Being inclusive in virtual meetings

%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-1223468%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EBeing%20inclusive%20in%20virtual%20meetings%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-1223468%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EOne%20of%20the%20struggles%20I%C2%B4m%20trying%20to%20improve%20on%20is%20to%20be%20inclusive%20in%20virtual%20meetings.%20The%20challenges%20I%C2%B4m%20seeing%20are%20the%20following%3A%3C%2FP%3E%0A%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%0A%3CUL%3E%0A%3CLI%3EThe%20lack%20of%20video%20(which%20is%20something%20I%20encourage)%20is%20a%20challenge%20for%20someone%20leading%2Fhosting%2Ffacilitate%20a%20meeting%20to%20make%20it%20inclusive.%20I%20understand%20and%20respect%20if%20participants%20don%C2%B4t%20want%20to%20use%20video%2C%20but%20it%20makes%20it%20harder%20to%20include%20people.%3C%2FLI%3E%0A%3CLI%3EIts%20harder%20to%20interrupt%2C%20which%20is%20a%20inclusion%2Fdiversity%20discussion%20in%20itself%2C%20and%20therefore%20get%20your%20voice%20heard.%20Its%20also%20harder%20to%20get%20into%20a%20discussion%2C%20due%20to%20lag%20or%20just%20the%20challenge%20of%20understanding%20a%20pause.%3C%2FLI%3E%0A%3CLI%3EIts%20hard%20to%20keep%20track%20on%20people%20that%20haven't%20shared%20their%20views%20in%20the%20meeting%20(at%20least%20for%20me)%20if%20I%20dont%20see%20them%20and%20can%20connect%20a%20name%20and%20a%20face%20together.%3C%2FLI%3E%0A%3C%2FUL%3E%0A%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%0A%3CP%3EA%20few%20of%20my%20%22tricks%22%20to%20create%20a%20better%20inclusion%20in%20meetings%20are%3A%3C%2FP%3E%0A%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%0A%3CUL%3E%0A%3CLI%3EEncourage%20video%2C%20which%20includes%20blur%20background.%20Currently%20my%20office%20is%20an%20absolute%20mess%20-%20but%20with%20blur%20(In%20Microsoft%20Teams)%20is%20a%20great%20help%20there.%20Ensure%20to%20respect%20people%20that%20for%20any%20reason%20dont%20cant%2Fwant%20to%20go%20on%20video%2C%20but%20video%20should%20(in%20my%20opinion)%20be%20an%20opt-out%20not%20opt-in.%3C%2FLI%3E%0A%3CLI%3EKeep%20track%20of%20your%20participants.%20Its%20may%20sound%20silly%2C%20but%20especially%20in%20workshops%20it%20vital.%20I%20usually%20try%20to%20have%20someone%20helping%20out%20with%20that%20(a%20project%20manager%20or%20similar)%20but%20no%20everyone%20are%20as%20fortunate.%20Have%20OneNote%20open%20and%20ensure%20to%20note%20when%20people%20have%20raised%20their%20mind.%3C%2FLI%3E%0A%3CLI%3EExercise%20your%20voice%20-%20especially%20if%20NOT%20using%20video.%20Your%20voice%20may%20sound%20a%20certain%20way%20in%20certain%20situation%20and%20this%20changes%20a%20lot%20in%20online%20meetings%20compared%20to%20in-person%20meetings.%20Train%20to%20be%20calm%2C%20not%20to%20loud%2C%20keep%20your%20pace%20and%20always%20speak%20with%20a%20smile.%3C%2FLI%3E%0A%3CLI%3EUse%20HIGH%20quality%20headsets%2C%20cameras%20and%20connections.%20This%20will%20vary%20heavily%20depending%20on%20a%20lot%20of%20factors%2C%20but%20it%20will%20improve%20the%20experience.%20This%20will%20hopefully%20minimize%20lag%2C%20that%20will%20ensure%20that%20you%20dont%20interrupt%20unintentionally.%3C%2FLI%3E%0A%3CLI%3ELastly%2C%20dont%20be%20afraid%20to%20take%20the%20facilitator%2Fleader%2Fhost%20role%20and%20mute%20people%20if%20required.%20Meetings%2C%20workshops%20and%20training's%20are%20about%20sharing%20with%20others.%20If%20a%20specific%20person%20or%20group%20of%20persons%20limit%20other%20from%20doing%20so.%20Mute%20them.%3C%2FLI%3E%0A%3C%2FUL%3E%0A%3CP%3EHow%20do%20you%20ensure%20inclusion%20in%20your%20virtual%20meetings%3F%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-1223513%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Being%20inclusive%20in%20virtual%20meetings%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-1223513%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3E%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Ft5%2Fuser%2Fviewprofilepage%2Fuser-id%2F105710%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3E%40Simon%20Binder%3C%2FA%3E%26nbsp%3Bgreat%20tips.%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%0A%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%0A%3CP%3EI%20especially%20agree%20with%20the%20point%20of%20investing%20in%20a%20high-quality%20headset.%20We%20often%20find%20ourselves%20on%20back%20to%20back%20to%20back%20to%20all%20day%20long%20calls%20and%20not%20only%20the%20sound%20quality%2C%20but%20the%20comfort%20quality%20can%20help%20ensure%20we%20don't%20finish%20our%20day%20with%20a%20massive%20tension%20headache!%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E
Highlighted
MVP

One of the struggles I´m trying to improve on is to be inclusive in virtual meetings. The challenges I´m seeing are the following:

 

  • The lack of video (which is something I encourage) is a challenge for someone leading/hosting/facilitate a meeting to make it inclusive. I understand and respect if participants don´t want to use video, but it makes it harder to include people.
  • Its harder to interrupt, which is a inclusion/diversity discussion in itself, and therefore get your voice heard. Its also harder to get into a discussion, due to lag or just the challenge of understanding a pause.
  • Its hard to keep track on people that haven't shared their views in the meeting (at least for me) if I dont see them and can connect a name and a face together.

 

A few of my "tricks" to create a better inclusion in meetings are:

 

  • Encourage video, which includes blur background. Currently my office is an absolute mess - but with blur (In Microsoft Teams) is a great help there. Ensure to respect people that for any reason dont cant/want to go on video, but video should (in my opinion) be an opt-out not opt-in.
  • Keep track of your participants. Its may sound silly, but especially in workshops it vital. I usually try to have someone helping out with that (a project manager or similar) but no everyone are as fortunate. Have OneNote open and ensure to note when people have raised their mind.
  • Exercise your voice - especially if NOT using video. Your voice may sound a certain way in certain situation and this changes a lot in online meetings compared to in-person meetings. Train to be calm, not to loud, keep your pace and always speak with a smile.
  • Use HIGH quality headsets, cameras and connections. This will vary heavily depending on a lot of factors, but it will improve the experience. This will hopefully minimize lag, that will ensure that you dont interrupt unintentionally.
  • Lastly, dont be afraid to take the facilitator/leader/host role and mute people if required. Meetings, workshops and training's are about sharing with others. If a specific person or group of persons limit other from doing so. Mute them.

How do you ensure inclusion in your virtual meetings? 

1 Reply
Highlighted

@Simon Binder great tips. 

 

I especially agree with the point of investing in a high-quality headset. We often find ourselves on back to back to back to all day long calls and not only the sound quality, but the comfort quality can help ensure we don't finish our day with a massive tension headache!