As Corona continues to affect many aspects of our lives, it is important to reflect on some of the positive things that have emerged during this difficult period. 2020 has witnessed the increase of virtual meetings and conferences that are unlikely to disappear from our lives any time soon. Similar to the effects of the pandemic, the widespread move to virtual meetings will transform the way we work and do business forever.
Certainly, some companies can claim that they have been using virtual meetings for many years. However, for many of us, it’s not until recently that we attended our very first official virtual meeting, which is different from the casual video calls (FaceTime) we occasionally have with close friends and family members.
The fact is that the vast majority of companies were oblivious to the benefits of virtual meetings until the technology was brought to the forefront by the necessity of lockdowns and other coronavirus containment measures.
The shift to virtual meetings as common practice in companies is an exciting development that is probably here to stay as we see it spearheading changes in meeting dynamics and offering a useful tool to help improve work-life balance, diversity and workplace inclusion.
I spend most of my time at work, attending meetings. Before the pandemic, this involved jumping on flights every other day of the week to attend important meetings in different locations across the world. My calendar was typically filled with a variety of other crucial engagements like guest speaking, business events, lunch meetings and coffee catch-ups.
Less Chitchat, More Decision-Making
It has been observed that virtual meetings tend to be more efficient, as there is a general unwritten consensus that nobody wants to stay online longer than they have to. If you have a properly organized virtual meeting, your main agenda will have been shared prior to the meeting, attendees will have already familiarized themselves with key talking points and the meeting will begin and end on time. Having ‘rules’ to govern a virtual meeting like having a Chair to keep the meeting on track, allocating time for breaks, using a raised hand to indicate you want to speak, asking questions in the chat function and staying on mute when not actively participating, will allow better decision-making where both time and energy are saved. Firebird Events provide all the help you can need with online conferences.
Discussion Dominators Are Reduced
As meetings move to the virtual world, you may have noticed that people who might have once dominated discussions now seem a bit passive, or at least now participate in equal portions to their colleagues. I really hope that one day a direct relationship will be identified between those who used to dominate in-person meetings being the same individuals who now have to be constantly reminded that they are still on mute. And, these are the same individuals who seem unable to position their cameras properly so that people can clearly see them. Put simply, interrupting people and talking loudly may have once been a way to dominate a discussion, but this doesn’t seem to work in virtual meetings.
Death of The Power Suit
As more and more people are forced or chose to work from home, we are witnessing may people wearing what they have probably always wanted to wear to meetings. Gone are the luxury suits, high heels and expensive shoes. Virtual meetings encourage us to value and respect our colleagues for their contributions as opposed to their appearance, and people are allowed to bring their authentic selves to meetings as opposed to superficial symbols of power and success. The time saved in dressing up for a meeting is time well saved!