ORIGIN OF COFFEE KLATSCH
The first Amplify Coffee Clutch/Klatch/Klatsch held September 29, 2020 was a success! Many Amplifiers attended and were actively engaged in a conversation facilitated by Tina Schuelke from Never Stop Conquering. Some attendees have a long history using virtual meeting formats and others were thrust into this landscape as a result of COVID. But, despite their tenure using virtual formats, everyone agrees there are challenges and opportunities in leveraging virtual technology.
Some challenges are mitigated by:
- Have a good meeting facilitator
- Confirm the intent of the meeting at the start of the session and confirm that intent was achieved at the end of the meeting
- Stay on track during the meeting and don’t let conversation drift into other unrelated topics
- Act like you would in any other “in-person” meeting
- This includes attire/grooming, actions, attention to the meeting
- Due to not seeing body language during a virtual meeting, you might need to solicit feedback or seek clarity about what others are saying
- If you don’t have an existing relationship with attendees, you’ll need to establish one virtually (not impossible but perhaps a bit harder to do)
- Allow your personality to shine through
- Designate group roles and rules around virtual meetings
- Who is the facilitator, taking notes, managing conversations with attendees?
- Are people engaged enough in the topic to attend this meeting?
- Technology can be a distraction (multiple messages during a meeting) but can also help us reduce interruptions (some tools allow you to turn off other notifications while in a meeting)
- Cameras and microphones bring their own challenges:
- Is using mute a good thing or not (might depend upon your role, company rules around meetings or your background)
- Manage background noise as much as possible
- Turning off cameras is another theme that could send mixed messages depending upon the role/rules/background
- If you must mute or turn off a camera, you might need to let others know why you are needing to do so
- We’re not used to looking at ourselves all day . . . if you can, switch to speaker view which will help you focus on the speaker and not get distracted by looking at yourself and all the other attendees
- Use blue light blocking eyeglasses to reduce eyestrain if you are on several meetings in one day
Ultimately, we are still getting used to the amount of virtual meetings and miss seeing others in person! Just like you would at the office, getting up and walking around a bit can help you maintain focus (step outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air). Learning to adapt to virtual meetings has been an evolution and we’re still learning . . . so, be gentle with yourself and others.