The WE Approach to Online Meetings



Gail Green President & CEO Emergenetics Ontario



Well I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this crazy unprecedented time.  As I prepare to go on yet another online meeting I was thinking about the previous normal and how meetings were often named as a #1 waste of time in the workday.  People can drift and disengage with meeting fatigue.  Good gracious, how are we going to keep focus online?

Firstly, lets all commit to show up on camera. It gives us a fighting chance. Next, apply the basics of an effective meeting:

  1. Make sure the meeting is necessary
  2. Clarity of purpose
  3. Have an agenda and publish it beforehand.
  4. Be clear why each participant is attending.
  5. Always remember the simple, common courtesies of life, particularly if you need to win support and build relationships. Make people feel welcome by creating a comfortable environment now more than ever!
  6. Promote openness and honesty in your meetings.  Create the psychological safety necessary for this and the quality of the conversation will be much greater.
  7. Ensure you keep time. People need to feel their time is valued.
  8. Contribution is important. Ensure all participants have opportunities to participate, especially those whose preference is to reflect and consider the views of others before speaking. They often have very valuable insights that should not be missed.
  9. Carry out regular and frequent summaries. This will enable everyone to check understanding and confirm what has been discussed/agreed. Research suggests that in effective meetings someone summarizes at least every 5 minutes.
  10. Record – In our current reality most online platforms can do so and then you can decide on options for providing access to the recording. Or old school it and have someone take notes and send that to all who participated.

Strive for continuous improvement. Obtaining feedback from participants on what was useful about the meeting and what could have been done differently is valuable information.  We can flatten our on-line meeting learning curves by actively listening and implementing improvements.

Remember that teams are cognitively and behaviorally diverse and if we follow the basics, we will help everyone engage in a meaningful online meeting experience! 

Now let’s effectively Zoom ourselves through this 😊!


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