Is everyone else tired of ‘Zoom’, ‘Google hangouts’, or ‘Microsoft Teams’?
Do you feel like the connection is lost with people across these virtual platforms?
Maybe working on improving your ‘Virtual emotional Intelligence’ will re-invent the
experience for you and your colleagues.
With particular relevance now, understanding virtual emotional intelligence grows in
importance. Similar to a physical meeting or classroom, an effective virtual facilitator or
manager must be aware of the emotional dynamic.
Top Tips for Better Virtual Conversations:
Look into the camera (not at the screen).
- Look into the camera (the virtual version of ‘making eye contact). Doing this is going to make your audience feel spoken to directly, thus, building a better connection. Find a balance between looking into the camera and looking at your audience’ faces. This will allow you to monitor the emotional dynamic of the meeting.
Focus on values and purpose first.
- Begin conversations with discussions on values and purpose, rather than measures and financials. These discussions can come later in the meeting. For example, start with ‘what has gone well for you this week?’ or ask questions regarding goals for a project, or how the project aligns with the vision or values of the company. Research suggests, that by starting conversations in this way, you allow for open-mindedness, and prevent your colleagues from shutting down emotionally, perceptually, and cognitively (Boyatzis & McKee, 2011). It is crucial that we all feel connected to our work. When we are curious or excited about projects, we feel more engagement. Keep this in mind for when face-to-face meetings resume, as this is still relevant in that context!
Be ready to work to maintain engagement.
- With communication reduced to virtual platforms, emotional cues are lacking, particularly in relation to body language. A virtual facilitator or manager must now pay attention to other cues, such as asking and answering questions, engagement with the chat feature or comment boxes, and what is being said but also how it is said (Brake, 2017). For example, speaking vaguely with little detail might indicate disinterest or disengagement. Are people looking away while they are speaking? This may be a hint that they are distracted by other items on their to-do list. Perhaps asking them a question to draw them in or ask their opinion will help them feel more involved? Paying attention to how people are saying things will allow you to better monitor the emotional dynamic of your meetings.
Don’t let ‘Zoom’ tiredness get in the way of engagement at meetings…Take ownership and develop your Virtual Emotional Intelligence to save your virtual meetings.
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