Although many of us are now routinely going back to office to see our teams and colleagues in real life, the advent of hybrid working is twinned with the increasingly global nature of our teams, meaning we are still on video a lot of the time. Keeping the attention of remote teams to have more productive and efficient video meetings is one of the challenges faced by most companies today. The top priority for virtual teams is to get the best out of all the collaboration, creativity and communications platforms. What can CMOs do to make their meetings better?
Jim Szafranski, CEO of Prezi, the presentation software company, said that even though the Pandemic saw all of us working with both our colleagues and external partners, the reality is that we are only just starting to get comfortable with the notion of video meetings.
Szafranski believes that the best video meetings are where professionals have learned to hold their audience's attention: "Our highest performing employees really focus on having onscreen content be engaging." Our team has mastered the art of sending recorded videos to review before meetings or as follow-ups to meetings to leverage asynchronous content as kick-offs or extensions to team meetings. Video meetings are a good place to have a conversation.
Szafranski thinks video meeting content will look similar to other content we watch outside the workplace. The key to keeping people's attention is heavy use of visuals rather than just text, where on-screen, digestible content truly captures an audience. Creating an onscreen brand kit is a great way to bring legitimacy and professionalism to a remote attendee.
The best meetings include participants who are clear on why they are there in the first place. Before the meeting, set the right participant list, inform them about each other and their roles during the meeting, and let them know what people are expected to know.
James Micklethwait, VP at game-based learning platform Kahoot!, believes that too many companies are still trying to duplicate what they did before the advent of video calling, believing virtual meetings are unique contexts, and that they should take more advantage of. It isn't going to improve when people are at home and it's even easier to tune out. Collaborative technology can be used to create meetings that are interactive and friendly.
Evan Davies, Marketing, Partnerships and Growth, at interactive document provider Coda believes thriving in this "new normal" of video only meetings means leaders must adopt new ways to support interpersonal communication and collaboration, while simultaneously freeing employees from the limitations of an office Consider the time of day that team members feel most productive, their proclivity for thinking and the tools that will allow them to do their best work.
With the rise of remote work, workplace communication has been a source of stress and anxiety for people for a long time. Beyond the constant interruption of new emails, most workers frequently context-switch while hopping back and forth between digital tools that hamper productivity and make them feel less productive.
A lean approach to communication has been adopted by the team. Teams should prioritize in-person interactions, such as team off-sites and informal meetings, to build a strong culture and increase engagement. We recently gathered in Denver, Colorado for a company-wide event with the purpose of fostering connection. In our digital-first world, off-sites don't have to be constant, but they can be even more meaningful.
What practice can a high-performing CMO use to have a more efficient meeting?
In a meeting, use a structured agenda and time tracking, log decisions made, and action items. The summary, recording, and action items need to be distributed after the meeting. It's important to add new ways to engage and refresh things in video meetings. There are new ways to blend video and graphics. There are new ways to talk. If you enable the use of these tools by your team, their creativity will flourish.
Szafranski said that to be effective in virtual meetings, you need to have sticky, attentional content that meshes with your message. Your teammates have a purpose for looking at the video screen if you maintain presence with your content.
Micklethwait says to find what works best for your team, stay flexible, experiment, and be willing to change according to different needs and contexts. If you take advantage of the technology available, you can design an experience that uses all the creative things we can do in a virtual space. It's time to make it easier for everyone to share their ideas and feedback.
It is important for Szafranski to make it clear what he wants from the meeting and how much he wants each person to contribute. Establish this from the offset if you want to make sure that each person shares an idea or responds to another person's ideas. Ask cross-functional partners for their perspective even if the topic isn't related to them. Collaboration is more important on a video meeting if you show that you are all in the virtual room. A company brand kit can show that the video meeting is important. Like decorating your office, branding your video meeting shows intentionality.
Advice. The following should be considered by CMOs looking to improve their virtual team meeting management skills.
This is the first thing. All participants need to be clear on their own roles in the meeting.
There are two Team members should be encouraged to interact and contribute to the meeting with more interactive elements.
There are three. If you want to create a unique setting in your video calls, go beyond replicating the board room environment.
There are four. It's important to keep things fresh to engage your audience.