Ever since Covid-19 hit, our lives have been disrupted. Virtual meetings and trainings have all of a sudden become the norm. People estimate that this way of life would obviously have taken longer to pan out if there were no restrictions due to the pandemic.
As it is, we find ourselves in one virtual meeting or another nearly every day. Our children too have not been left behind. The technology to support a virtual working and learning lifestyle is already available, yet I would want it to be cheaper and affordable to the masses. Nevertheless, that’s where we are going.
By the time we are through with I do not know how many variants and waves and lockdowns, we would have acclimatized to virtual living, working and learning. It is the new frontier at the very moment.
However, as you might have noticed, virtual meetings and classes are not as engaging as in person meeting and learning. That’s why for learning purposes, especially for children, I would encourage supervisors to be there and make sure that it is maximized.
For adults, it is so easy to get less and less out of virtual meetings and learning situations. I have seen some webinars that log you out when they sense that you are not paying attention. I would rather that we find some ways of our own, our ‘analog’ ways to make the most out of meetings and trainings.
If you get ambushed by a virtual meeting you did not plan to attend, chances are that you will be all over the place with it and probably you might not get the best out of it. Planning is therefore the best approach to making the most out of a virtual meeting.
It will help you to prepare, anticipate and be in the mood for it. You will look forward to receiving from it and this anticipation will increase the ability to assimilate more from the meeting or the lesson. Therefore, go ahead and schedule your day and make sure that you have allocated enough time to prepare and attend a virtual event.
If you are not careful, you will find that you will treat the virtual meeting as something that is not important unless of course it is a meeting where you are discussing your payment terms. You need to mentally purpose to give your absolute best time to this meeting.
Go ahead and not only make a mental note, but tell yourself that you will be attentive and that you will give your all as the meeting progresses. This will go a long way in mentally checking you to make sure that you live up to your own set standards for the virtual meeting.
This is a simple and yet very powerful way to make sure that you make the most out of the virtual meeting. We are living in a life that is filled with distractions. The very technology that you are using to access the virtual meeting is filled with the ability and capacity for distractions, otherwise known as multitasking.
It is possible to have a meeting going on and you are on your social media channels. It is possible to have a meeting going on and you are in another room attending to kids and visitors. That’s why we said earlier on that you need to schedule your day.
A distraction is not necessarily a bad thing. It could be something valuable that you are doing at the moment the virtual meeting is going on. However, just because this valuable thing is interfering with the virtual meeting, it becomes a distraction. So deal with all the distractions beforehand.
Perhaps the biggest reason why people do not get the most out of the virtual meeting is because they are not accountable by the way of enabling their video. I know at times due to different network speeds, there is need to turn off your video for better conference streaming.
However, I have noticed that if you want to get the best out of a virtual meeting, you put your video on. That way, you know that you are being watched, you are present. You tend to give your concentration to the meeting more when your video is on. If the video is turned off, you are open to distractions.
Attend a meeting or training with the hunger to learn. Go there with a notebook ready to take notes. Let me say something small about note-taking. Probably I should do a whole article about it. However, note taking is not about writing down what you are hearing verbatim so that you can revise it later.
No. Note taking is actually active learning where you get the principles being shared and see how you can start applying them in your life. In other words, you are not just regurgitating what’s being said in the virtual meeting, but you are actually percolating it. You are writing down ideas that have come up and creating action points from that.
People who do this get out of any meeting feeling pumped while others get out feeling like their time was wasted. Granted, there are some meetings you will attend that will be dour and not worth writing anything about, but if you learn the percolating note taking method, any meeting is fun.
This is straight forward. Be an active participant in the meeting. Ask questions. Answer some. Respond to the polls. Chat with people. Crack jokes. Use the chat room to “write notes” or expound on the things that have caught your attention from the virtual meeting.
Remember, all the while your video is on, unless of course they have used a system that doesn’t allow attendees to have their videos on.
Finally, if you ever got the opportunity to be the one leading a virtual meeting, by all means please prepare to serve your people well. There is so much you can do but there is no way you will do all that without careful preparation.
Can people get new information? Can your method of delivery be professional enough? Can you create good presentations with good content? Can you honor the attendees by putting on an impeccable show? That’s how you will create engagement in the virtual meeting.