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Order, order! Are you getting heard in online meetings?

Written by Anne Williams on .

kid shouting

Whether to work from home or the office has been a longstanding debate between employees and employers

Several different ways of accommodating this feature, together with still maintaining productivity have been tested over the years. Now COVID has ensured we not only work from home – we also encounter a new challenge – the online meeting. It has already been predicted the most common phrase in 2020 is ‘you are on mute’ and I am sure others relating to online meetings will emerge.

As a Business Mentor, I do attend a lot of online meetings and it is quite clear that everyone is trying to find their own style. I am pleased people seem to be steering away from using backgrounds. Personally, I already miss being the full person as you do face-to-face. I certainly do not like half of what I can see suddenly disappearing! Some meetings have so many attendees that it can be difficult to get heard. And writing it on the chat does not always feel applicable because sometimes we feel this is only really a comment or question which relates to a few people in the audience. With face-to-face meetings you could go to one side and talk but not online. The fact that we then do not speak up means we do not get heard.

There is no question, online meetings are here to stay. Technology is getting better all the time but maybe it is time we also start looking at how we set meetings up. Ensuring everyone gets heard and the message reaches the right people is all to do with looking at your audience. We cannot assume that just because we used to have weekly team meetings with a certain group of people that this will also work for online meetings. Consider how you as  a meeting organiser want to deal with questions. And how do you check people’s understanding of what you have said.

Try incorporating these three aspects to help you get heard:

  • Let the participants know the meeting topics beforehand – people are more engaged if they know what they are getting into
  • Make sure your audio and video are working properly. Your audience will not listen if they cannot hear you or see you properly
  • Make sure you let participants know they can ask questions and how to. People tend to be more engaged if they also feel they have a voice

Making sure your communication strategy works is a key part of business and where a Business Mentor could make a difference for you and I can promise you – I will hear you.

Anne Williams
Director & Business Mentor
Wokingham, Maidenhead, Windsor, Runnymede, Weybridge, Bracknell, Slough

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