Ask To Repeat

If you lose track of the conversation due to a distraction or being lost in daydreams, simply apologize and ask if someone can help you understand what the topic of focus is right now. This will help other distracted souls too.

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Make Virtual Meetings More Effective

The listeners of a virtual meeting play an important role in ensuring the multi-participant meeting is a success.

Generally, listeners feel less motivated to listen, participate or take initiative. These feelings are magnified in virtual meetings and conference calls as they have more distractions present for the participant.

The Ringelmann Effect

In 1913, a French architectural engineer discovered that when a group of people pull a rope, they put in less effort, as compared to them pulling the rope alone. This came to be known as the Ringelmann Effect.

The same effect is seen in group activities like a virtual meeting, in which the participants are not putting in the effort, and are distracted. The key to having a fulfilling meeting as a participant is to listen more effectively, and this is explained in five strategies.

Before the meeting starts, take a few minutes to attain self-clarity on the purpose of the meeting, your contribution, and what exactly you hope to learn from the video call.

Before we jump into conclusions or try to make our point, we need to listen and acknowledge what has just been said by the presenter or fellow participant. Not listening or acknowledging what others say leads to long and frustrating conversations where participants are repeating themselves to be heard.

People also talk over each other in virtual meetings, and the only way to avoid all this is to listen actively.

Listening attentively makes us connect the dots and make people understand the larger dynamic, guiding the conversation in a productive direction without wasting precious time.

The fact that you have listened attentively is evident in your words, when you finally speak up.

Distractions appear enticing during any activity that requires concentrations and a constant attentiveness is hard.

One way to refocus is to write down the distracting thoughts that crop up, and get back to the video call.

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Closeness-Communication Bias

Highly successful leaders sometimes struggle to communicate with people that they know well. This error is not prevalent while talking to strangers, and is called the Closeness-Communication Bias, and is due to an illusion of insight while communicating with friends or close colleagues.

There are certain strategies that leaders and managers can apply to improve their communication effectiveness.

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IDEAS

  • Attendees often multi-task and don't pay attention to the discussion.
  • Meeting organizers tend to be less careful with the purpose and design of the conversation.
  • Usually, one or two attendees to dominate the discussion while others sit back.
People want engagement and focus in their meetings

However, meetings are often frustrating. Most of the time, the same people who do all the talking. They often derail the meeting and make it take longer than planned.

Similarly, it's always the same people who are quiet, and there is a concern that the lack of engagement will affect good team commitments.

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