Communication Skills: The Challenge of these Virtual Meetings
Virtual board meetings. How are they working for you?
- Easy to disengage
- Easier to say inflammatory things
- Unchecked monologues
- Poor image or sound projection (so irritating!)
Some quick advice that translates to any video conferencing on your schedule, board room or from home.
- Get the lighting right. Practice with natural lighting and lamps. The inability to see someone hampers the ability to connect and fosters irritation. You don’t want the halo effect, too dark (what are you hiding) or too light (are you angry?)
- Consider your background space. Is it organized and professional?
- Position your body. I tend to get too close and it can be intimidating. Place yourself so the upper half of your body is viewable allowing viewers to see your arms and hand gestures and read your face.
- Speak up and speak clearly! “I’m sorry but what did you say?” Don’t be written off because others can’t hear you.
- Make eye contact. Just like in person, looking people in the eye demonstrates confidence, honesty and sincerity engendering trust. No one wants to talk to the top of your head or ear. It is off-putting. Remember to speak to the camera on your device rather than the screen – and limit checking out your own picture – it translates as a lack of confidence or overconcern about your appearance rather than the conversation.
- Use peoples’ names. Same trick we know to use in regular conversations. It demonstrates caring and personal attention.
- Game Face. Remember that people can still read the frown, raised eyebrows, rolled or closed eyes, putting your head down when you hear something you don’t like. Try more natural smiling and affirmative nods.
- Chair skills. Members: Everyone participates but no one dominates. Consider placing time limits on discussions. Public: Personal criticism or attacks are not permitted. Time limits for addressing the board. Any questions or comments come from the chair to increase understanding but maintain focus.
- Consider watching a recording of one of your meetings with mute on. Observe what your non-verbal communications in a virtual world are saying about you and your board.
Desired Results? A board meeting communicating caring, consideration and professionalism that generates trust.
OK, this could go on a lot longer, but you get the idea – right?