many participants on a large audience call view it as an opportunity to catch up on the day’s work and follow the practice of simply dialing into a conference bridge, saying “hello,” and then putting their phone on mute while they proceed to work through their email inbox. However, this does not count as effective collaboration.
In order to efficiently combine ideas from multiple sources in the most efficient way possible, participants must actively work as a team. The lack of participation during conference calls leads to the belief that in-person meetings are more effective, as it is assumed to be harder for people to “multi-task” during them. However many can identify with large meetings that are filled with the furious clacking of typing, that are most obviously not all the dictation of notes. Rather time is spent being distracted by responding to emails and other online activities. While the argument for in-person meetings is not foolproof, it certainly adds an element of accountability for the attendees that teleconferencing simply cannot offer. So… what is the solution to this? Video conferencing.
Here are some easy tips for incorporating video conferencing into your organization:
- Turn on a two-way video feed: As a meeting organizer, share your video feed with meeting participants and encourage them to also enable their video.
- Share your desktop and share control: Rather than being the only presenter during a video conference, share control throughout the meeting. Encourage involvement by granting permission to other participants to share their desktop. By expecting them to provide content, participants will find it much harder to “multi-task” throughout the meeting.
- Encourage participation through engagement: By incorporating engaging activities, such as poll questions, participants will be required to pay attention and respond appropriately.
- Implement a roundtable discussion: Used by meeting facilitators everywhere, go around the “table” and query each participant individually. A simple way to do this is by addressing each participant one at a time to see if they have anything to add to the meeting agenda.
Today, workers are constantly connected by multiple devices. Organizations are challenged with finding ways to continually encourage productive meetings and foster a community of collaboration. By implementing video alongside teleconferencing, the depth of engagement amongst participants can be increased while simultaneously creating a process through which the collective work can help reach organizational objectives.