Last year, virtual meetings were necessary due to the circumstances of a pandemic. However, many companies have decided to incorporate virtual meetings in their regular work activities from now on. Thus, in this Expert Insight Interview, James Kelley discusses how technology can drive inclusion in virtual meetings. Dr. James Kelley is a founder and CEO of qChange company, providing a real-time solution to improve leaders’ meeting skills and an author of the book The Crucible Gift:5 Lessons from Authentic Leaders that Thrive in Adversity.
The interview discusses:
- Lack of self-awareness
- How to ensure inclusion
- Mindful meetings
Leaders are usually not fully aware of the impact they have on their teams in virtual meetings. How they show up, discuss, and express their points of view sets a tone for the team members. Lack of self-awareness is one of the main issues that people face at virtual meetings. Naturally, people get more self-consumed during a virtual meeting because they can see themselves on the screen. On the other hand, it is easy to notice people’s engagement and reactions. Also, when attending an online meeting, it is easier to get distracted by external factors. That is why it is crucial to set organizational norms and expectations early on. Creating healthy rules and expectations increases the engagement level within the team.
The key to creating an inclusive environment in a virtual meeting is welcoming new voices by asking questions and being asked questions. When everybody in the team expresses their opinion, that team almost always makes the best possible decision. Thus, leaders can still lead the meeting while making it a collaborative experience for everyone. Moreover, being empathetic of the people’s circumstances is a big part of the leader’s role. Every person in the world wants to be heard and valued. Leaders should allow and encourage everyone to speak up their minds because even bad ideas sometimes produce aspects that lead to good ideas.
Nowadays, there is a real-time technology solution that can help leaders to be more present and mindful at their meetings. A couple of minutes before the meeting, a leader receives a prompt that focuses on behavior he/she wants to improve. Then, immediately after the meeting, a leader and team members give feedback on the leader’s performance. Even though team members’ answers are anonymous, leaders can find out in real-time whether their perception matches the perception of their employees. Everyone focusing on and contributing to professional development naturally creates inclusion and engagement within the team. Besides, creating an experience makes it 75 percent more likely to retain that behavior in the future.
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.