Humans are a a very resilient and inventive species. Very shortly after these times of social distancing, the internet filled up with peer empathy about the situation most of us are in.
You know what I mean. You’ve probably seen at least one bullshit bingo sheet or [insert number] awesome tips about holding great remote meetings circling the internet at the moment.
After laughing about the mundanity of such listings, I actually started thinking about how some of it actually makes sense. I mean, we’ve all encountered remote meetings where the atmosphere has been as fun as watching paint dry on walls.
So what were the most common similarities with these failed meetings? Well, of course I gathered (with a smirk on my face) an overly exaggerated list of them, like the proper click-baiter-content-marketer I am.
Without further ado, here’s what we’ve experienced during these past weeks. Hopefully it brings a smile to your face today!
1. Finger Guns Hello
It might seem flashy and fun, but greeting people in online meetings with Finger Guns is not allowed to ANYONE, except maybe David Hasselhoff AKA "The Hoff".
For us mere mortals, starting an online meeting should definitely be done with other measures. Instead of finger gunning, maybe you could just share The Hoff’s tweet. That should break the ice nicely, right?
2. “Follow My Lead” Attitude
You probably recognise that one guy from your work community – the one who thinks everybody is as good at improvising as he thinks he is. “Thou shall not rehearse before a client meeting!”
For the vast majority, picking up somebody else’s lead in presentations, without knowing when or where to start, is just, you know, impossible. And the end result is an array of huge pauses in speech (and thought) and phrases like “next slide, please” or the always-welcome “Isn’t it your turn now, Susan?”.
Being on the listening end of such a presentation makes you think about rather receiving a colonoscopy. Because that would actually be beneficial for you.
Like the saying goes “Practise makes perfect”. Exercise that right, please. Especially well if you’re remotely presenting or pitching to a client.
3. Webinar? I Thought You Said Wine Bar
If you can remember what it was like hanging out in a wine bar (we’ll get there eventually, I’m sure), you might understand what I’m saying here. When a group meets, it usually ends up in dialogue. You should abide to that mentality in a virtual meeting, as well.
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all encountered the kinds of meetings (virtual or physical) where one person steals the show. Well, you’re in the wrong meeting, my friend! If we wanted a monologue, we would’ve signed up for one of those fancy online webinars.
So I wait for the day, when everyone in remote meetings will think more in the likes of “Your ears should be bigger than your mouth”.
4. This Meeting Could Have Been an Email!
Have you ever been in a meeting, where you afterwards start thinking about what was actually agreed in the meeting? Or was anything agreed at all?
Of course, this happens in physical meetings A LOT, but especially with virtual meetings, I’ve found that people tend to think differently about what’s been agreed on.
This is usually a result of having no notes or action point lists. Or the host just forgot to recap on everything. Or there really wasn't a need for the meeting all together. If you don't have the agenda for a full meeting, just send an email.
5. Mic Drop Endings
Unless you’re Barack Obama, you shouldn’t be allowed to leave everybody else speechless. But I guess this is a symptom of those monologue type guys. When you love the sound of your own voice, it’s usually the thing you want to hear last.
And a “Bye!” from everybody doesn’t count as a proper ending of a meeting either. This symptom is usually accompanied with a “Oh, is our time already over? Sorry about that” type of behaviour.
All of these behaviours could be easily fixed with a few pointers. Maybe I should come up with a list for those as well, what do you think?