A few tips from an introverted marketer about moving meetings online:
Don’t make technology the obstacle. Pick the right platform (Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc.) for the purpose and become familiar with it. Trust me, no one is happy when they’re forced to sit by while the meeting organizer sorts out technical problems. Likewise, participants should respect everyone’s time by having their conference software and audio/video ready to go when the meeting starts.
Own your meetings. Organizers, you’re responsible for insuring that meetings are needed and have a purpose, and that you’re clear about the required outcomes. If that clarity isn’t there, maybe you don’t need a meeting.
Maximize social cues. Voice only calls should start with introductions, and a reminder to share names when speaking. Video is even better, and it’s helpful to ask meeting participants in advance to use video. Even with the best meeting management, there are going to be awkward silences and people trying to speak over one another. Roll with it, but if it becomes problematic, the organizer is the referee.
Skip the icebreakers. They’re well-intentioned, but they make many of us introverts uncomfortable. Stick to standard introductions: Who, role, and what they need to get from the meeting.
Facilitate! Freeform discussions in a remote setting are a recipe for disaster. Have a plan for guiding the meeting, keeping it on track, and seeking the input of every participant. This introvert will often quietly process what I hear; that doesn’t mean I have nothing to share or want others in the meeting to speak for me.
How you follow up matters. Capture meeting notes and action items in a shared environment, like Slack or Teams, and focus attendants’ attention there for taking next steps. Unless the action items are simple, avoid email for capturing and reporting them.
Embrace the awkwardness. Remember this guy? Remote meetings can include awkward moments. We’re all human, and those moments of humor and humanity connect us. It’s a fearful time for some, and those connections are exactly what they need.