On Purpose Meetings & Your "Webside Manner": 5 Steps

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

"Virtual collaboration is fast becoming the norm. Are you ready?" (Harvard Business Review, 04/24/18)

14 years ago, sick and tired of attending meetings where I left feeling, at best, depleted and others moaning about, yet another meeting, "that didn't go anywhere"; I invited 12 leaders to join me in the 1st Art of Convening Teletraining. It was an early virtual laboratory or "skunkworks" project to explore what the components of what makes for a transformational meeting, gathering or even conversation. Now, 14 years later, we've learned a thing or two.

Here are 5 bedrock steps to improve your "Webside Manner" in any virtual meeting or conversation...

Web Meeting
  1. Clarity of Purpose and Intent- Get crystal clear BEFORE your engagement on why you are meeting and what your intent is for success.
  2. An invitation that has meaning and relevance- Make sure your invitation clearly articulates the form, function, and purpose. Then ask yourself why people should come and what's in it for them.
  3. Set the Context- Open with a warm welcome, tell them why they have been invited and review the high points of the agenda including expectations and outcome.
  4. Create a container of safety and generativity- People want to know what the "terms of engagement" will be. For example: ask people to be present by resisting the urge to multitask.  
  5. Hear all the Voices- When people feel their views count, they become more engaged and engaged people tend to own the outcomes. (Accountability!)  Start with a check-in to take the temperature of the group. Take a few minutes to ask each to respond to what expectations they have for the meeting. A simple 30-second check in from each will tell you volumes about where you might go and what people want from the meeting.

These simple 5 steps can go a long way in improving clarity, buy-in, and alignment in any virtual meeting. Check out our next Convening Powerful Virtual Meetings Training!