It’s easy to think we’re doing a great job when we organize a video conference, because it saves on travel time and expense. That’s a misconception. Often we’re still wasting time by poor execution.
It always takes a while for humans to learn how to use new technologies wisely. For example, we still have a long way to go with the mobile phone before we can reap the benefits without having to suffer the burdens. With video conferencing – in order to be able to meet remotely – that search is also far from over. The available video tools work better and better, but the quality of the meeting itself usually leaves something to be desired.
A videoconference is not the easiest type of meeting. For one thing, it’s much more complicated for the organizer to steer the discussion in the right direction. And the timing between speakers is a lot harder. In addition, a large part of the non-verbal communication is lost. And it is much harder to feel the energy of the meeting and to estimate the state of mind of the individual participants. All this makes it a challenge to sensibly anticipate.
That’s why remote meetings are even more important to properly prepare than physical meetings. Here’s how: Limit the meeting to main issues by setting agenda items and activating participants in advance. This gives everyone the time to share information and viewpoints, and it defines the expectations. But perhaps best of all, it leaves you with only the remaining agenda items which are relevant to everyone, items that everyone has already thought about.
Pioneer Paul Tilanus on the transformational result of this approach: “We often use only part of the planned time, and that is greatly appreciated by the participants. Experience with similar projects shows that the planned time is often not enough for half of the agenda.”
In short, video conferencing is a useful alternative. But preparation becomes even more important than with regular meetings.
Want to get more out of your video conferences? Learn more and read the 5 Preparation Tips for Excellent Meetings.