Virtual facilitation #3: Online meeting etiquette
Online meeting etiquette actually isn’t as different from face-to-face meeting etiquette as you’d think, and you’ve probably been on enough online meetings by now to know what you like and don’t.
See my previous post on: How to start your virtual meeting – Virtual facilitation #2
Have you been on those Zoom calls where the first 30 minutes (of 60) is taken up with elaborate introductions, and by the time everyone has described their new routine in tedious (and repetitive) detail, you’ve no energy left for the topic of the meeting?
Or, on the other hand, you’ve jumped straight in with no niceties whatsoever and found it terribly jarring?
How much time to give to the opening of a virtual meeting depends partly on whether the call participants know each other already. If not, it’s certainly worth having a round of people introducing themselves, if only to say their name and where they are from.
If we do know each other, it’s still a good idea to have a brief round of ‘safe topic’ talk to oil the interactions. We do that when we meet in person, chatting about the weather or sport, to remind ourselves of following norms, taking turns, confirming etiquette. And that’s important. Irrespective of the state of the weather. When we ask: ‘How are you?’, we may want to know, but probably not at great length, and not as much as we want a signal that this is going to be a properly structured conversation.
It’s not so different online.
For more tips on how to warm up your virtual meeting read: How to warm up your virtual meeting – Virtual facilitation #4
What are you asking at the beginning of your calls? And what are you asking for?
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